In and out, 2016 (shot on phone)

THE DECISIVE MOMENT

Shot on Phone x VSCO A6 Preset

Henri Cartier-Bresson invented the concept of “the decisive moment” in photography, but I think it is misunderstood.

1. Follow your hunch

First, you cannot predict a decisive moment before it happens.

In photography, we often have a “hunch” whether a scene might be good or not. A hunch is a gut feeling… That a scene might make a good photo.

Therefore, whenever you even have a tiny gut feeling that a scene might be good,

JUST SHOOT IT.

2. Be ready before the decisive moment

The reason why I like wrist straps, and neck straps (not always keeping your camera in your bag) is because you need to be prepared before a potential decisive moment.

I’m an Eagle scout, and my motto I learned in Boy Scouts:

Always be prepared.

Or the negative version:

NEVER BE UNPREPARED.

When I shoot with my camera, I like to wear my camera like a bracelet or necklace. For RICOH GR buy ERICKIM STRAP. For Leica or Fujifilm, buy HENRI NECK STRAP.

The thing is: the worst is to have your camera at home. Second worst, keeping your camera in your bag.

3. The weight of the camera helps you see better.

If you want to see more potential decisive moments, feel the presence of the weight of the camera.

For example, when my camera is around my neck or in my hand, or wrist, I see more.

Why? The weight of the camera reminds me:

Look for potential photo opportunities.

4. You are a “street researcher”

As a street photographer, you are a researcher of reality.

Whenever you go down a random alley way, treat it like a mini experiment. You might or might not see something interesting.

But, you must experiment.

So when you shoot street photography, open yourself to more randomness, chance, and chaos…to see more potential “decisive moments.”

5. Just use your phone

Just shoot with your phone if carrying your normal camera is burdensome.

Then process your photos in VSCO, and publish them.

And yes, the phone is a real and a good camera.

In theory the phone camera is the ultimate street photography camera. Always in your front pocket, unassuming, and has maximum depth of field (more likely your street photos are in focus). Also, because the settings are simple, you just point and shoot. You don’t gotta think, which is good in street photography (good to click first, ask questions later).

6. You are the filter

You decide what to shoot and what not to shoot.

As a photographer, you are a filter of reality.

You decide what is personally meaningful, and what isn’t personally meaningful.

Therefore, capture your own personally-meaningful decisive moments. Because what is decisive to you isn’t decisive to others.


STREET PHOTOGRAPHY 101 BY ERIC KIM

Tokyo, 2012

If you’re new to street photography, start here:


STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION – New

STREET NOTES MOBILE EDITION: Street Photography Workshop in Your Phone.


Street Photography Inspiration


Beginner Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-1

Get started in street photography:

Definitions in Street Photography

How to Shoot Street Photography

Street Photography Equipment

See all equipment articles >

How to Conquer Your Fears in Street Photography

See all articles to conquer your fears >


Intermediate Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-color-chroma-19

Take your street photography to the next level:


Advanced Street Photography Articles

eric-kim-street-photography-suits-color-kodak-portra-400-2

Find deeper meaning in your street photography:


Street Photography Tips & Technique

laughin-lady-contact-copy

Learn how to shoot on the streets:

See all street photography tips and techniques >

Street Photography Guides

tokyo-eye-eric-kim-street-photography-contact-sheet-0000545

In-depth guides on street photography:

Street Photography Equipment

0-eric-kim-street-photography-sweat-downtown-la

The best equipment for street photography:

See all equipment articles >

Street Photography Editing and Workflow

How to Start a Street Photography Project

Learn From the Masters of Street Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

“He without a past has no future.”

If you want a distilled version, read the free ebook:  “100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography.”


Free Downloads

See all free downloads >

Free Street Photography Books

eric-kim-street-photography-only-in-america-14

Distilled information on street photography:

For more resources on photography, Start Here >

Scroll to Top