Capture the moment photography

In these very difficult times for us all at the moment being locked in isolation and not being able to get out with the camera I have been doing quite a lot of soul searching and asking tough questions of my own photography.  One question I have been giving some thought too is if I could put the genre of my photography into a specific bucket I enjoy the most which would it be?

I eventually came to the conclusion that my aspirations and desires were not the normal popular genres but instead I opted for a totally different one in Capture the moment photography.

Sounds a bit strange right but I love photography and even though I have a burning desire to be out in the mountains I also love just as much photographing the ocean, woodland and nightscapes.  The more I thought about it I realised that its not just about a beautiful scene but more the pursuit of those magical moments in time.  My passion for photography is driven by always pushing myself to do better, to learn from experiences and try to produce Photographs that truly capture the moment.

Photograph of fallen veteran tree in mist worcestershire
Photograph of fallen veteran tree in mist illuminated by early morning light in Worcestershire

Whenever I am out with fellow photographers one of my favourite sayings I find myself repeating over and over again is Capture the moment and this got me thinking do they fully understand what I mean?

See whenever you say capture the moment in photography people naturally think you mean reach for the camera and just shoot the scene that presents itself in front of you.  You wouldn’t be wrong after all moment by its very definition is a point in time at which something happens.

After using these words many times over even though I knew what I meant by the saying it I never really thought about it in much detail and always subconsciously thought moment was the key and the most important word of the three in relation to my photography.  When I thought about it in more detail I realised that in fact it was the word Capture that was the most important word that I was trying to express to other people.

Lets take a second to look at the definition of the verb Capture:

If something or someone captures a particular quality, feeling, or atmosphere, they represent or express it successfully.

When you capture the moment in photography it is so much more than just pointing the camera at a scene and clicking the shutter button.  It is about understanding that moment, identifying the elements that make up that moment and just as important elements within a scene that don’t.

Fundamentally some of the most important elements in photography are learning to read and understand what makes up a moment and just as importantly what doesn’t.  Once you understand and have identified these key elements and understand your own emotions and feelings of what you are trying to photograph you can begin to capture the scene in a way to express these key points to the viewer.

Storm Ciara 2020 face rising from the deep
The face of Ciara rising from the ocean during the Storm 2020

A simple and common example is to use a slow shutter speed to create motion of water in a scene using the movement of object to capture a moment in time and express this to the viewer.  Under exposing an image is another very simple way to change the mood and feeling of an image along with simple white balance changes from cool to warm.  Here you can find more of my thoughts on How to create meaningful photographs that evoke emotion and feeling.

So what is Capture the moment photography?

Well it is successfully expressing atmosphere, feeling and emotion at a point in time as it happens through your photography.

In my opinion creating photographic art that captures atmosphere, feeling and emotion should be the work that any photographer aspires to produce.  It is what separates a good photographer from a great one and good photograph from a timeless world class piece of art.

So next time you get asked what genre of photography you enjoy the most, think about it, do you love landscape photography?  Coastal Photography?  Astrophotography?  Or maybe…Capture the moment photography!