How to take better cell phone pictures - Tip #4

Shoot in sequences

Like I have said before, good pictures require a commitment.  Rather than just taking a snap shot we need to spend a little time to explore our chosen subject.  Often, I find that the first picture I take of a subject is the least interesting.  For this tip I am stealing a rule from videography.  When learning how to shoot video one of the first things I was taught was to shoot in sequences.  This simply means start with a couple wide shots and then move in closer and closer making shots along the way.  

The images above are a series I took downtown Chicago of the staircase leading up to the train.  I started at an angle from a distance, but because of my hatred for zooming in with a cell phone I couldn't capture the image I was really wanting.  I scratched the idea and moved in closer.  I do like the second image and could have stopped there but I decided to keep exploring the possibilities.  The third shot I took ended up being by far the best of the group.  I got to the base of the stairs right as the woman in red shoes was approaching.  I would have totally missed this opportunity if I did not commit to exploring my subject and shooting a sequence of images. 

Here is a rare case where I like the first shot from a sequence best.  Even though I was satisfied I still went in closer just incase there was an even better shot.  I did not find it this time, but I did get a good example of shooting in sequences even if you are satisfied with the first capture.  To be completely truthful I came back to this a couple hours later with a fresh mind and got a closer shot that I love.

Here are a couple more examples of shooting in sequences.

I would love to see some of your images using this technique.  You can e-mail them to me at aj@ajbrownimaging, use #abiphotochallenge on instagram, or just leave a comment with them in the comment section.