As admin of a growing photography website I look at a good 20–100 photographs most days of the week. The quality of work that I look at (both on our site and other websites) normally ranges from photography enthusiast to pro.
One of the things that separates amateurs from advanced amateurs/pros is the ability to create the image rather than waiting for something spectacular to happen or finding it through serendipity. Getting to this level involves 3 key things that are 100% attainable with a few months of regular practice.
1 — You need to understand basic exposure.
2 — You need to understand basic composition
3 — You need to understand basic lighting.
A person that practices all 3 of these things can create great shots from otherwise mundane scenes. IF they are waiting for something to happen (like waiting for great outdoor light),‚ they make sure they are waiting at the right time.
The image above by forum member michaelaw (real name Michael Wollen ) is a great example. How many times have we looked up at the sky to watch a plane land in the distance. Likely many times. It’s a common scene. Some might even call it banal. But take a look at THIS image. It is carefully crafted — NO accidents here.
Look at the beautiful light in the sky. Michael waited for this light. Look at the position of the plane in the sky. Michael waited to freeze the plane in that exact spot. Look at the landing pad at the lower part of the image, look at the foliage and shimmering water in the immediate foreground. They are there on purpose. They are there, because Michael put them there. Because Michael put them there at the right time,‚ in the right place, and exposed the image correctly — This photograph sings and is a pleasure to look at.
Practice the 3 basics listed above and you too will be armed with the skills needed to create great photography from commonplace scenes.