As the legendary Ansel Adams had once said, “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” That sums up many of the realities behind great photos. When we look at the final photos at an exhibition, in a magazine, or on the Internet, we tend to overlook that the photographer might have spent considerable time preparing for that shot. We only look at that one image, and we feel that the photographer was mighty lucky. It is not the case. The photographer may have been at the wrong location to start. They may have missed the moment initially, and only on the second or third try, they may have been able to capture the moment that we see. So, the process is more important.

Prepare to capture the moment

Whether you’re shooting landscape photography, wildlife photography, or anything in between, knowing where to stand and when to shoot is a critical aspect of image-making. Because of the process flow of capturing great images, I could show you how those made are not always smooth, especially when shooting fast action sports and wildlife life photography. Your camera will be all around the place, and you have to keep pace with the subject and then find the best shot. Often it comes down to just one frame. So even if you take hundreds of frames, it’s just one frame that matters. And that one frame justifies all the hard work you put into your work.

Study your subject

One of the critical things in photography that beginners tend to overlook is finding enough material to study the location and, most importantly, the subject. If the location is your subject, you must study everything about it. Not that there isn’t enough material to study. But photographers often are lazy about taking the time to study the location they plan to photograph. Often they feel that they can walk into a location armed with a camera and do it in one frame. It rarely happens that way.

You’ve to spend considerable time getting to know the location. Understand the direction of the light, the best time to photograph, how to manage the best angles, and how to be there when no other photographer is going to be.

Come back to the exact location multiple times

One of the things that you can do as a photographer is to come back to a location more than once. By that, I mean coming back at different times of the year, taking advantage of the various seasons, and capturing the mood of the place at different times of the year. Every season brings something interesting. Something that does not happen at any other time of the year. This can open opportunities to capture images that you never envisioned. Half the time, a great photo is when you’re at the right place at the right time, which means being there when the season changes and being there when everything falls into place.