It’s all about timing

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the pioneer of modern photojournalism, was the master of timing. He coined the term decisive moment, to describe that moment at which the photo is “most significant”.

I see timing as the point when your composition, exposure, lighting and subject, all intersect in perfect unison. Photographically, timing is important for everything from facial expressions to sunsets.

You can anticipate perfect timing, or create it

If you are photographing the sunset, you’ll have to anticipate the right timing. If you are taking a portrait, your subject can repeat or refine a certain pose or expression for you. Sometimes we just encounter perfect timing. Remember the last time you were driving somewhere and saw that gorgeous moonrise? Or the expression on your child’s face when something made them really happy? Learn to recognize those moments.

When digital cameras first hit the market, they suffered from severe shutter lag

You’d press the shutter button and three or more seconds later, the picture would be taken. Some of them still do, especially the compact cameras.

If you have this problem with your camera, check to see that your flash is either fully on, or completely off. Many cameras have a setting for auto flash. Some of that shutter lag can be attributed to the camera deciding if it needs the flash and then charging the flash before it allows you to snap the photo. You don’t want this happening to you, so check your flash settings today!

Train your eye to recognize timing

Here is your task. Look at things in your everyday life and think of when the best time to press the shutter would be. This will train your eye and your brain to anticipate decisive moments as they happen and give you ideas on how to create them yourself.

Let me know in the comments how your training goes.

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