As a photographer, it is important to consider spontaneity as much as the composition of the final image. To satisfy both these, it is good to be ready with your equipment at all times. Finer adjustments may need to come later by way of computer software, rather than miss the opportunity of a shot you might wait a lifetime to capture again, but there are things we can do to ensure the best possible results at the time.
So, the answer to the question is a mixture of both. It is good to react quickly to capture the shot nobody else is likely to have, and also to think about the final image before you end up with it. For this reason, photographers will snap lots of photographs in quick succession. So, let us think about this technique and other solutions so that we can cope with that unexpected shot when it suddenly arrives. We can then be as prepared as possible for it.
The majority of SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras will have a continuous shooting mode that will allow you to take photographs close to one another not to miss any action when taking stills. Rates will generally be between 3 and 8 frames per second.
If using a smartphone, not to miss the perfect image, then these can have a built-in camera app that allows for multiple shots to be taken. You will need to open the app and then keep holding the shutter button down until this then automatically activates Burst Mode, which will click multiple photographs until which time that you release the button. This means that if it is a pet you are photographing, for example, the slightest movement of the head can be captured until the cutest doggy pose is obtained for the pet’s owner, or you if it is your pet.
Very high-end cameras, such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II will be capable of 14 frames per second with full autofocus if you decide on that much technology. Features, as well as lens quality, will put up the cost of buying a camera. So, only buy the level you need to have for your photography requirements. Particularly if you are trying to make a living out of what perhaps started as an absorbing hobby you became good at.
The use of tripods will help in maintaining an exact position where the subject is likely to be or appear. It is used a lot with wildlife photography, when photographers may also be hidden under canvas with just a peep-hole for the lens to capture the shot. It is important not to cough at the wrong moment, of course, as a wildlife photographer. Animals are so easily spooked and are then never likely to provide you with the perfect calendar image.
Tripods have the advantage of being stable and portable. You need to make sure that the fittings on the top of it correspond to your particular camera, though, although the majority of them have standard fixings. Different heights and angles will allow for the perfect positioning of the anticipated or known shots. It is good not to have to hold onto your camera and can be worth the effort of carrying a tripod around until needed. Its use will prevent a blurred image, particularly where a zoom lens is being used. The slightest camera shake with those will blur an image and make it look like just a blob, and it can be hard to keep a camera still in high winds.
Camera straps will not only ensure that you do not drop your valuable camera and the lens attached to it (which can be more expensive than the camera to buy) but mean that your camera is always to hand when a shot comes along.
When looking for a good camera strap you might also find it called a sling or carrier. Generally, though, they will be defined as where you fix them. So, you can get neck straps, shoulder straps, or wrist straps. Even harnesses to cope with heavier equipment.
Good camera straps will be manufactured from either nylon or leather. You might, however, occasionally find them made out of other materials such as neoprene. This is a comfortable and softer alternative. Some straps will advertise the brand of the camera, which is useful because it generally means that it has come supplied with the camera at no extra cost. In lots of cases, though, it will have to be paid for as an extra accessory from a camera stockist.
In conclusion, it is easier to make snap decisions as a photographer when you are ready for the perfect shot in the first place. Nobody wants to take a bad image because we had to take it quickly. So, some ways might be to have the facility to take multiple shots in the hope that one of them will capture the perfect shot, to have a tripod that is effectively lying in wait for the action, or to invest in a camera strap that keeps your camera close by.