We all know, sometimes some great pictures are the result of a lucky moment, but the majority of times, to obtain a good shot is important to be prepared and plan it with care and in advance. We want to discuss a bit about what comes before photography and how to plan the perfect shot, with Antoine Buchet, a french adventure photographer, Londoner by adoption. Enjoy it!
- Hi Antoine and welcome on MPT! Let’s talk about what comes before photography… What do you look for with your camera when you travel? Do you usually think at your photographic subjects before the travel? Which are your favourite subjects to portray?
I have always loved travelling, being able to experience and discover new places and people is a real privilege – and with my camera in my hand, my travelling experience is even greater.
My aim is to capture the essence and soul of the place I am visiting. I pick places I want to see but also experience. I love the energy of bustling cities like Tokyo or NYC but I truly appreciate the immense beauty and grandeur of landscapes of Monument Valley or the Grand Canyon. It’s not uncommon for me to spend hours in the same spot waiting patiently for that small change of pattern in the sky or the magic moment when the light break through the clouds.
Planning and packing for my travels is a whole new ball game now! My travel itinerary is pretty much shaped by an inspirational moodboard and resembles a shoot list and schedule, planned around key sunrise, sunset and night spots.
- Let us know something more about your gear: which are your essential tools?
My trusted Canon, a few lenses, a solid but compact tripod and a remote control are the base of all my shots. I also love experimenting with ND filters and giving my images some movement so my camera backpack keeps getting bigger! I also have a whole series of apps and gadgets to work out the position and trajectories of the sun, exposure time, and multiple weather apps! If I travel on my own, I will also make sure to have some good tunes loaded on my phone.
- Tell us about the path that lies behind a picture.
Aside from careful planning, on the day of the shoot, you will find me glued to my phone checking the weather report and I make sure to set up an hour before sunset or sunrise and shoot throughout and an hour after the event. I also find myself sprinting and running around like a bit of a nutter to get to my chosen spot – to maximise the time I can spend behind my viewfinder.
- Do you wait for the perfect time and light to shoot, or you are more “impulsive” and tend to start shooting as soon as it is possible?
My key shots will be planned in advance but I also capture secondary shots in a more candid way throughout the day. Despite all the preparation there are always surprises a long your travels and I’d advise to keep your eyes open, vary your angles, look for details, patterns, symmetry and little subtle things that stand out to create unique shots. Getting the perfect shot is a combination of hard work, good preparation and luck as well!
One of my favourite shots was an impulsive detour to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, trying to get to our destination without speeding and as the sun was dangerously low to setting. It was freezing cold outside with a chilling overpowering wind – and with 10 minutes before the light disappeared and my fingers froze I got the most beautiful serene blue shot of the canyon’s immensity.
The basic rules of photography apply here as well. Lighting is everything in photography, that’s why I prefer to shoot sunrise or sunset where you get the most interesting skies. Composition is also something to take great care of.