woman open arms while closed eyes smiling photo
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

One of the skills that is important in photography, at least if you want to be good in photography, is to convey emotions or feelings in your photos.

Have you ever gone to an art exhibit, or a photo exhibit and while looking at the image, you get that feeling of joy, or sad, or even depressed? That is the skill of the artist. Conveying feelings in a photo involves learning how you are feeling first, and then conveying that in your photos.

1- Find out what your mood is first

The emotional state of the photographer – that’s you! – has the largest impact on the emotional quality of your photos.

So whenever you head out with your camera, before you take a single shot, or even look for a shot, ask yourself: How am I feeling today? Then let that emotion guide your shooting, and channel it into your photos.

person standing near lake
Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.com

When you look at the scene around you, think: “it is difficult to create happy photos, when I don’t feel happy”. As you look at your photos over the years, a lot of times you can look at the photos you took, and realize that the reason they look that way was because you felt happy, or sad, or depressed, or energetic, or whatever. Your photography will often resemble the mood you are in.

Sometimes, your emotional state might simply be “bored” or “bleh.” That’s okay; it happens to the best of us. When I look back through my travel photos, I’ll notice a dip in quality, and it often corresponds to my feelings at the time. On days like these, you might consider leaving your camera behind, watching a movie, or doing something creative that doesn’t pressure you to take powerful, emotional shots.

And don’t worry. Your boredom will pass, and pretty soon you’ll feel excited about photography again!

2- Simplify your photo:

If you’re looking to create emotional photography, consider simplifying the shot. Exclude elements from your frame. Choose a perspective that highlights a single area of interest, not the entire scene.

green wooden window on white concrete wall
Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

When simplifying your photo, maybe use your telephoto or zoom lens so that you can just highlight the subject without having distracting elements around them. This is a good time for “negative spacing” type photos (see: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/01/understanding-negative-space/ ).

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3- Focus on faces:

The faces are the main thing that shows feelings. They can show happy, sad, mad, content, anger, etc. And the eyes are the window to the soul. When taking photos of faces, try to see what the emotion is of the person, and reflect it in the photo.

collage photo of woman
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A word of caution, however: Do not rush up with your lens, thrust it into a person’s field of view, and snap a shot, especially if they’re feeling emotional. Instead, be respectful. Whenever possible, ask permission, especially if you don’t know the person. (I often just raise my eyebrows while pointing at my camera, and it works great.)

4- Return to the same place repeatedly:

See how much each scene reflects a different feeling.

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 you return to a location with an open mind. Don’t expect certain feelings, or you might be disappointed. Instead, clarify your emotions, then pretend you’re seeing the scene for the first time.


Take your time as you take photos, and either try to create a photo that reflects how you feel, or if taking a portrait, reflect how they feel, by taking the time and find out the feelings of you or them.


Photo by Joren Aranas on Unsplash – This photo was found on the free photo website: “Unsplash” where photographers share their photos and just looking for some recognition. I am glad to recognize this amazing black and white photo.
Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash — What makes this photo so amazing, is that we have all see something like this in color. But, in black and white, it’s even more dramatic. How perfect the exposure is as well. Shows off what light there is very well.
Photo by Jack Chamberlin —- Jack is one of my favorite photographers. On Facebook, he is always putting on some amazing black and white photos. Interesting enough is that he uses infrared technology to create the black and whites that he does. The contrast that infrared puts out is amazing, but, Jack has truly made this an art. He is one that you could follow on Facebook. Just go to: https://www.facebook.com/jack.chamberlin.10
This is another amazing photo from Jack Chamberlin. He titles this photo “Dragon Landings”. I love the sepia tone he put to this photo, and it makes the cut to be in our annual exhibit.
Photo by Andrew Whitmore —– To get some really sharp black and white photos, you certainly can’t go wrong with photos of architecture. Actually, I went through a lot of architectural photos before I selected one, and this one from Andrew Whitmore one best black and white architectural photo.
Photo by Drew Hays —— I don’t normally pick many portraits as a great black and white photo, but, there were a lot of portraits this time that are just winning black and white portraits. The exposure, the use of light, all that is what makes this photo a great photo / portrait.

In case you missed it, I did an article titled: “Reasons to Try Black and White”. If you haven’t taken any or only a few black and white photos, go to: https://wordpress.com/post/123photogo.com/26109 and read this great article about black and white making a big comeback, and why.

