10 Simple Tips from Yamashita-sensei for taking great shots!

What makes a photo become a great photo? Prominent National Geographic photojournalist Michael Yamashita shared with me some tips on how to take great photos…

Me in blue shirt interviewing Michael Yamashita

  1. Light is of great importance when it comes to taking great pictures. Every great photo is usually the result of the element of light. The half hour either side of sunrise and sunset, dubbed the ‘magic hour’, is when the light is best for making pictures outdoors.
  2. Gestures are also important. Maximise the ideal situation for the subject – what the subject is doing, the body movements of your subject, actions and reactions of your subject.
  3. Must be technically proficient. For your pictures to be well-exposed, sharp and composed, you need to know all about shutter speeds, the lenses, colour saturation and the like. Great pictures are usually the ones that require the least or no editing.
  4. To get that great picture, you need to know what you want first. You need to be able to pre-visualise. You need to identify the kind of picture you want to take, how to take it and when it is best to take it. You have to be visualise in your mind clearly the photo you want to take.
  5. Great pictures creates impact. Look for the extraordinary in everyday situations. If a picture doesn’t grab the attention of people – to make them pause and study it, it’s not a great picture.
  6. Work the situation – meaning take advantage of as many shots as possible. One shot from one angle is never enough and will not necessarily produce the result you want. Chances of getting a great picture is when you’ve taken plenty of shots of the same subject from different angles and viewpoints, depending on light, distance and colour..
  7. Colour is the most important if you choose to shoot in colour. You want powerful saturated colour, but more often than not, pictures are underexposed. The best way is to manually expose base on medium grey, which incidentally, is the same as the colour of the palm of your hand for Asians.
  8. Take advantage of unusual weather situations. All types of green flora are actually best taken when it is raining, so don’t be afraid of taking pictures when it rains cause you might get really great pictures under abnormal weather conditions.
  9. Remember, great pictures are not about great cameras or how many pixels you can get. It all depends on the eye of the photographer. Great photographers take great pictures because they are able to see the potential of a situation to become a great picture.
  10. Take chances and shoot as many pictures as possible.
  11. Disregard the above rules because rules are meant to be broken. Just be passionate and be obsessed. That’s all you need to drive you to take great pictures.

  1. omgomgomgomgomgomomgg u met him how how how how how how how?!?!??!?!?!?!



  2. How I met him, Andrew? In my capacity as a photojournalist while he was here in Malaysia in October 2005! 😀

    He was my first interview subject! XD

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