We have all seen pictures that ‘capture the moment’ on film for posterity. This could be an action shot or a glance between two people that proves that a “picture is worth a thousand words”. Sometimes the moment happens right away, sometimes you have to wait. Here are some tips on how to catch the moment with the perfect photograph.
Almost every good photograph captures a unique moment in time. Some may say that to capture a moment happens by accident or luck. Otherwise, how can you plan to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment?
It is the goal of every photographer to capture genuine moments rather than accidental ones in which luck has played a part. Alternatively, put your camera on auto and take high speed bursts of photos in the hope that one will work out, which again is wishing for a lucky shot.
Before you begin to consider capturing a unique moment, do make sure before you head out that your equipment is fully prepared. Check that the camera battery is fully charged and the memory card is installed and has space. Keeping spare batteries is also a good idea.
Create the moment
A good photographer will capture the moment by creating the moment and then photographing what unfolds. It is possible to train
yourself to look for subjects. Studying works of art can help you improve your ability to compose a picture from your visual information. Walking on the beach you may come across driftwood that can take on another form depending on the angle of your lens. An intriguing background may need you to wait for something to move into the composition to capture a perfect shot. This is planned and calculated, but is still a genuine moment since luck is not required.
Sometimes photographers do get lucky. If you are travelling and come across a landscape or scene that has caught your attention and it is the right time of day with near perfect light, then you can take some magical photographs. This is where a manual camera is perfect so you can adjust the picture to the lens you have on the camera at the time. Whilst it may be nice to have the perfect lens for a shot, you can still get a good picture with an alternative lens when you have a full understanding as to how your camera works.
Fast moving subjects can make capturing well-composed photos a challenge. Using the camera’s burst mode will allow you to choose the picture with the best composition from several options. This is particularly useful when you see someone turn an aerial somersault, otherwise you will you need luck.
Candid snapshots (when people are not aware they are being photographed) can work beautifully with people that you know. It is more of a challenge with strangers and requires the photographer to use intuition and empathy to assess the situation.