Starting Long and Zooming Out to Choose Focal Length

There’s a popular saying by Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” It implies that you should fill your frame with the subject you’re photographing, to ensure there are no distracting elements in your final image. In today’s video, landscape photographer James Popsys talks about a very simple photography tip along this line that helped him to improve his photography.

We sometimes can want to include greater variety in our lives. This idea might work elsewhere, but definitely not in photography. Having more things to look at simply makes images cluttered and confusing. A better measure is to get rid of things and leave only the crucial objects in the frame.

We can easily do this by using the zoom functionality of our lenses. Generally, when composing with a zoom lens, we go from a wider perspective to a tighter one. The problem here is that we can end up using a focal length that’s much wider just because we want to include more elements. So, James’s idea is to start off from the longest focal length and gradually zoom out. By starting from the longer end and slowly zooming out until we get a flavor of what we need, we greatly reduce the probability of having unnecessary objects in the frame. This ultimately results in stronger images.

We highly recommend that you try this technique the next time you’re out for photography. This will definitely help you to take striking images that have a greater impact.

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