Why You Should Never Wait to Take that Photo

by Barrett

A last-minute photo attempt may not result in the best picture. Then there’s no opportunity to try again. Here’s how to avoid that disappointment.

Whenever I feel inspired to take a particular photo, it’s based on an almost subconscious series of creative choices. My brain constructs the framed image, and I can visualize it. Then, I just need to capture the actual photo.

If it’s beautiful scenery, then I simply snap the picture. Easy!

But if it involves other people in the scene itself, then I have to interact with any number of other brains that may or may not want to conform with my brain’s vision. The challenge becomes one of staging the moment you see in your head.

Maybe it’s wrangling a good group shot at a party or event. Or perhaps it’s capturing a key family vacation photo that you’ll need for that photo book you’re planning to create.

Here’s my number one tip to help ensure your success:

  • Don’t wait to get the shot!

That’s because a photo ‘moment’ is by definition a short period of time. It’s rarely going to wait around for you. So you’ve got to move quickly.

Early Departures can Crush your Plan
If you’re with a group of people at a party, snap that group shot as soon as everyone has shown up. Any number of variables may then quickly thin the ranks. As soon as you see everybody in one space, that’s the moment to ask for the group picture.

I think there’s a social norm that suggests the end of an event is the more appropriate time for everyone to gather for a group photo. While that may feel like a better flow, it assumes all your guests are still there. See the problem?

Be Mindful not to Ask for Too Many Photos
Family vacation photography doesn’t typically have that same challenge as you’re tracking fewer people who should theoretically be together through much of the trip. But as the family photographer, I always need to pay attention to the reality that my family doesn’t always want to pose for my frequent requests for a picture. (They’re not my photo models!)

So, I’ve got to be strategic and not waste opportunities for a posed photo or a family selfie.

That said, I often try to front-load the family pictures I take early in a vacation to ensure I’ve got what I think I need. (And you can see how that thinking can negatively impact my family’s tolerance for my photography later in the vacation.)

Ultimately, I find it’s a balancing act. And I’ll admit that as a family photographer, I’m still a work in progress!

Don’t Wait for your Last Day
I recently snapped a few group photos with my work colleagues, because I’m changing jobs. (I’ve really enjoyed working with them, and of course, I wanted some pics.)

I used my ‘take-the-picture-early’ strategy and did not wait until my last day. And I’ve got to tell you, it was a delightful process (and more relaxed than it would have been as a last-minute attempt). It removed all the unnecessary stress about whether everyone would be available to take the shot.

There is no Perfect Moment
The bottom line is never wait for the perfect moment to take a picture, because that moment may never arrive!

When you see an opportunity that contains the imagery and people you want, then you’ve got to make your move. It’s as simple as that.

It might feel a bit forced, but if you’ve got some staging to do, it may be your only chance.

Everyone will thank you later when you text the group what they see as the perfect photo.