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Photography’s Decisive Moment

By Chris Corradino on April 14, 2015


The New York Institute of Photography is the world’s largest online photography school, and because we are, we often publish fun and useful photography tips. Please enjoy!

Photography’s Decisive Moment

You've likely heard the old saying, "it takes two to tango". In photography, conflict between two subjects makes for a compelling story. These moments pass in an instant though, leaving no time to fuss with camera settings. Rather than using the camera on automatic and hoping for the best, you can prepare ahead of time and adjust your settings manually.

For example, at 1/1000th of a second, you can freeze just about any action no matter how fleeting. If possible, set your camera to continuous high. This allows you to capture multiple frames in a short burst, potentially increasing your chances at catching the moment.

The great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson called it, "the decisive moment".

Essentially, it's the peak of the action. Rather than settling for an image of a bird sitting still, strive to catch a more interesting moment. This often requires an abundance of patience, but is worth the effort and time.

Of course when the situation presents itself, you want to seize the opportunity. Anytime you are photographing quick moving subjects, the center autofocus sensor will be the best option. Trying to carefully compose with the outer focus points will lead to a missed photo.

Want to learn more? NYIP offers online photography courses for anyone interested in taking their photo skills to the next level. Request your free course catalog today!

About the Author

Chris Corradino is the head of the photography mentor program at NYIP. Just like all of our mentors, he is also a professional photographer. See Chris's photography lesson from last week for more.