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If you've ever "ooh-ed" and "aah-ed" your way through a photo gallery, you're in good company. Many competent amateurs are stunned at how pros get perfect shots every time.
The truth is, they don't. Here are three ways you can get more shots like the pros you admire:
1) Research. Pros rarely wander around hoping to stumble into a great shot. They almost always know where they're going, when they should get there and what they're hoping to find. While this doesn't always guarantee a great shot, it increases the odds exponentially.
2) Patience. Great shots don't come on demand, and pros know that. They'll wait hours - sometimes days - for the right subject, in the right place and in the right light. Nature photographers are especially patient. My father-in-law spent many hours in trees - 50' to 60' off the ground - to get some spectacular shots of birds in their nests.
3) Selection. Pros don't take chances. They shoot a lot of frames. The difference between a pro and "average photographer" is sometimes found in what they choose to let others see. Average photographers show off any shot that's "decent." Pros only show their very best work.
Even if you only have a point-and-shoot, apply these three ideas, and people will "ooh" and "aah" their way through your photos, too.