Sunday, February 04, 2007

Feel it. How to get emotion in your images.

The series of articles on using design in photography will continue soon but first I wanted to make an important point about how to get emotion in your images.

When you see something you've got to put the feeling in the image as you are taking it. It is a real challenge for me to try to communicate what I mean here. Perhaps a few examples would help.

A photographer is commissioned to produce an image of a sports car. He looks at it and the sleek lines excite him. His challenge is to convey that feeling of excitement in the image he produces. He has to feel the excitement in order to really put what is in his mind and heart into the final image so that when the viewer sees it they also get excited. He then looks at the trim in the cockpit and admires the fine finish and quality. Now he has to find a way to show that quality to the viewer, using lighting, angles etc.

Another photographer is commissioned to do a portrait of a beautiful woman. She must look at her subject and ask herself how can the beauty I see and feel in this model be transferred to the image? What do I have to do to make her appear in print as beautiful as she can possibly be? Her eyes are lovely. They are her best feature. This has got to be a key element. So the photographer will put what she feels into the image by concentrating on the elements that evoke the feeling she gets and wants to pass onto the viewer.

Yet another photographer is asked to make an image of a chocolate cake. She thinks the cake looks delicious and after a quick taste she is not disappointed. Now she has to capture that delicious taste, the dark, rich, creamy chocolate that dissolves in a myriad of tantalising flavours on the tongue. She has to get that feeling into the image so that when the viewer sees it their mouth also waters.

A landscape photographer stands in awe looking across an amazing vista. He has to somehow convey that feeling of awe in his picture.

The key to all of the above is that the photographer has to really FEEL what they photograph. They have to love their model, delight in the taste of food and stand in awe of the landscape. In another example the thing that makes many war photographers work stand out above the rest is their sense of outrage and horror which they manage to bring across together with empathy. Its what you see in the work of people like Don McCullin. The sheer strength of feeling carries across into the print.

You've got to feel. You've got to be passionate. It's the only way to put heart and soul in your images.

Feel the love,
Paul


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