Oftentimes, capturing the perfect moment is what makes a photo special. But as important it is to catch it, it’s equally easy to miss it. In this video from Adorama, David Bergman offers some tips and examples to help you train your eye and never miss “the decisive moment” again.
Street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is known for capturing what he called The Decisive Moment. And even if you don’t want to take photos exactly like him, pressing the shutter at the right moment is still a skill worth learning and perfecting over time.
Essentially, you can roughly divide this process into two stages: preparation and anticipation.
Obviously, you want to start by preparing your camera for catching the right moment. Take a look around and observe the light, how bright it is, at what angle it shines, and how it interacts with the subject. Then, prepare your camera settings accordingly: a rule of thumb is not to use an aperture too large (don’t go under f/5.6) and use a shutter speed of 1/125 or higher. Also, prepare yourself: stand in the right place that will allow you to compose your shot, and prepare yourself mentally for the next stage: observation.
Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to observe. Pre-compose your shot and be prepared to catch the right moment. Again, think of the light and how it will affect your shots. If you’re familiar with the people or situation you’re photographing, account for that too. After all, then you’ll know what you’re anticipating and you’ll be better prepared for it.
In the video, David shares some great examples that will help you put these two tips into context. So, make sure to watch the video above and then grab your camera and hit the streets!