Why You Should Never Settle On Your First Shot

So you got your camera out – you see the scene in front of you – you have an idea of what you want – you give it a shot and it’s just pure beauty on the first try! Nailed it! One hitter quitter. What a pro! You knocked it out of the park on the first try.

Well, maybe. But odds are there are 3 more options you not only didn’t see but had no idea how good it could look until you break your back, get the camera in a totally different perspective and see how the camera sees it.


Most often when I’m filming I have an idea of what I want. I’ll stand there with my camera in hand, “seeing” the shot, and then i’ll be asked by the client or the director, “what do you think, is this the shot?” It’s become habit to give the same answer for years now – “I don’t know, let’s see what the camera says.”

The point is that as much as you have a vision for a shot the only thing that really matters is what the camera sees. Often what you thought was great is what I like to call “solid”, but if you had moved the camera down a foot and went around the subject by 30 degrees … voilla! (thats v’walla for us Americans!)

All of a sudden the light is just a bit more flattering, the background has a few spectacular aspects you never knew were back there and the lines in your composition are more impressive (more on these elements soon!).

Let’s look at a simple example and see how it pays to try several angles before you pull the trigger.




p.s If this resonates with you please like, share and tweet on the left!

  • Kate Phillips

    Aviv, back when I was a realtor and took pictures of the homes i listed, I would be amazed at what I could “see” in my photos that I didn’t see when I was taking the photo. The beautiful kitchen would be marred by the clutter on the refridgerator, there would be a garbage can in the yard that could have been moved… It was just amazing how the camera would see things differently than I had!

  • coachaviv

    That’s exactly it Kate! Attention to details and experimenting with the camera angles.

  • Great!
    With spending a bit extra of time into your work and you’ll achieve results which you would not imagine to .. This will pay off and you can sell your work even better and impress your clients .. Thank you for sharing Aviv !

  • coachaviv

    Anytime. Your take away is spot on!

  • I feel this is true all the time. It usually takes me a good 10-15 minutes to feel out a new environment.

    spot on.

  • David Komer

    Good point! I think if time were unlimited, you could just work a shot forever and eventually you’ll find something more interesting… It’s a tough balance between getting what you need and moving on vs. seeing what you need in advance, and your point is well taken- if you have the time, don’t be lazy, work that shot!

    Also, like you said- it depends on the story. If it’s very much about the mall, I think your final shot is hands down much better. But if it’s really about the mall but rather about the soldiers themselves, then your first shot might have been improved by instead using the time to bring in some supplementary lighting instead of moving around (though it doesn’t take much time to move around- and it doesn’t hurt.)

    All in all, a helpful vid- gives me what to thank about, thanks!

  • coachaviv

    David, right on man!
    Personal taste and story will dictate the final decision – but “working the shot”, as you put it, is crucial!

  • Avi Siegal

    Very helpful and inspiring! I just discovered your website and I’m very excited to see what you continue to post.

    • coachaviv

      Thanks Avi – Stay Posted! Lots to come.

  • Ryan L

    Really informative to see how you breakdown your process of choosing the right shot. Great stuff!

    • coachaviv

      Thanks Ryan!

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  • Play with multiple camera angles. Great advice Aviv!

    Thank you again.

    • coachaviv

      That’s it! You’re welcome Filmari.