MacBook Pro

Robert Capa, a famous pho­to­jour­nal­ist once said, “If your pic­tures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” It’s not just about zoom­ing in with your lens, either. It’s about get­ting phys­i­cal­ly clos­er to peo­ple and get­ting to know them bet­ter. It’s also about spend­ing a lit­tle time with a stranger before tak­ing their pho­to. That helps build the trust and com­fort that’ll come through in your pic­tures. Walk up to your sub­ject with a sim­ple wave and a smile to help com­mu­ni­cate that you mean no harm.

Ask per­mis­sion to take a pho­to if they speak the same lan­guage as you. If you don’t share a lan­guage, try learn­ing some basic phras­es ahead of time, ges­ture at your cam­era and ask through expres­sion. Of course if some­one doesn’t want their pic­ture tak­en, it’s imper­a­tive to respect their wish­es and move on — peo­ple are always more impor­tant than pho­tographs. Nation­al Geo­graph­ic writes that “mak­ing great pic­tures is pri­mar­i­ly a men­tal process.” What makes you want to pho­to­graph the per­son or place? How might you describe it to a friend, and what adjec­tives would you use? Are there details you can focus on that tell a sto­ry?

iPad/iPhone

Maybe it’s a dry, arid desert, cap­tured by focus­ing on the pat­terns of cracked earth. Or a prairie that’s pho­tographed with the hori­zon at the bot­tom of the frame, to help cre­ate a sense of the open sky and tran­quil­i­ty. Or maybe it’s the sto­ry of a deft arti­san, fin­ger­nails cov­ered in wet clay as she molds a pot. When you’re on the road it can be tough to eat right and make sure you get all the right nutri­ents. I start­ed tak­ing dai­ly sup­ple­ments of Mul­ti-Vit­a­min, Fish Oil cap­sules and Vit­a­min D and it helps a lot. Espe­cial­ly the Vit­a­min D since I don’t get to see the sun a lot dur­ing the win­ter in Swe­den.

Sennheiser HD-25 Headphones

It’s dif­fi­cult to recre­ate the grandeur of a vast land­scape in the con­fines of a pic­ture frame. But one way to add a sense of depth to your pho­tos is to com­pose them with objects in the fore­ground that sup­port the scene. It can be as sim­ple as a wind­ing road through a nation­al park, or some rocks to show off the local geol­o­gy.

If you’re tak­ing pho­tos of peo­ple dur­ing nor­mal day­light hours, a quick way to get more flat­ter­ing light is to move the per­son out of direct sun­light. The light is much “soft­er” and doesn’t cast stark, unflat­ter­ing shad­ows across their facial fea­tures. Even bet­ter, have some­one stand next to an open door or win­dow as the sin­gle source of light.