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Digital Photography Tips: Capturing The Decisive Moment
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Digital Photography Tips: Capturing The Decisive Moment

Henri Cartier Bresson, a renowned photojournalist, coined the famous phrase “the decisive moment” in terms of photography. He was referring to the moment when the opportunity arises to capture a photo that tells the whole story in a single frame. Every time you take out your camera, you have an opportunity to capture the decisive moment – and since photography is largely a visual storytelling medium, this is what you should aspire to with every shot. No matter what you’re photographing, the goal is to capture the moment which best conveys the essence of the event.

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How is this done? It’s more complicated than this, but essentially, it comes down to being prepared and being able to anticipate these moments. You need to be fully aware of the situation and have your camera at the ready as things unfold – it’s something which takes practice and time to learn.

At Events

Let’s say that you’re at a birthday party and the candles on the cake have just been lit. Now is the time to get ready. Obviously, those candles are going to be blown out, so if your camera has a lag between pressing the shutter and the photo actually being taken, you need to keep this in mind as well. Press the shutter as the birthday boy or girl inhales instead of waiting for them to actually blow out the candles, by which time you’ll probably have missed the moment.

You should take the time to learn more about any event that you plan to photograph. For instance, sporting events like tennis matches can be very challenging to capture. You need to know enough about the event to be able to anticipate the action that you want to capture. By the same token, if your subject has a tendency to do something that you’d like to take a picture of, you need to get your camera ready when they’re about to make this action. You have to be able to predict the future to some extent in order to capture it with your camera. The better prepared you are to catch the decisive photographic moment, the more often you’ll succeed and the better of a photographer you’ll become.

In Daily Life

You may want to start carrying your camera with you as a matter of routine. There are always opportunities to capture the events around you – as a photographer, you should have the mindset that if you could save only one thing from your home in the event of a fire (other than your family and pets, of course), it would be the hard drive where you store your photographs. Memories captured on camera are precious things and often, irreplaceable as well. Start practicing to anticipate the moment before it happens and you’ll be able to capture more of these memories in photographic form and sharpen your skills as a photographer at the same time.

Learning how to capture moments in photography takes patience, practice and persistence. The journey to success may have ups and downs, but if you keep at it studying, reading magazines and perfecting your photography techniques, your success capturing those types of moments will increase naturally over time with experience.


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