Perfect Imperfection

Cuddly Protection
Cuddly Protection | 2017

This capture of an intimate moment between father and son is not a perfect photograph.

I took this photo late in the evening in a dimly lit street cafe. It was a difficult situation to focus in as there was just not enough light. Aiming and shooting quickly the auto focus did lock on the contrast rich edge of the toy tiger in front of the two main subjects of the photograph, resulting in their faces being thrown out of focus due to the long focal length and the wide open aperture of f/5.6 at the far end of my zoom range.

I took only this one shot, as a second later they changed their posture and that intimate  moment was lost.

Missing the focus makes this technically a failed image. Is it a failed image? I think it is not. A photograph needs to have heart and soul, needs to carry a story. It’s contents over form. A technically flawless photo isn’t any good if it’s missing heart and soul. If you study the work of the masters of Street Photography like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Elliot Erwitt, you find many of their great photography are technically imperfect images. But they carry a strong story.

So my advice is press the shutter when you see something that touches your heart and your emotions and worry about the settings later. Having perfect settings or a perfect focus doesn’t help you when the moment is lost.

The photo was taken with my OM-D E-M1 and the mZuiko 14-150mm F/4.0-5.6 travel zoom, image specs are 1/13 sec @ f/5,6 and ISO 1600, 120mm focal length.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Have a great Wednesday!


Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (8) -Make a portrait of a stranger

Finding your photographic style

Stay Interested !

Have you checked out my learning center for all my photography related tips and inspirations?

25 thoughts on “Perfect Imperfection

Add yours

  1. I love this picture just the way it is. I love the softness of focus of the father and son and that the tiger is illuminated or the message that this image carries. Perfect title: Perfect Imperfection! Love it!

  2. Marcus wonderful image. If you think about it – if you had been using a faster lens the boy and his father would still be out. I’m amazed you were able to get everything sharp at 1/13th sec.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Kirk! I think you are right, my F/2.8 glass wouldn’t have helped much, shooting wide open. The Olympus cams are quite amazing in image stabilization. I do up to 1/8 sec with confidence with the E-M1 and the PEN-F.

  3. Marcus, this is a wonderful image and it was taken from the heart. Sometimes images like this one are more precious than the perfect ones. I like this image very much. It tells a great story.

  4. Marcus, it is beautiful, the way the tiger is sharp and the faces soft, makes it perfect for me. I think if it was all in focus, something would be lost… well done for a quick reaction on capturing such a wonderful image 🙂

  5. For me a photo has to be real (besides having a content etc.). Your photo might not be perfect in a technically way, but it is real and that makes it precious. I also like that – without knowing them – I can see they are father and son.

    Fun fact: I just released a blog post in which I mention – beside others – Elliot Erwitt too. Not Mr. Cartier-Bresson though. 😀


      1. I am sorry to hear. But I can’t figure out the problem. Have you tried clicking on my name? Usually it works.

      2. I’ve just had another go, and it worked….but now I realise my schoolgirl German won’t be sufficient to read your post! Never mind….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Up ↑