This interview is a few years old now, but many of Ozer’s points are timeless and the interview itself is stellar:
There are all the technical aspects of photography—composition, light, framing, aperture, shutter speed, etc.—with both the camera and the image that are really important to nail down. But images that get all the technique down without having an emotional element are missing a really big piece of what makes a great photo. There are a lot of photographers who don’t quite get that. I don’t know how you would teach that exactly, but it comes from being authentic and shooting real moments: things that are actually happening. If you’re doing posed photography, documentary photography, shooting in a studio, or street photography, you need to get those real moments, whether they’re planned out or just happening. I don’t know what it is—it’s hard to put my finger on it—but I can tell when the emotion is missing.
More often than not, you just know when a photograph turns out. Improving the amount of those “you just know” moments is the name of the game.
Be sure to check out Chris Ozer on Instagram by the way. He’s probably my favourite Instagrammer — I don’t think there’s a photo I haven’t given a heart since I discovered his work last year.