One of the best ways to learn about best photography practices is to learn from the masters themselves. Fortunately, we have many of them who are willing to share their wisdom through various online platforms. Among them is Nat Geo photographer Steve Winter, who demonstrated how he usually culls his shots to get the best from a shoot.

Winter is a wildlife photographer who has been contributing to National Geographic for over 20 years. So, WIRED recently challenged him to share his process for narrowing down 112 photos down to just one. It applies whether he’s photographing mighty big cats or adorable domestic cats.

The first thing to note is the fact that even a Nat Geo photographer doesn’t get the best shot in one, or even five photos. These pros take multiple shots, exploring various angles and trying out different camera settings. Also, their subjects tend to move a lot and make quick movements, so bad photos are unavoidable.

Next, he culls — or edits — all the photos he took based on criteria like technicalities, framing and composition. One thing he stressed is keeping the eye sharp is incredibly important, just as you would with a human subject.

Our key takeaway? A lot goes into choosing that one best shot out of HUNDREDS. We usually don’t see this creative process, just the final result. But, when we’re offered a window into it, we can learn a great deal about how masters like a Nat Geo photographer take their best picks.

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