Photographer’s Intuition: A Crucial Device
The muscles tense in your hands as they grip the camera. You hold your breath as your index finger begins to move downward. The shutter button gives some resistance as you attempt to capture your image. Everything seems to come to a head. The shutter releases and the action of making an image is complete, but did you get exactly what you were looking for? Did you get that moment?
Feeling pressure before making images is common in photography. Tension builds as you wait for the right moment when everything is right- but you know it won’t last long. Light changes, the wind blows harder, your portrait sitter gets tired. Everything can change in a blink.
Determining that moment is one of the most crucial devices a you will use to separate your work from others. It’s an internal stopwatch which makes you wait for the image to unfold just before you release the shutter, the timing of the moment becomes more crucial in some genres. This skill carries some weight. It removes the snapshot feel of a photo and can turn the photograph into a story. The image taken moment sooner, or just after, will likely not have the same effect. You must wait for the right moment.
The success of timing is hardly luck, but rather in planning and anticipation, even more so, it’s intuition- having that feeling your moment is coming. People, animals, and weather do approximately the same thing…repeatedly, and are quite predictable. Watch people on the street as they approach a homeless person, or are confronted by a panhandler or a very loud (visually) billboard, and take note of what you see. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for moments that are predictable and likely.
You’ll see many of the same things happen over and over as people do mostly the same thing. Even wildlife photographers will study animals and their habits to prepare for great photographs. Think of the ways your subject will act (or react) in a situation gives you an edge on that particular moment they are waiting for.
Doing your prep work gives you an advantage in getting the shot you want, but you still must patiently wait, watch, and trust your gut that the moment will show itself.0