On your vacation, at that graduation or wedding or any number of situations, you’re looking to capture that “perfect photo”.
I see it all the time; people trying to set up the “perfect photo,” where everyone is looking at the camera in a lineup in front of some travel hot spot and working to get just-the-right-look-now-hold-it…
Hey, knock yourself out. Even Assistant Laura and I take those photos – us in front of Cinderella’s Castle or with our family on an outing. The ever-famous, ever-present “normal” camera shot will remain a staple of our photo albums for generations to come.
Thing of it is, those photos, while reminding us of a certain spot or the vacation we loved will only take our memories so far. Certainly you’ll look at them with fond recognition and relive that vacation or graduation or birth over and over again. There is nothing wrong with the kids in front of the Christmas tree all lined up with their gifts or the whole family on Main Street at Disney World lined up with the Castle in the background. Nothing wrong at all.
The images that capture our imaginations, the ones that win awards and will stick your your mind’s eye as a warm embrace are never – yep, never the ones of everyone lined up and posed. They’re moments – individual, natural moments.
Yet you want to capture moments
You want to grab that instant when something special happened and you want to remember that innocent moments, that flicker of time that perhaps your eye saw, but posterity has lost it to all but your memory like a breath on the cold winter air escaping your lips.
Here are a couple tips to help you get those moments on your digital card or film as well. And hopefully help you see and capture those instants of time as they happen – ideally before – and grab them for all time.
1. While you’re setting up: Often in that time while you’re setting up the shot, the little ones are giving you shot after shot you completely miss. I watched recently as a mom was trying to get her toddler to stand on a bench in front of a window at Downtown Disney. As she begged and pleaded to get the little one to sit nicely in front of the large character in the window, dad watched – and did nothing.
What he missed 3,4,5 times was a lovely shot of the little one, standing on the bench and reaching for the character in the window. THAT would have been a memory that would have touched their hearts for years.
2. Look around & see what you see: We were at Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago one day when I looked up and saw a young Amish couple with their children. The Amish are known for their shunning of modern ways (They may have been another sect, but that style plain clothing). So when I saw that dad with his cell phone and the pouch on his hip, the mom working a very nice looking, modern stroller and both interacting with the small ones, in that moment I saw an exciting image… except, I didn’t have my camera at the ready and missed it.
Other times I’ve caught it; the Lowes Team for the #48 & Jimmy Johnson lined for pre-race events. The two NASCAR officials discussing the race to come. A guy pushing out into Lake Michigan.
3. Walking away: Yep, you see that right. An image I love is the one of someone walking away. This moment will come back time and again to you. I’m using three examples here – my niece, Anna as a toddler, her at 5 and my parents. Notice the change in Anna’s size, but not the exuberance of her life. And my parents; while this shot was special from the moment I took it and was one of their favorites (it even appeared in the photo card catalog for Photographer’s Edge) now that we’ve lost dad it’s even more precious.
4. Spur of the moment: My brother is talking with his son, Asher about what they’re about to see. In this moment between father and son, a life’s lesson is learned, a comfortable exchange occurs and I’ve captured the moment forever.
Look for the little exchanges between people. Heads together, small chats, comforting others, those times when two people are in their own world, yet you’re observing and capturing it from a distance.
5. Images are everywhere: Most of the time we think of lovely images we want as the people in our lives. But don’t forget the beauty of nature, architecture and whatever it is that holds your passion. Look for moments, lighting, views that are simply stunning to you. If you can see it with you eye, line it up with your camera and perhaps you’ll capture something breathtaking.