The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos

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I just got this a little while ago, in large part to having read Tom Ang’s enlightening “how to win photo competitions” post – and also because I just got an email from National Geographic telling me I’m close to getting this shot published in an issue of their “your shot” issue.


It really got me thinking about what it takes to take a truly great photo and it’s actually very simple. Here’s the real secret:

Show people something they’ve never seen before

If you think back to a photo that really inspired you or moved you, it was probably a photo of something that you’ve never seen before. Or it was a photo of something you have seen – but captured in a really unique way that you’ve never seen before.

There are billions of photos out there of people posing in front of things, there are billions of photos out there of places and things – and they all eventually fade together – but what makes a photograph really spectacular is something that captures attention.

This is why I love HDR, tiltshift, fisheye shots, and anything else that’s just different from the norm. You don’t even have to go anywhere to take a spectactular shot – just look around wherever you are and DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

To help you get started thinking in the right direction, here are 10 ideas:

1. use shadows

2. get closeup

3. capture patterns

4. use long exposure

5. get low

6. blur it

blurred Ineta

7. use lots of empty space in your composition

8. use reflections

9. capture motion

10. get down, look up

And that’s not even scratching the surface – there are plenty more resources for taking unique, interesting, and creative photos.  Not often discussed, but perhaps equally important if you are planning to do this as a business is to make sure copyrights are set in place as well.  A great resource to gather information on how to do this properly is

While I’m mentioning resources, I should say that when I established my company, I had many questions on the business side of things, since my background was on the creative side. I found a great book at that really helped me with the business side so I could focus on the artistic/creative side.

Anyway, all that said,  go out there and capture something truly unique.

19 Responses to The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos

  1. Sylvain says:
    Great tips ! Thanks !
  2. Clint says:
    I would like to get more tips like these but for more the disabled photographer? Thanks
  3. gopal says:
    excellent angles and effects….show to people what they have not seen… a good slogan….thanks.
  4. anoop says:
    awesome post!!!
  5. Mei Teng says:
    Excellent post and tips! Thanks for sharing this and I love photo#1.
  6. bee says:
    Great tips, thank you!
  7. Thank you for the tips! I need to make myself a list of these tips to carry in my bag, and eventually they will become second nature. It seems I get caught up wanting one certain shot, and forget to look for these other perspectives. Thanks again!
  8. Jeffrey says:
    Nice article. Thanks !
  9. maria leeds says:
    awesome tips.. Open my eyes… Thx vic…
  10. salila says:
    very useful
  11. Richard Goodwin says:
    Imaginative thinking and superbly illustrated – this is an advisory article to treasure. Well done.
  12. Benji says:
    Great tips, gets me thinking!
  13. Juan Eric Santos says:
    Great! Very usefull tips. Thanks.
  14. Brian says:
    You gave me good ideas. Thank you
  15. […] Whether or not you have a fancy camera, you can use these ideas to jazz up your photos. The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos. […]
  16. […] The Real Secret to Taking Spectacular Photos (Visual Photo Guide) […]
  17. Eric says:
    Great tips and many thanks for the HDR on a D50! That saved me a bunch of time and saved me from my laziness of having to find the manual…


  18. Flo says:
    Woah, nice tips! Thanks a lot!

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