How to take better pictures? 98% of the time they can be improved by getting closer to the subject. Telephoto lenses are not the answer.
I experienced this again, and again. For example, I met this group of street performers over the weekend. They didn't mind I was taking pictures, and few gathered to listen, so I was free to experiment. I found out that as I got closer to them, the photos came out better.
For more thoughts on photography, I recommend the Lenswork.