Photographic Innoventions: Before the Moment

Last week, I talked about Joe McNally’s book, The Moment It Clicks. However, to start making photographs instead of snapshots, you have to think a bit before clicking the camera’s shutter. It takes practice. So, when you are in a Disney park or an event and things start to happen fast or you are with family or friends and have to work fast, they become second nature to you to check the following:

1. Is my Shutter Speed correct to capture my subject properly?
2. Is my selected Focal Length or my Positioning optimal to capture my subject?
3. Have I chosen the proper Depth of Field to best highlight my subject?
4. Is my subject in Focus?
5. Have I checked the Edges of my frame to minimize distracting elements?

These were taken from 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Tripping the Shutter.

I would have put “Is my subject in focus” in the number one slot. For me, if the main subject of a photo is not in focus, it takes away from the impact. Sometimes it’s not always possible to get all of your subject in focus. In that case, select the most important part to you. For example, for people or animals photos, always try and get the eyes sharply focused.

If you are photographing action subjects like sports, shows or parades. You want to capture the action at it’s peak points. By using your camera’s burst mode to shot many frames per second, you can shot an entire sequence. Later, you can find all the gems you got. Try this the next time you are photographing the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular action scenes. For something moving repetitively, like a themepark ride, it’s easy to find a place and wait for the action to come to you.

In the photo below, while I like it, I wish I had waited for the light to fully fill the “rocket thrust”. I’ll get it next time!

Mission Space…To Infinity and Beyond. © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, 0 EV, 32mm Focal Length

Further Reading: More Questions to Ask Before Pressing the Shutter (Some of these are redundant but not all.)

Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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