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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 factors that may not let you take that perfect picture

We see beautiful pictures of popular tourist attractions in advertisements and on their websites, which tempts us to visit the place. But then, when you visit the place and try to take some pictures, your click may not be even one tenth as good as what you saw on the website or ad.  So why does it happen? What prevents us from taking that perfect picture? I have listed 10 possible reasons. Do add yours

The primary reason is that we are amateurs, regular visitors with normal cameras while the pic we saw was probably taken by professionals with better photography skills, planning, equipment, post processing and all required support from attraction management. Even if we assume you are reasonably good at photography, there will be many factors not in your control, unless you can spend multiple days/additional effort for that perfect shot. (or get extremely lucky)

1.       Weather: Weather on your day of visit can’t be predicted weeks or months in advance (while you plan your trip). Having a cloudy sky or rain can usually spoil the picture you had in mind. 

2.       Maintenance: Tourist attractions like anything else will need periodic maintenance. If you are unlucky, the building or attraction might be under partial maintenance on the day of your visit- the maintenance equipment/setup will spoil your perfect shot. It is very difficult to track and avoid maintenance as these are not put in public domain months in advance (when you are planning your trip)- so if you get unlucky, you just have to live with it. 

Below: Helsinki Cathedral and a church in Bergen, Norway under maintenance when I visited.

3.       People: You want to click the monument but don’t want anyone else in the frame? Welcome to party- there are 100 other visitors who wish the same. Unless you can get a special permission to enter before regular opening hours or you are lucky to have a much lesser crowd on your day of visit or if you can use the tools like Photoshop to eliminate people, you are very likely to get a few people in the frame spoiling your perfect picture.

4.       Season: An attraction can change its appeal by season- waterfalls are best visited after a monsoon, some attractions will be covered in snow in winter and are best clicked in summer. Sometimes you can’t plan very well and might end up visiting an attraction in wrong season

5.       Post Processing: Photographs used in advertisements often undergo lots of post processing to enhance their appeal. That is why professional photographers are hired in first place - to get an exceptionally good picture.

Unless you have the imagination, software, reasonably capable camera, and skill set to enhance an image, you can’t get that perfect picture.

6.       Time of the day:  An outdoor attraction will have different appeal in the morning vs noon vs evening vs night, depending on weather and light conditions. If you have a packed itinerary of visiting 6 places from morning to evening, you can’t get perfect lighting at each locations. Some spots will have more favorable light in morning and few in afternoon- depending the direction they face etc. These will be very difficult for regular tourists to get it right the first time.
Above: Victoria Museum, Kolkata- was partially under maintenance and I didn't get sunlight in right direction.

7.       Additional accessories/lighting: Professional shoots may involve a bunch of support crew to ensure perfect lighting and other conditions. We can't afford that.
Above: Cricketer Sreeshanth doing some shoot in Fort Kochi last Sunday

8.       Time: Professional photographers can afford to spend several days planning and executing a shoot. A tourist comes with an fixed itinerary and needs to move on, irrespective of how good the picture he got was on day 1.

9.       Restrictions: At some places photography itself will be prohibited (Example Synagogue, Kochi). Visitors are sometimes subjected to restrictions like no flash etc.  Tripods, selfie sticks and such accessories may not be allowed in all places. So we will have to manage with whatever is permitted for regular tourists. In many parks fountain will be operated only during specific hours or when there is a celebration.

10.   Right equipment and skills:  Some pictures are taken using  specialty equipment like drone/helicopter/fish eye lens/wide angle lens etc. Rooftop views may need additional access (to go on top of suitable buildings). A normal click from ground level will naturally look average and can't create an impression.

2 comments :

Destination Infinity said...

One of the success secrets of professional photographers is, they wait for a few hours until they get the perfect shot and the perfect surroundings. For us that may not be possible, but patience is highly recommended for photography :)

Destination Infinity

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes Rajesh. Thanks for the comment