Professional portraits, like the kind of you see on Instagram, look amazing–particularly to us non-professionals who still can’t get their dang phone camera out of portrait mode. But they’re even more impressive once you know how they were made. Often, a photo that looks like it was taken in an fairytale dreamscape was actually shot in a vacant lot near a freeway. That’s how good professional photographers are.

And we have one professional photographer to thank for showing us the truth–Brazilian wedding photographer Gilmar Silva. For years he’s been peeling back the curtain on how professional photographs are taken with a photo series called Lugar X Foto, literally meaning “place and photo.” In each post, Silva shows the “working environment” where the photo was taken, along with the final result. And often, the two photos look nothing alike.

Scroll down and check out his behind-the-scenes shots, (via Bored Panda.) You’ll gain a newfound respect for photographers, both for their skill and for the lengths they’ll go to get the perfect shot. And if you like Silva’s work, make sure you check out his Instagram!

1. Any location can look magical with a little framing and lighting.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

2. Even a puddle of mud.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

3. Photoshopped, but you’d never know it.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

4. No trees? No problem.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

5. A low-tech Instagram filter.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

6. Taken during a rainstorm? Nope.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

7. If you want the perfect shot, sometimes you gotta get dirty.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

8. Taken in a peaceful meadow? Not even close.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

9. The biggest challenge was ignoring the smell.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

10. The classic stork photo: much easier than it looks.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

11. Not a mystery how this was taken, but still very creative.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

12. The library’s never looked better.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

13. That must have taken 1,000 tries, right? Nah.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

14. Probably a lot safer this way.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

15. He got the shot, and then they all had to go get shots.

Photo Credit: Gilmar Silva

h/t: Bored Panda