How to Photograph the Moment

A quiet moment in a chapel in Paris, France. This image employs light, shape and color to explore mood.

I’ve written previously about the beauty of Paris. It’s a delightful city, particularly when you consider its size and population. Being surrounded by so much art and beautiful architecture you’ll begin to feel as though you are moving through a living museum.

Yet, for all it’s grandness, it’s the quiet, peaceful moments that I remember most from my two short trips, thus far, to Paris.

Composition: A Definition

Composition can be defined as the organization of individual elements within a scene so as to create a pleasing or harmonious result.

In the case of old churches and public buildings, much of the work has already been done for us photographers. And for that we should be thankful. All praise the genius of the architect.

The above photo was made in a small chapel with natural lighting. It’s an attractive scene with an arch-shaped architectural element providing a frame that draws the eye towards the stain glass window which, itself, is inset within an even more gentle-shaped stone window frame.

While the shapes and textures within the scene suggest that it would have made a pleasing black-and-white image it was the pattern of colored light falling onto the foreground, as much as the colors within the stain glass window, that determined the final outcome.

Watching and Waiting

After setting up my tripod and composing the scene I noticed the light coming through the stain glass window on the right hand side of the frame. The intensity of the colors reaching the floor varied, from moment to moment, as the sun peaked in and out from behind cloud cover. After quite some time I made a photo with which I was happy. I love the way that splash of colored light refers to the colors within the stain glass window at the back of the frame.

A Tip that Matters

If there was a simple, yet powerful tip I could share with you today it would be to move away from the crowds, wherever possible, so as to seek out quiet, intimate moments such as this one. You can still photograph all the iconic locations and buildings along the way, but it’s these more personal experiences, much like the people you meet, that will likely become your most pleasing memories.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru