What makes a photo memorable? Is it the lighting? The mood? The angle? Sure, all of those things are important. But! What. You. Really. Need. Is… impeccable timing! In fact, timing and rhythm are what great photos and wonderful comedy have in common. Without them, no technical know-how will save your work from falling flat on its face.
Fortunately, the world’s full of quality photographers who, either through skilled reflexes or sheer luck, take a snap at the right moment and capture a hilarious moment. Upvote your favorite perfectly timed funny pics as you scroll through this list compiled by the hard-working Bored Panda team and let us know which pics you loved the most and why in the comments.
By the way, you’ll find some more amazing photos that were timed so right you’d think the Universe was directly involved in our posts right here, here, as well as here. It was actually French photography legend (and our personal idol) Henri Cartier-Bresson who coined the term ‘decisive moment’ which is the point at which the photo is most significant.
Bored Panda wanted to learn more about the importance of timing in both photography and comedy, so we reached out to professional photographer Dominic Sberna. Have a read through what he said below. Psst, he's also got some advice for amateur photographers who constantly find themselves missing out on hilarious moments.
Booped By Floppy Fren
This Cat Assembling Itself
According to photographer Dominic, timing is a "valued asset and skill" to some degree in the hierarchy of all the things important to a photographer. But it might not be the main thing, depending on the style of photography. "Planning out a shot or scene (depending on your style) takes time and planning. Composition is probably the most important in my mind though. One doesn't have to necessarily follow the rules of composition, but how a photo is laid out is going to make or break a photo. Some of the best photos in the world don't necessarily follow the rules of composition because their layout is made that much better by breaking them in a way that challenges the norm," he explained.
Dominic stressed that the style of photography we prefer to shoot will determine just how important timing is to us. "In sports photography, it's the timing of the shutter being clicked to capture that perfect moment. In landscape photography, more times than not, a photographer has planned an exact time to be at a specific location. In nature photography, it's a bit of both, as well as a bit of luck thrown into that one to see that special animal you're looking for."
This Diving Photo I Took Of My Friend Makes It Look She's Doing A Handstand On Water
Caught This Incredible Exploding Meteor When I Went To Rattlesnake Lake In Washington, USA Last Weekend. Zoom In To See The Exact Moment It Explodes In Two
Slipped And Fell While Photographing A Wedding Party. Snapped A Pic On The Way Down
"Timing means something different to everyone, but it is of utmost importance at the end of the day. Some will say it's luck, some will say it's skill, but at the end of the day, I truly believe it is a bit of both combined with experience and the ability to learn from your previous work," the photographer told Bored Panda.
According to Dominic, if you ever find yourself constantly missing out on taking the perfect comic snaps, you have to keep trying until you improve, just like with any other skill. "Unless you know a hilarious moment is coming by recognizing that it's about to happen, is that it's a matter of just trying. Keep trying and it'll pay off eventually. Maybe not as fast as you would like it to, but like anything, if you work at it enough, it will come to you in time." So grab that camera or phone and keep at it, Pandas.
My Girlfriend And Her Friends Tried To Take A Group Photo, Alfie Wanted To Be In It As Well
Attempted To Take A Cute Picture Of Me And My Dog. This Was The Result
“We work in unison with movement as though it were a presentiment on the way in which life itself unfolds. But inside movement there is one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance. Photography must seize upon this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it,” Cartier-Bresson wrote in the preface of his photobook, ‘The Decisive Moment.’
For him, a meaningful photograph lies at the intersection of deliberate composition and instinctively feeling when we should take the picture.
“Sometimes it happens that you stall, delay, wait for something to happen. Sometimes you have the feeling that here are all the makings of a picture—except for just one thing that seems to be missing. But what one thing? Perhaps someone suddenly walks into your range of view. You follow his progress through the viewfinder. You wait and wait, and then finally you press the button—and you depart with the feeling (though you don’t know why) that you’ve really got something. Later, to substantiate this, you can take a print of this picture, trace it on the geometric figures which come up under analysis, and you’ll observe that, if the shutter was released at the decisive moment, you have instinctively fixed a geometric pattern without which the photograph would have been both formless and lifeless,” writes photography grandmaster Cartier-Bresson.
At A Bonfire. Wife Instructs Me To Hold My One Year Old Son High To Get A "Cool Shot". I Think It Looks Like I'm About To Sacrifice Him
Lightning Striking Simultaneously On Chicago's Three Tallest Buildings
Taking grandmaster photographer Cartier-Bresson's words to heart, we can see that what makes a hilarious photo, well, hilarious, is a mix between skill and luck. The photographer might not be controlling the outcome or all of the circumstances, but they’re consistently out in the field, using their reflexes and listening to their instincts that conspire to make them take the photo at the right moment. Right when things are most decisive and powerful.
Just like in photography, timing means a lot in comedy as well. Just imagine blurting out the punchline to a joke before your audience even had time to absorb the wind-up. Or the opposite: revealing the punchline once all the tension and anticipation has already evaporated.
The same applies to comic photos. A second too early or too late and the humor is gone or the entire tone of the image shifts.
This Man Saved Our Dog. You Can See Our Cat Jumping Out The Window
My Wife Just Texted Me This Picture Of Our Cat Playing Behind The TV
My Father’s Chair Failing At A Coast Guard Change Of Command
Picture Taken Of Woman Falling Before She Realizes She Is Falling
The Timing Of This Image Makes It Look Like My Nephew Is A Waterbender
I Snapped This Photo Of A Cardinal Jumping And It Looks Like He Is Floating
This Picture I Took Of My Dogs As The Ball Was Being Thrown
Caught My Crow Buddy Mid-Blink, Making Her Look Very Sinister
She Kicked The Phone Out Of My Hands At Exactly The Right Moment
My Friend's Dog Sneaking It's Tongue Into His Mouth While He Was Laughing
This Picture My Wife Captured At The Perfect Moment Of Our Cats
I Photographed A White Stag Mid Sneeze
Girl Scratches Her Back And It Looks Like A Horror Movie
Just A Typical Family Photo With Our Furbabies
It Has Since Moved
I Had Just Finished Saying “I Can’t Believe She Never Falls In!”
The Lid Coming Off Jonah Hills's Drink
"The internet has been very interested in this photo of me dropping my coffee. But we’re all forgetting the real tragedy here. We’re forgetting to mourn this coffee. I didn’t know it long but damn was our time together special. As fleeting as it was. I’ll never forget you."