When is the Exact Moment to Capture the Photo? Learn From Master Henri Cartier Bresson (VIDEO)

Candid street photography is all about timing, and recognizing the precise moment your subject is perfectly positioned in the frame. It’s this ability to press the shutter in a split of a second that results in a great image.

Famed French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson, born in 1908, is revered for his impeccable candid photography, and he became famous for what he called the “Decisive Moment.” In the charming video below, photographer Toma Bonciu uses Bresson’s amazing images to illustrate what makes a great candid photograph.

Bonciu explains that Bresson’s imagery was influenced by his study of painting and drawing. “In Bresson’s photos,” he notes, “you’ll notice the beauty of shapes and geometry.” When Bresson was asked how he made his photographs, he replied, “I don’t know, it’s not important”—implying that a good eye and quick reflexes are more important than f/stops and shutter speeds.

So find a quiet spot and take this eight-minute journey back through time with the master of the decisive moment. You’ll see some iconic images, and learn a lot in the process. There are more helpful tips on Bonciu’s YouTube channel, and in a recent tutorial we posted with eight composition tips for better landscape photography.