Walking woman. Kyoto street photograph, 2017

If Your Photos Aren’t Good Enough, You’re Not Close Enough

Walking woman. Kyoto street photograph, 2017
Walking woman. Kyoto street photograph, 2017

Robert Capa said it best— if you want to make better pictures, get closer.

To make better photos, get closer.

Take a step or two closer. Take a few more photos. Work the scene. Shoot the scene for different angles.

“If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” – Robert Capa

Use a wide-angle lens. Use a 28mm or a 35mm lens. Don’t use a zoom lens, instead, use your “foot zoom”. Get physically close to your subjects; don’t crop.

Why get closer? Your photos will be more intimate. They will have more soul. You will push yourself outside your comfort zone. It is scary and challenging to get closer. But the closer you get, the more emotionally close you will get to your subjects.

To get closer, pretend like you’re shooting something behind your subject. Don’t make eye contact. Or, just ask for permission. Smile a lot. Wave hello to your subject before or after. Make small chat with people. Maybe talk with them before asking to make their portrait.

Don’t hesitate. Be brave. Don’t be afraid of offending people. Remember, you’re making art.