The Decisive Moment; how to get THE Shot you want!
" Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever. "
These words were spoken in 1957 by photojournalism pioneer Henri Cartier-Bresson as he described in an interview what he called “The Decisive Moment”.
As a storytelling photographer, I aim to capture candid moments that are authentic and filled with emotions and connections. Here are a few tips to help you get the shots you want!
1. Define who you are as a photographer
Your idea of a great photo may not be the same as someone else's. What subject would you like to photograph? What do you care to capture? Think of a few key words that define your voice. Take some time to figure out who you are as a photographer. Once you do, it will be much easier for you to achieve your photo goals.
2. It is actually better to be picky with your shots
Without the limitation of 24 exposure 35mm film, digital cameras make it easy for people today to fire shots away. However, taking more photos does not mean that you'll get better ones. In fact, this tactic usually backfires.Think of it this way: if you really want to document 100% of a moment then perhaps you should look into videography. I encourage you to remove your camera from burst mode for rapid-fire shooting. Make each click count. This might make you feel a bit like a duck out of water at first, and yes, you might miss out on some things, but you'll be a better photographer in the long run.
3. Watch and anticipate the future
Make sure to be in the moment and quietly observe what is going on. What will be the sequence of events? What is everyones' mood like? Try to anticipate what is going to happen and make your camera available and ready to fire! Follow your instincts. With experience and practice you will be able to guess more or less what people are going to do next. It doesn't always work, but it's worth the risk when it happens! To hone this skill, start with planned events, like birthday parties or a friend's wedding, there is an easy sequence that unfolds for key moments.
4. Study your work - without criticism
The best camera is the one that's with you. The next time you go on an outing, bring your camera or even use your cell phone to practice. Take time afterward to look at your photos and reflect on key moments from the day and what you've learned. Did you get the shots you wanted? Which photos speak to you the most and why? Do not judge yourself, be objective and focus on what you are going to do next time.