Photo by Everton Vila – With this dark background and the white wedding dress, this seemed to be a natural to be a great black and white photo. No face showing with this, just a beautiful dress, and accentuated with the dark background. Truly a winning photo.
Photo by Geran De Kler for Unsplash —- As I looked at this photo, I actually had a hard time seeing this in color. It’s like the cat just came out of the dark to come and attack you. What a great photos of a battle-torn leopard.
Photo by Gian D – How dare I take a flower and award it as a winner in a black and white exhibit. Yup! I did it. The fun thing about this photo is that it is just starkly beautiful without color, and now it leaves you guessing what color it is.
Photo by Gift Habeshaw —– Here is another portrait, and I think it is actually a self portrait, I could be wrong, but, I was impressed with how careful he was with the lighting. And especially to highlight the hair like he did, truly makes this a great portrait / black and white winning photo.
Photo by Glen Carrie — We have had a few real dark photos above, and now this one that comes out really light. This is one of those photos that does amazingly well with “negative space”. I think this is just a classy photo and I can see this one hanging on a wall.

Want to see last years winning black and white photos? I have a special page we post these winning photos for 1 year. So, these photos are about to be taken down from the main menu page. But, until January 15th, 2022, these photos will be on display, and then removed so these photos will go in it’s place. Go to: https://123photogo.com/gallery-end-of-2020/ to see more amazing black and white photos.

Photo by Jakub Kolesa – from Unsplash —— Winter can be such a great time to do black and white photos. The snow white covering and the dark wood on the trees, makes it an easy job. Love the composition on this photo. The fog and mist makes it even a better photo.
Photo by Joakim Honkasalo – When we get into the night photos, capturing the light is an amazing way to make it happen. This is called “Seeing the light” or “seeing the Art”. Well done photo. By the way, if this was taken with color, the lighting would have a real weird color. Black and white was definitely the choice here.
Photo by Jorge Salvador – —- – Another great photo of a tree with the mist or fog in the background. It just tends to blur out the background so nicely that it makes the tree look like it’s having a portrait done.
Photo by Nathan Duimeo —– I didn’t see a title to this photo, but, I would probably title it: “Working Hands”. And with this being in black and white, makes these hands look more dirty, more worn, etc. Black and white makes this photo work so well. Perfect choice to do this in black and white.

Did you know that black and white is becoming so popular that there are 2 camera manufactures making a camera that strictly shoots in black and white? You have to read about this: go to: https://wordpress.com/post/123photogo.com/26521

Photo by Paolo Aguilar – For Unsplash —– I don’t know if this photo was taken a hundred years ago or just recently. And that is the beauty of this photo. To recreate a photo just like it was a hundred years ago, when all there was, was black and white. A beautiful portrait of a newlywed couple, this photo does amazingly well for creating the perfect black and white photo.
Photo by Shahin Kahalji —– This photo was my first pick to go in this gallery today. The exposure on this photo was so perfect. A lot of times when photos of people are done in black and white, their skin tones are white. And this one has a beautiful gray tone in which to give it the look of a perfect exposure. So, this is one amazing portrait.
Photo by Simon Lohmann —– I don’t know where this is, but, it is some amazing architecture of some place that has amazing shaped buildings. And that makes it look so good this way. A mighty nice capture of abstract shapes.
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adventure asia backlit bicycle
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

LEARN TO BE STILL! In our continuing series using thoughts from Ken Lee, I came across this idea. When you get ready to take a photo, take the time to be still and learn to listen. Sometimes the perfect photo comes only after you have had a chance to meditate and think about the photo you are about to create.

Read today’s thought carefully and learn what he is trying to teach us:

Photo and thought by Ken Lee

There are many great photographers who take photos but not until they take the time to think, to meditate about the subject, and to then put it in to practice of what the art piece is they want to create.

landscape photo of city skyline at winter
Photo by Vishal Shah on Pexels.com

If you are not practiced at meditation, becoming an artist should create that in you if you want to become a great photographer.

If you want to learn more about a particular photo subject, then use this search bar below and see all the different blogs I have done on that subject. There is almost 1600 blogs I have done about photography, and all of them are different.


snow wood dawn landscape
Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Pexels.com

To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!

