How to Take a Great Photo

F8 and Be There

'f8 and be there' is an old press photography adage explaining that the sure-fire way to get a great photo is to set your camera aperture to f8, and make sure you're in the right place at the right time when that dramatic something happens! 

Although 'f8 & be there'  is a simplistic aphorism, a witty joke giving you only two parameters to get a great shot, the central idea can be used by photographers of all skill levels to achieve a good result.  

For landscape photographers this means finding the right spot to set up your camera & tripod, at exactly the right time of day.  For example, sunsets happen over the last half hour of the day, so you need to be in place for that half-hour. An hour early and the scene is too bright, an hour later and you've missed all the fun.  Timing is key.

As is being in the right spot. The luxury of planning where to be is something that press photographers rarely have when looking for that perfect candid moment.  It's always worth scouting the area you want to shoot  during the daylight hours, noting down views that might work at sunset.  

This will give you options to go to if your first choice either doesn't really work, or you know you've got a great shot from that spot, and you can move on. 

Using an app like the Photographer's Ephemeris (others are available) will tell you exactly where the sun will set on your chosen shoot day and help with planning your shots. 

Proper prior planning will arm you with the assured knowledge that you are not just firing shots into the dark! 

With the seascape above I  knew that the sun would come up over the cliff and that it would then be too bright for the shot I wanted. I wanted an air of stillness, so I had to wait a long time for the right day to appear on the weather forecast before heading to the coast in the dark. This gave me time to set up before the first rays of sunrise stared to show. 

Click the photo above to see the bigger version, and message me if you've any questions!

Thanks for reading this far


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