You know how to cook, how to work on your car, and how to build your body. What’s the single common thread between all of these? Your brain. Also: The best tools.

Photography is no different. Yes, there’s definitely an art to it. But as with any skill you’ve already mastered, the key is using your noggin when you shoot photos to improve and learn from your mistakes.

And as with working out, you can learn from the best and copy what they do. Which is why we’re offering our own hard-won “hacks” that can get you nine-tenths of the way there. Where to look? Crib your tips from the best—like pro photographers in action sports.

Also, as with life, be a fair critic of your work. Pat yourself on the back when a shot comes out great, and dispense what didn’t. Then copy what worked and cement those skills for subsequent shots.

Here’s a gentleman’s guide to shooting photos like an Instagram professional.