This Picture Sucks

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and so do yours

#9. Get in closer

Robert Capa is often quoted as saying, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Which, like a lot of quotes, is misunderstood. Just look at Capa’s photographs and tell me how many of them are super closeups. Yeah, that many. As much as I like a nice close-up portrait now and again, as a general rule, it’s something to avoid because extreme close-ups tell us NOTHING.

Look at it this way, when you frame a pic like this, what does it tell you about the subject:

It’s a dude with a slightly emo haircut. Anything else? What’s the connection, why is he important, what’s going on? Is he a musician from Norway or a cab driver in South Africa? There’s nothing there, you just move on. A face might tell a story, but you can usually fit it on the back of a matchbook. Or this pic:

It’s a pretty nice image that doesn’t tell us anything. Sure, you can look in the comments on that bad boy, the photographer wrote up two paragraphs explaining the pic. That’s like a voice over in a movie. Dudes, get it right the first time, out of the gate.

Take a step back, show us some surroundings, show us some context – not just a face. Tell us a story, engage us, we’re not looking at your pics for our health.

And, dude, if you’re using macro tubes to be able to focus, you are waaaaay too close. Nobody needs to see those pores.

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Filed under: thelist

One Response

  1. arnaudo says:

    youre doing a great job, keep going please

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