Jamie C.


A Smile, a Laugh- Capturing Emotions In Photography


Crying Tears of Joy

A contagious smile is a real thing, and the emotion you capture in your photographs is a what your viewer feels when they view your work. Emotion is perhaps one of the biggest aspects of the story you're telling. Since you are limited to the visual sense to get your point across, you want to pack what you can into your photos to reach out to your viewers. Capturing emotions will give your work the edge it needs.

Here's the thing though- its not just about what you see on someone's face. The furrow of a brow can tell a lot, but so can a wide shot of a breathtaking location, or a yellow hue around a person. There's so many ways to draw feeling into a picture, from both your subject and the area around them. Today, we'll go over some things that will really give your work that extra sense of compassion.


1, 2, 3 Smile!

The most obvious way to approach emotions is through including facial expressions and bodily gestures. A couple with a frown and perhaps raised arms can indicate a heated argument and evoke concern or curiosity in the viewer. On the other hand, two otters holding hands floating down the stream may drive feelings of warmth adoration. There are simply some physical attributes that are universal and can be beneficial to the message of your image. 


Far and Wide

Similarly, you can use landscape to achieve emotions. While there are no active human emotions that are captured in these images, you can very much still bring in a feeling of awe with some fascinating sights. One of the best ways to achieve this is by capturing the grandness or peril of an area. This can be done by adjusting the zoom of your camera, angle of your shot, and proportions of the image. For example, a shot down the edge of a cliff or in the middle of the ocean can really bring out just how amazing these natural features are, ,while also inducing a sense of fear of just how small we are in comparison to them. A grand image of the world we live in as a wonderful way to connect humanity with a sense or belonging or adventure. 


Green with Envy, Red With Anger

Why do we associate red with danger, but green with nature and health? This is due to something called color theory- which is utilized to help understand how we incorporate colors into our lives. This also goes for lighting. Different lighting (and effectively, colors) can create different moods within your image. Depending on what you're trying to achieve, colors and lighting can be your strongest allies. This is the equivalent of going to a fancy restaurant, where the lighting tends to be dimmer, and there is usually a cohesive mix of darker or warmer colors to set up the more romantic and upscale mood. It is also important to keep in mind, however, that colors can have different cultural meanings. What works in one setting may not work in another. Ultimately, when used strategically, color can truly enhance the feeling you are trying to portray in your photos. 


Special Effects to Change It Up

One last tip is to use the features of your camera such as the shutter speed, exposure, and focus. These features usually change the lighting, sharpness, and overall feel of images taken. Adjustments to these functions can create hazy, dreamy images to represent memories or imaginative scenarios. This can make the image seem nostalgic. Depend on how you change things up, it can pinpoint the hustle of a certain setting, whether you use it to capture moving lights or to include motion blur. A busy street or cars would go great with this method, perhaps to show the life that bubbles in the area or the power of the car. 


Overall, incorporating emotion into your photography is a great way to challenge yourself as well as to add interest into your work. It'll give you a reason to work with others or even travel a little.