Seems simple right? But it can make such a huge difference in your photos. When people ask me what they could have done to make their photos better, it's often the first thing that come to mind. Get closer or zoom in. This mainly pertains to photos of people or pets, but can also help when shooting macro images.
When you are taking portraits, you have to remember what the focal point of the image is. It's the people, not the pretty garden or scenery in the background. Not to mention that when you use your zoom, it is far more flattering than a wide angle shot.
This is my first sample. Zoe was kind enough to model for me. The first shot is typical of what I see. A horizontal shot showing the full length of the person. There are times that you do want a full length shot, like a wedding or prom. With that said, not all shots need to be full length.
So for the second image, I walked closer, zoomed in AND rotated the camera so that the image is now vertical. The focal point is now Zoe, and not the scenery in the background.
Another real world sample that most people could relate to would be taking photos at your child's Christmas concert. I see it EVERY time. People, way back in the audience with their point and shoot cameras trying to take photos of their children from their seat. Here is why your photos will not turn out:
1. Normally the person is shooting with flash, as you are indoors. The average point and shoot camera flash will only reach about 12 feet. It will not reach your child on stage.
2. When you use the zoom AND the flash, it makes the scenario in #1 even worse. When you zoom in, the amount of light being let into the lens becomes less. Meaning you need even more light from the flash, which wasn't working for you in the first place.
3. Being in the audience, your camera's light meter is metering for what your flash will reach, which is people's heads in front of you. Again not your child on stage. So the stage will look very dark.
This is what you need to do. Get out of your seat and walk up in front of the stage. Don't worry about the other people taking photos, their photos aren't turing out anyway :) Now your flash may reach. You can always try turning off the flash and being very still. This all depends on how dark the room is, and how bright the stage is lit.
Here is another sample of simply zooming in.
My final samples show the same image in 3 steps of getting closer. Thank you to my snow day pajama models!
Wide angle shot, showing too much background. The girls are not the focal point.
The second image I walked closer and zoomed in slightly. It's better, but you still have some background that you don't need. Plus the PJs are a little distracting.
Finally we have a beautiful winter portrait. The focal point are their beautiful faces, and not everything around them.
Stop by tomorrow for more tips and samples!