Photo Tip: Less is More – Move in, Zoom in for Stronger Compositions

Everyone has experienced the disappointment of photos that just don’t do justice to the beauty and drama of the scene they remember. Usually, this gets blamed on not having a good enough camera. More times than not, however, the culprit is a composition that lacks focus. Not blurry/sharp focus, but focus in terms of having a clear subject.

Faced with photographing a beautiful scene, most people automatically try to “get it all in” one picture. This usually means physically backing up or zooming out with the lens. And when they run out of room, people lean back to try to get that extra tree, mountain, river, whatever in the shot. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. The next time you you find yourself backing up, ask yourself, “what is the subject of this picture?” “What is the really interesting thing about this scene and what can I leave out?” Keep moving forward or zooming in, eliminating (cropping out) everything that is not essential to your composition. Then check all the edges and corners of your frame and see if you can crop out anything else. If you can’t resist, shoot one frame with a ‘loose’ composition and another with the tighter composition. I’ll bet you’ll agree that the tighter composition almost always makes the stronger image.

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