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Tips & Tricks

Award-Winning Photography Composition Tips On How To Get The Perfect Shot

By Hanssie on April 29th 2016

There’s a saying that it takes ten years to become an overnight success, meaning that most people don’t see the hard work, sweat, and tears behind someone who seemingly got a ‘lucky break’. In the same vein, even though a photograph may take only 1/1000th of a second to capture, the countless hours of work that goes into preparing for the shot before you press the shutter remains unseen.

The hours you spend learning how to use your camera, figuring out how the exposure triangle works, learning to use natural light and mastering advanced lighting is all part of the journey to get that perfect image. Many times getting the shot has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time, but you must know your equipment and be able to pre-visualize what the end result would be to execute it. The key to great photography and the “perfect” image is in the preparation, work, and waiting for that serendipitous moment to press the shutter.

In this second part of an interview by Marc Silber of Advancing Your Photography, four-time Travel Photographer of the Year (see Part 1 in this article), Bob Holmes, gives more photography composition tips on how to get the “perfect” shot. In the image below, Bob shares how it took about 30 minutes of focused concentration to capture that one moment. Getting the perfect shot requires you not only to be there, it sometimes requires that you wait…and wait…and wait, before the image presents itself to you. From there, all the hours of preparation will have paid off in that one picture.




For the remainder of the 11-minute video, Bob shares some photography composition tips from using colors and symmetry to the two most important factors in an image: punctuation and gesture. Though punctuation and gesture are only small parts of the photograph, the inclusion of these two elements are what makes an image stand out.

Like Part 1, the video is full of little tips and tricks that come from years of preparation, experience, and waiting for the perfect shot, punctuated by Bob Holmes’ incredible travel imagery. Watch below.

See more of Bob Holmes’ work on his website here and more videos from Advancing Your Photography here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Erik Star

    This video was a good basic, one which i was looking for to show beginning, or even non-photographers on some of the aspects which produce a good photograph. It isn’t simply like pointing a cellphone and having a world class winner instantly in front of you.

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  2. marc silber

    Bill it was our bad for not including his final image of the sequence in the video here it is this was the winner — does that make more sense?

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  3. Bill Bentley

    Sorry, but the ladies on the pier image does very little for me. From a composition standpoint I dislike that the two ladies at the front of the line are “touching” each other in the frame. I also dislike the big “tummy” creeping in from the left side of the frame. I get that it tells a bit of the story, but it’s too distracting for my eyes. She looks “posed” to me.

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