Knowing when to take the picture

As if all the technical and composition rules of photography aren’t enough to think about, I find it increasingly fascinating that there is also “an art of timing”.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered by many the father of photojournalism, wrote a book called “The Decisive Moment”, that debriefs this concept.

A very elementary summary (in my own interpretation) would state:

…the decisive moment is the moment where composition and emotion reach an apex.  And that is the moment that art happens.

Things really started to change for me two years ago when I gave up trying to shoot for the expected typical shot, and instead shoot for the moments in between.

Those moments are fleeting.

And not something that you can freeze while you count to three or utter other directives on how to stand and look.

For me, it has meant a lot less directing and a lot more interacting… but the results are much more meaningful.

Here’s a few decisive moments from a fabulously fun family session we filmed a while back for my Advanced Pro class.  Catch all the behind scenes footage (and the interaction that brings these decisive moments) featured in this course.


Do you like the concept of the Decisive Moment?

Eric Laurits spoke earlier this year about the sense of anticipation that comes from listening and watching for that moment and shares some wise words about how to apply that to your own shooting.


Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah.  She likes to anticipate her son’s laughter, the taste of freshly squeezed lemonade, the warmth of hugs and kisses, and the climax of suspense mystery novels.  The anticipation makes the moment all the more rich.

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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