Exposed! :: Holiday Snaps vs Stunning Masterpieces ::

© Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.


I met with two students recently whose goals were to take better photos. "Like these!" they exclaimed as they showed me spectacular photos from a variety of websites. "How do I get photos like those?" they asked.

There are ways but it takes time.

In this edition of Exposed! we look at the difference between Holiday Snapshots and Stunning Masterpeices.

To produce the masterpieces you want, separate photo time from family or vacation time. Look at photo production as a surgeon would prepare for an appendectomy:

Allotting appropriate time

I advise students that are planning vacations or outings with family/friends to separate vacation time from photo time. Book separate time to go on safari with your camera - this can be arranged as other people in your party are sleeping or shopping or playing on the beach.

Eliminating distractions

To increase your odds at stunning shots takes concentration. Be selfish and create a scenario that will reduce distractions. Leave the kids, dog, errands and worries at home so that you can spend the time on one thing - photos.

Preparing tools in advance

Assemble your equipment ahead of time. Be sure to plan for as many eventualities as possible. Keep your equipment well maintained and ready to go. I tend to be a pack mule for certain shoots like landscape work - ladders, lenses, filters. Having equipment ready to go means you are always ready to go!

Preparing mentally (creatively) for success

Daydream all the time. Take the time to imagine. It's the most powerful tool you have. Always be open to ideas. Take a notebook to bed - I usually do - to be ready when ideas hit you. Scribble notes. Doodle pictures. Just let ideas in and let them grow.

hockey rink
Not a holiday snapshot!


Over the holidays keep a camera at your side to record memories with family and friends. Learn to differentiate between fun snaps and potential masterpieces. When looking for a masterpiece act accordingly.

Pro Perspective

Holiday snaps are an amazing keepsake so be sure to take many.

Jaw dropping photos are in a different world. I shoot both and the energy invested in each type of photo is way different. Snaps are fun, light hearted photos that should be spontaneous. Jaw droppers generally take way more effort!

The hockey rink photo above may not be a masterpiece but it's far from being a passing snapshot. The idea developed while shooting an assignment on outdoor hockey and the preparation and execution took a couple of hours.

Final Frame

Take different photos.
Understand the difference.
Have fun!