HOW CAN CREATE EMOTIONS WITH YOUR PHOTOS?
The best photography you can do is to create emotions. So when you take a photo, you should be thinking about how your photo can create some kind of emotion. How can the viewer connect with your photo?
So when you take a photo of a sunset, what emotion comes to the viewer? A puppy brings out an emotion as well. When you see a photo of a child, what emotion does that bring? And the list goes on.
First, let’s give you the basic list of emotions:
- Anger: resentment, irritation, frustration;
- Fear: apprehension, overwhelmed, threatened, scared;
- Pain: sad, lonely, hurt, pity;
- Joy: hopeful, elated, happy, excitement
- Passion: enthusiasm, desire, zest;
- Love: affection, tenderness, compassion, warmth;
- Shame: embarrassment, humble, exposed;
- Guilt: regretful, contrite, and remorseful
IDENTIFY YOUR MOOD BEFORE SHOOTING:
If you are taking photos of people, keep in mind that the mood can be created by the photographer – yes that’s you! When you head out with your camera, ask yourself: How am I feeling today? Is my mood going to alter your photo shoot? If you are interacting with people, will you alter their mood? So figure out how you need to change your mood for something real positive.
After all, it’s tough to infuse an image with an emotion that you aren’t feeling. If you’re over the moon with happiness, you’ll struggle to find sad or bleak compositions. And if you’re down in the dumps, creating awe-inspiring or uplifting images won’t be easy.
So start by identifying your emotions. Look for compositions that align with those feelings.
At the same time, it’s often worth rechecking your feelings periodically throughout your photoshoot. Depending on the view, the light, chance encounters, etc., emotions can change, and you don’t want to miss out on emotionally resonant shots because you’re searching for the wrong thing.
Always remember that it is tough to infuse an image with emotions, if you aren’t feeling it either. And it works both ways. If you are trying to create something negative or down in the dumps, it will be hard to create that photo if you are feeling happy.
SIMPLIFY THE SHOT:
In wide, busy, expansive scenes, emotions often get lost. Yes, the emotion might be there, but the viewer will have a hard time noticing – the image may fall a bit flat, at least from an emotional point of view.
So if you’re looking to create emotional photography, consider simplifying the shot. Elements that might show in the photo, watch out for those so you don’t distract from a great emotional photo. Also, make sure you concentrate on the emotion created. All these things will make for a great emotional photo.
Use a telephoto lens if you do this, so you can focus in on just the subject and not have any distractions surrounding the subject.
FOCUS ON FACES
A word of caution: Make sure you don’t just rush up to the subject and start snapping photos. That is just something that will kill a good photo. Be polite, and stay back while taking these photos. To help in this, try using your zoom lens, or a telephoto lens so you don’t get obtrusive.
A final piece of advice: Don’t encourage your subjects toward specific emotions. If they’re feeling sad, take a sad photo; if they’re feeling happy, take a happy photo; if they’re feeling tired, take a tired photo…You get the idea. Yes, it’s good to head into a scene with specific feelings in mind, but you must be adaptable, depending on the content of the scene.
SET YOUR CAMERA DOWN AND OBSERVE:
Something I like to do when I take scenery photos, is to pause, and look around to see if I am missing anything. Do the same thing when trying to figure out the mood. Put your camera down and look around at the mood in the room.
These questions only take a minute or two, but they’ll help you identify new, emotionally resonant compositions, plus they might clarify your ideas about a scene and show you the way forward.
RETURN TO THE SAME SCENES OFTEN:
Scenes look different on different days, and your feelings are different on different days, too.
Take advantage of that fact.
If you’re shooting a subject that you can return to, then do it. The street or beach or room or person will have a different feel on different days, especially if you’re photographing outdoors and the weather changes often.
Make sure when you go back to a location, make sure you do so with an open mind. Plan on it being different than before. Act as if the scene is the first time you have seen this.
In order to get the emotional photo you want, it takes two people to have emotions. The photographer, and the subject. Look at what you can do to change you to help out, and also spend some time with your subject to find out what is going on in their life.
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