Seizing the moment – Anticipating, identifying and capturing the right moment in street and documentary photography

Home / Seizing the moment – Anticipating, identifying and capturing the right moment in street and documentary photography

Street and documentary photography is a genre of photography where the sense of timing, more than anything else, usually differentiates a good photo from a not so good one.

 

Banks of Hooghly

Banks of Hooghly

 

Photographers have continually stressed on getting the timing right and discussions continue to focus on anticipation, preparation and techniques.

 

Similarities

Similarities

 

The all important sense of anticipation

A term is often used…..”working the scene”. That’s when you make sense of a scene by moving around, observing a scene from different angles, looking for interesting subjects popping into the scene and building up a scenario in the mind. This creates a sense of anticipation and this sense of anticipation leads a photographer to a state of readiness with the camera settings and framing.

 

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

 

Compositional elements

What you finally see is what you anticipate. Interesting juxtapositions, overlaps, portraits with meaningful backgrounds and freezing stunning action are some of the constituents of canning a moment that has a certain amount of x factor in it…..something that sets it apart from a regular moment.

 

Environment

Environment

 

Multi shot

Using the multi shot function is almost always a winner. Multi shot mode allows you to shoot a sequence of photos of moving objects in rapid succession depending on the frame rate of your camera. Frequently one among this sequence will appear to be just the right shot in terms of positioning.

 

Plunge

Plunge

 

Higher ISO and faster shutter speeds

Immensely important to capture stunning actions. Even in daylight iso speeds in the range of 800 to 1000 allows for significantly faster shutter speeds thus helping to freeze fast action.

 

Wits end

Wits end

 

Be unobtrusive

Be as unobtrusive as possible. All elements of a scene, when they become conscious of the photographer and the camera, tend to behave unnaturally. But there’s nothing better than a candid shot which captures the natural essence of a scene. Spending some time in the shooting zone and familiarizing oneself with the situation at hand tends to relax people around the photographer. After a while they just go about their business without being too conscious of the camera.

 

Paper Bird

Paper Bird

 

Innovative angles

Experimenting with angles and povs ( point of view ) usually create different looking shots. Eye level shooting has mostly been the norm in documentary and journalistic work. But even simple street scenes can often appear dramatic with creative angles.

 

Catch

Catch

 

To conclude, the sense of anticipation reigns supreme along with the readiness to shoot away the moment something interesting begins to happen.

 

Moved left

Moved left

 

By |2017-09-14T06:04:05+00:00September 14th, 2017|Categories: How-to Tips|3 Comments

About the Author:

mm
I have always believed photographs tell stories in a way nothing else does. This has drawn me to explore photography as a visual story telling medium. I started off as a hobbyist shooting on the streets and freezing daily urban life in my city Kolkata, India. Over time my work expanded to include documentary photography and photo-stories. Eventually I went on to complete a diploma in photojournalism and a course on commercial photography. My capacity as a photojournalist allows me to cover events, festivals and public gatherings. Though I regularly do food and portrait photography as part of my commercial engagements, street and human interest continue to be closest to my heart.

3 Comments

  1. Broad Bean September 24, 2017 at 10:23 PM - Reply

    Great Article Sir…Thanks for sharing this valuable information…Pictures selected are awesome

  2. Nivedita N November 16, 2017 at 11:39 PM - Reply

    Very Beautiful…. Feeling pleasure to read it amazing photographer :)Every single photo is so beautiful Simply beautiful … and always a fabulous look!

  3. Amie January 13, 2018 at 11:30 AM - Reply

    Handy techniques, well explained process… 10x

Leave A Comment