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Monday, February 27, 2012

Emotionally Challenged Photography

Showing emotion in your photographs.

It is impossible to consistently guess what emotion your viewer will connect with when looking at a photograph or piece of art. In addition to that, your own mood at the time you are taking the photograph can be reflected in your work. Try to think about what emotion you are trying to convey with your photo.

While wide, sweeping horizons and impressive panoramic photos can be breathtakingly gorgeous, the real emotion usually lies in the fine details and personal space of the scene. Kids playing in a park and having fun is ok, but try to get more personal and get close enough to show their faces and their emotions. Keep the photo simple and try to avoid a lot of clutter so that the viewer can easily see the main subject of your photo. A wide angle shot of the destruction and mayhem on a street filled with scrambling frightened people while military troops pursue them is great at setting the stage. To grasp the full emotion of what is happening, tighter shots of the faces of the soldiers and/or people's faces will more clearly define the chaos of the scene.

Consider the angle that you are shooting the photograph from. Perspective can go a long way to conveying the emotion that you are going for. Getting down low and shooting up towards the subject gives the subject a more towering and powerful feel, while doing the opposite and shooting down towards your subject tends to minimimize it. Getting yourself level with the subject, especially when photographing kids, prevents you from consistently have shots that seem to tower over the subject. Take a moment to consider your angles and perspective when your are taking the photo.

If it is practical, try taking part in the action for awhile. Get to know the subject or activity a bit better and you will have a better understanding of what you are trying to convey in your photo.

Don't forget about post processing. You can change up the lighting and add contrast and saturation to your photos. You can also take time to crop the photo for best effect.

You may be surprised, but setting your camera to black and white (or even just your view finder if that is possible on your camera) and taking photos like that for awhile. When you should in black and white, the scene is not all cluttered with colors and your eye can concentrate on the contrast, composition, and subject.

One piece of advice that I read years ago was given by a teacher to his students. He actually assigned to them to find a place to take a picture and then to photograph that exact same place at like 4 different times throughout the day. The lighting changes constantly and can affect the mood of the scene in your photo.

Here are some inspirational photo links for you to browse that set the mood and/or show emotion:

And I just HAD to share this one, definitely see the emotion here. Feel sorry for him but it is just so darn cute!

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