Do you ever see a photographer’s final image and wonder how they got so lucky? How were they in the right place, at the right time, with just the right lighting and just the right moment to capture the perfect image?

It’s not luck. Well, maybe once in a while it is, but usually, it’s work. It takes being prepared and ready for that perfect image to happen in front of them. Whether it’s there to begin with, or needs a little post-processing help. Here are a few tips to help you be lucky and get that final image you have in your head.

Be aware of everything

It’s impossible to be aware of every single thing. Keep your senses sharp when you are out with your camera. Watch, listen and feel what’s going on around you.

Many times there is so much going on during sports games, dance recitals and any event where there are groups of people. Scan the scene, see who and what is interesting before you put the camera up to your eye.

Don’t wait for the final image to happen

The main event is always the focus for everyone. The big game, the last bit of great sunset light and clouds, that one moment on stage. Those are the things most people are going to focus on.

Don’t wait for that big moment. Watch what is going on before and after that, photograph the kids getting ready to play or dance. Photograph the way the sunlight bounces off buildings or the sand at the beach during sunrise/sunset.

We miss so many moments just waiting for something to happen.

Imagine the possibilities

Not every shot we take is going to be a masterpiece right out of the camera. Sometimes a moment presents itself, and the final image manifests itself in our mind. Take those moments and run with them. Don’t have the post-processing skills required to create what you have in your head? Look at that as an opportunity to learn something new.

Here’s an example. I have taken photos for a ballet recital for a few years and learned to keep the camera at the ready always during the dress rehearsal. Not just for the dancers but also for the crew and staff as candid moments happen. Those behind-the-scenes shots are fun to have for a studio to have.

I watched this scene unfold as I sat out in the auditorium with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L series lens and pictured it in my mind as a black and white with the dancer isolated.

final image

I have to admit, I’m not a big Photoshop user, but I had to get this image to be what I saw in my mind. I learned how and what I needed to do. I also asked for help and suggestions.

final image

It’s a good lesson if you see something you want to make work but don’t know exactly how to go about it. Use it as a learning experience.

No limits to creating that final image

Remember, there are no limits in art. Your imagination can take you anywhere you want to go, and this applies to your photography. Take the final image you see in your mind and make it happen. Be creative.