Would you like to take better pictures than you do right now? Of course you would. The good news is that everyone can take beautiful pictures in virtually any situation—from birthdays to bar mitzvahs—all it takes is practice and a little education.
There are three simple things that you should remember in order to start taking better pictures right away.
1. Get Closer
2. Move out of the center
3. Tell a story
“If your pictures aren’t good enough. You aren’t close enough.”
-World War II photographer Robert Capa.
Getting closer helps to develop an intimacy and immediacy with your subject. This will draw your viewer into the photo, grab them by the collar and make them pay attention.
You can get closer by physically moving toward the subject or by using a telephoto lens to zoom in. Unless you’re in a firestorm on D-day or photographing dangerous animals, getting physically closer is usually the better alternative.
Move Out of the Center of the Frame: Use the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds simply states that if you divide any canvas into thirds horizontally and vertically, the intersection of those dividing lines will be the areas of greatest visual interest. Therefore, you should place your subject there.
Tell Me A Story
Ask yourself whether any element in the photo is helping you tell your story. If it helps, keep it in your frame. If it doesn’t help tell the story—it’s out.
The vacant scene conveys the loneliness of this desolate motel.
The photo with the truck provides scale, the one without is an abstract. This illustrates how the inclusion or exclusion of one small element can help convey a story.
Bonus Tip: The Squint Test
Another trick for verifying that every element in your frame belongs is through the squint test. If you squint through the viewfinder and can still easily identify the shapes you’re hoping to capture, you're in good shape. If you can't, then you may need to recompose.
Olympus cameras can capture your most profound thoughts, tender moments and stunning vistas. Ultimately it’s up to you to infuse your camera and your photos with energy, emotion and surprise.
Images courtesy of Jay Kinghorn.