Try 1x for free
1x is a curated photo gallery where every image have been handpicked for their high quality. With a membership, you can take part in the curation process and also try uploading your own best photos and see if they are good enough to make it all the way.
Right now you get one month for free when signing up for a PRO account. You can cancel anytime without being charged.
Try for free   No thanks
The Decisive Moment

by Editor Lourens Durand
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe
the 4th of May 2022


'Jump, jump!' by janaka

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern photojournalism wrote of the 'Decisive Moment' in photography the moment at which everything is exactly right.

* The story

* A particular moment in time

* The background

* The lighting

* The composition

* The message

* The significance of that moment

This doesn’t happen by chance and, to my mind, involves four essential foundations that a photographer needs to apply to capture that decisive moment:

- Preparation

- Practice

- Anticipation

- Timing

It also applies, not only to PJ but to other areas like nature photography, sports, ballet, adventure and even portraiture.

 involves scouting out the location, knowing your subject, its habitat and movements (in nature photography), where the action is best (in sports photography), understanding how the light changes throughout the day, selecting a suitable background, finding the best angle. You need to know when, where, why and how something is going to happen, and then be in the perfect position to capture the action.
Preparation also involves intimate knowledge of your equipment and to intuitively use the best settings for the situation.

The second important aspect is Practice. Do it repeatedly and often (despite the frequent disappointments that will occur) so that, when the decisive moment happens, you are ready for it and are able to act without hesitation.
Having done all your homework and practised ad nauseum, the next critical element to concentrate on is anticipation, building on your subject knowledge and knowing how it is likely to react, move, or respond to any given situation. In bird photography, for example, you often need to anticipate in advance when a bird is likely to take off from its perch and in which direction it is likely to fly, depending on the wind direction and external triggers. In addition to this type of anticipation, capturing the decisive moment also means expecting the unexpected and being able to take the right action instinctively and instantly.

Lastly, timing is the most critical aspect of capturing THAT moment - the decisive moment of significance.

Sometimes it depends on luck but, by doing these conscious acts of preparation, practice, and anticipation, you make your own luck. You get the shot, pack up and go home knowing that it was all worth it.

Enjoy this selection of Decisive Moments caught by photographers.

Lourens Durand


'Timing' by Caras Ionut



'Bicycle ride' by Bess Hamiti



'Higher' by Tristan Shu



'Allegro' by Hengki Lee



'Flying' by Nuelle Flipse



'G i a d a D u s t' by Marco Petracci



'To play with the nature' by Claudio Moretti



'Launching' by Rob Li



'A Trail of Dust at Sunset' by Kemal Selimovic



n/t by Hilde Ghesquiere



'Stranded' by Gerard Sexton



'The Racing Cows' by Media Hendriko



'It's mine' by Xavier Ortega



'Cheetah family' by Ken Dyball



'migration to the Maasai River' by Jie Fischer



'The Kingfisher' by Petar Sabol



'ZEBRAS' by Juan Luis Duran



'SPLIT' by The Jar – Geir Jartveit



'Full Speed' by Faisal ALnomas



'Mum, Play together' by Hung Tsui



'Splash' by Joan Gil Raga



GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW ;-) by Christopher Schlaf



'Running' by René Heylen



'Look at' by Hamid Mohammad Hossein Zadeh Hashemi



'Vroenhoven Bridge' by Eric Mattheyses



'Curiosity' by Isabel Daniel


Sehr Schön! So beautiful images!
bellissime foto complimenti
amazing photos, thank you for sharing
Super collection of photos and very valuable advice, congratulations to all!
Super, congratulations to all
Brilliant work and very valuable ideas and suggestions, thank you Lourens and all of the outstanding photographers!
Spectacular collection 😍 ⁶
Super!!! Amazing photos!!! Thank you for using one of my photos, I'm honoured!!
Congratulations to all ! Amazing selection !
A fabulous compilation... everything is of great quality: a real pleasure!
An amazing array of images. Congrats!
Grossartige Fotos und ganz toller Bericht! Das gibt es wirklich nur bei 1x!
A unique selection of photographs that can only be found at 1x. Fantastic!
good article, but I am disappointed to see the images start with a composite - stitched from several images cut and pasted together; talking about lightning, background and composition - all achieved in postprocessing by "creative edits"; the image is very, very good - but in my opinion it should not be in a thread about decisive moments.
You are 100% right
I really enjoyed the text of the article, in which you presented the most valuable and instructive points in the field (decisive moment) in the most accurate and in the fewest possible sentences. And also thank you for choosing a photo of me for this beautiful, informative, and valuable article.
Excellent images.. Congratulations to all.