This is probably the hardest part of my process to describe. Hiking in the highlands, I am privileged to have access to some amazing landscapes,; as I walk through them I am overwhelmed by options. This makes it hard to identify when I see a truly special scene, since it can be drowned out by choice. However, I can increase my awareness by asking myself a question every time I raise the viewfinder to my eye: “Why do I feed the need to photograph this scene?” It kicks starts a little bit of dialogue in my head. Once I’ve answered that question it naturally leads to others:

  • What should I include in the frame to support my rationale for taking the photo?
  • What should I leave out?

In many cases, this discussion takes place in a matter of seconds as I scan the image in my viewfinder. Often it results in a mental image of the photo I want to take. This part of my process isn’t limited to when I am actually in the landscapes I love photographing. I may get a feeling about a photo I want to take when I am reviewing images from a previous shoot, or I might see something completely unrelated that sparks an idea for a photograph.

green and brown mountains beside river under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Martin Portas on Pexels.com

Once I’ve got a reason for taking the photo—and hopefully have a mental image or at least a general mood I want to capture in the photo—it’s time to really look at the scene before me.

  • What elements support the mood?
  • What elements stand out in that mental image?
  • What can I do to accentuate those elements?

The next step is to identify what elements could distract the viewer. Can they be eliminated without changing the image’s mood? This is where I actually start shooting, by taking some ‘sketch’ shots and reviewing them on the LCD.

a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery
Photo by S Migaj on Pexels.com


Based on my ‘sketch’ shots I then identify the key elements in my composition. I also have an idea of what elements I want to leave out or minimize. Now that the content is nailed, I need to decide on the exposure, and I may adjust my depth of field based on what I want to include or exclude. Since depth of field is controlled by aperture, that will influence my overall exposure—I generally try to expose to the right without clipping the highlights. I may take a couple more ‘sketch’ shots to fine tune my settings. I use the LCD to zoom in and verify my focus and check the histogram and blinkies to ensure I’ve not lost any critical detail.

snowy forest
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


Finally, I combine everything I’ve learned in the previous steps to take my final image. I verify my exposure settings, focus point, and composition. Then I press the shutter. I close my eyes for a minute and dive in to the mental image I had of the image I wanted to take. Then I return to the final image and try to gauge whether I’ve got a chance of processing it into the image in my head. If I think I’ve got a good chance, I take a marker image—a pure black image of the lens cap—to indicate that the previous image is my master. I’ll then go back and delete as many of my sketch shots as necessary to speed up import and processing later. Just be careful if you do this; I’ve been dumb enough to delete my final image by accident! The A7 has the option to protect an image, which I do frequently use to make cleaning up sketch shots easier and safer.

About the AuthorRobert Keith, a photographer of five years, is originally from South Africa but now lives in Scotland. He loves landscape and macro photography. He’s lucky enough to live on the borders of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, so he’s spoiled with beautiful vistas to photograph.
For more of the work that Robert Keith has done… go to his website at:


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: The Best of Nature :

photo of mountain under cloudy sky
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

When we think about the subject “Nature”, just what does that entail? That is what will make this collection of photos so cool, is that it encompasses things like scenery, close-ups, animals, things that are unique with the earth, or things we only notice with a macro lens, and many wonderful things not created by man. Let’s take a look at this week’s collection of winning photography:

scenic view of snow capped mountains during night
Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com
a man wearing red jacket doing peace sign
Photo by Michael Block on Pexels.com
brown mountain covered with clouds
Photo by Nick Wehrli on Pexels.com
Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash ——– The bloom of a philodendron prince of orange plant against a dark background. This was only meant to be a picture for my fiancée to share and I accidentally made art.
Photo by Caitlin James on Unsplash
domestic horses grazing in paddock in mountains
Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com
silhouette of tree under half moon
Photo by Adrian Lang on Pexels.com
Photo by Mark Olsen on Unsplash

123PhotoGo Presents: a whole new website for photographers who only use their cell phones to take pictures. And that is a big group of people. Join us, if you want to be involved in more photography, more information, more hands-on information about smartphone photography. Go to : www.smartphonesmartphotographer.com

Photo by Jeanette on Twitter
Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo by Suzi Eszterhas /naturepl.com
Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash
Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash
shallow focus photo of pink and brown jellyfish
Photo by Pawel Kalisinski on Pexels.com
rocky coast and mountains during daytime
Photo by ArtHouse Studio on Pexels.com
lightning strikes
Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

nature animal park birds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
close up photo of blue flower
Photo by Gilberto Olimpio on Pexels.com
abstract blur branch christmas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com