Imperial Beach Pier, Sunset

Capturing the Moment and the Mood

Hopefully this won’t get too deep or sappy!  I was thinking about what makes a good photo.  There are a lot of pretty pictures out there, but some just seem to reach out a grab you.  Why?

To anyone concerned with making more than snapshots (and that’s ok too), this is a tough question.  I post a lot of images on-line.  Some seem to take off, and people like them, share them, etc….  This is actually easy to see on websites like Facebook and Google +.

I can also get a  good idea on another site called ViewBug.  In fact, ViewBug is very active with people sharing all kinds of images and it has contests.  Flickr is another site I post on, but it seems to be fairly slow there lately.

While I don’t have a concrete answer to why one image is more popular or appealing than another, I do have idea.  Mood.  When one of my images is more popular than another, I thinks it’s because it goes beyond just being a pretty picture and evokes a certain mood, or feeling.

Here’s an example:
The Cabin

I’ve  called this one “Warm and Cozy”, and it’s done quite well on the various websites.  There really is something warm and cozy about this shot.  That little cabin in front of a pond with the warm inviting lights shining.  Kind of makes you want to go in, sit in front of a fire and have a cup of hot cocoa.

How do I know this image works compared to some of my others?   It was my most popular post on Facebook, got a lot of attention on Google +, has done very well on ViewBug, and made a good showing on Flickr.

Getting it right isn’t easy (and who’s to say what’s right anyway).  Its more a matter of connecting with your intended audience.  There are plenty of technically perfect photos out there that suck.  Why?  Usually because they are boring,  don’t draw you in, or lack an emotional connection/mood.

Other than making family memories or snapshots, I try to think more about the “why”  when I’m making a particular image.  What is it about the scene in front of me that is compelling or what is it that makes me want to press that shutter, and share it?  Sorry, its starting to get deep!

In an attempt to illustrate this, here’s a more recent image:
Imperial Beach Pier, Sunset

I made this one on Superbowl Sunday, late in the afternoon on the beach next to the Imperial Beach Pier.  The sun was setting, and the light was starting to fade.  While the sunset itself was just ok, I noticed the cloud formations.  This was the edge of a small storm front that was moving in.  The tide was out, and the clouds were reflecting in the wet sand, almost like a mirror.  I took a lot of shots moving from one side of the pier to the other, trying to capture what I was feeling.  That feeling was one of amazement and awe!  I was amazed at what a beautiful scene was in front of me, and in awe of the size of it.  The sky seemed to go on forever!

Looking at this shot brings me right back to that day, that moment when I was there standing on the beach.  The equipment I used is unimportant.  It could have been anything from a simple point and shoot to a large view camera.  The more important thing was that I had a camera with me and was able to capture the moment, and the mood.

Hopefully this was helpful.  If nothing else, I’m hoping to get you to take a moment, and think about why you’re going to press that shutter.  Who is your audience and how are going to connect with them?  Did you capture the moment and the mood?

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!