Photography: 5 Ways to Capture the Moment

I’m a firm believer that a photograph tells a story. Look at the object’s face, surroundings, lighting … How old is the person? What is he or she feeling? What do you think he or she encountered that day? Why is that person in that place at the moment? Take for example the following photo.

Where do you think I was when I took this photo? Do you think that I knew that girls in the photo? What do you think they are celebrating?

When I was walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland, I walked into a town square and was taking in the beautifully built structures that surrounded me … and that’s when I saw them. A group of school girls were giggling, celebrating, and so in the moment with each other. I quickly clicked the shutter button on my camera and captured a moment in time. From the bike to the buildings to the girls, this photograph reveals so much about Dublin to me.

On another night in Ireland, I was walking the streets during the evening hours and found myself in a cute little town with a few pubs and boutique shops. I was coming up to an art/knick knack shop and that’s when I looked in the hallway of the shop and saw a story playing out in front of me.

From the rundown runner to the haphazardly placed frames to the man with the white hair … you can tell that this store has so many stories to tell and has seen its fair share of characters and art pieces.

When I walked into another boutique, I found myself surrounded by wool scarves, hats, mittens, and sweaters. I was awestruck by basket after basket of colorful threads, as well as row after row of beautifully woven wool items. While taking everything in, I turned and saw a woman at the cash register who was preparing the wool.

These products were real. This woman was the creator. The items in her store were unbelievable. I had to capture the moment. As she concentrated on the task at hand, I pressed the shutter button and captured a moment during one of my favorite stops along the way.

5 Ways to Capture the Moment

What’s the beauty in capturing the moment? Everything. Here are five tips on ways to help you capture the moment.

1.) Take in your surroundings.

Instead of zooming close into your object, take a step back. What I love most about the first image is that I didn’t zoom in on the group of girls. Instead, I kept the lens far away in order to capture more of the moment. The buildings, statues, and objects in the background like the bike, help create a photographic storyline. If you zoom in on the group of girls, it’s just a group of girls. If you zoom out on the group of girls, it’s a story.

2.) Avoid posing objects.

If I would’ve asked the woman in the wool store to look at the camera and smile, I never would’ve captured her in the moment. Her working the wool helps to tell a story. Her posing with wool in her hand would just be a women posing with wool. Where’s the story in that photograph? Actually showing the moment helps to show that she is the maker of the items in the store. She is the person behind all of the beauty.

3.) Embrace imperfections.

I’m a firm believer that not every photo has to be perfect. Take for example the photo of the frame store. The frames are a mess. The carpet runner is a mess. The moment is a mess … but it’s a perfectly imperfect mess which resulted in a beautiful moment. If frames were perfectly placed, the runner perfectly clean, and the moment perfectly organized, I think that the moment wouldn’t share much of a background.

4.) Get to know people.

After taking a photo of the group of girls, I met them. After taking a photo of the woman in the wool store, I talked to her. A photograph is definitely a moment in time. What makes that moment better is getting to know the object in the photo to help attach a memory to a moment.

5.) Be courageous.

So many people are afraid to capture a moment because strangers might be in the photo. Don’t be a afraid. Embrace your moment, hold the camera up to your eye, find the angle that will help tell the story, and press the shutter button.

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