Tips for Capturing Emotion in Photographs

Hello! I know I haven't posted on the days I designated to, but I have continued to post twice a week and that is enought for me at the moment. Hopefully y'all feel the same. It's been a hectic month, training in new positions at work, but I've found this blog to be somewhat theraputic.  

Let's get on to today's topic! Capturing emotion in photographs is not as easy as you would think it is. It's especially difficult when your subject does not like to be photographed or is heavily aware they are being photographed. Like child, adults have a "cheese face"... That's only natural considering we develop that fake smile during childhood in our school pictures. Being behind the camera, you want to avoid that and make people feel relaxed and comfortable. I have created some tips and tricks to help avoid fake emotion in photographs... 

1. Warm Up The Subject(s)

Most people need time to warm up in front of the camera. The photographer should take some time in the beginning of the photo session to loosen the subject up, especially when they are not comfortable. Take a couple extra minutes and let the subject warm up. I usually tell people to breathe a little and make silly faces. In these moments, I get to know know my subject's movements and angles and they get comfortable. Win-win!

2. Ask Questions

Get to know your subject! Asked lots of questions, it makes them open up, thus connecting you to your subject. Have a conversation. Ask about their hobbies, friends, family, daily lives, Let down your walls too; it creates a stronger bond between photographer and subject. 

3. Compliment

Complementing; a little bit goes a long way! Complement outfits, hair, etc. You already know your subject is beautiful, let them know too. Validation is huge when it comes to makes people come alive. 

4. Provide a Memorable Experience

As a photographer, it is difficult to find a balance between making real emotive images and the perfectly posed/lit/happy smiley images; especially while knowing the happy smiley images will be preferred by the client. A piece of me wants a perfectly composed photograph, but I also want to be experimental. I do both. A few things that can make a session more enjoyale include: Have families share personal stories and memories, if you personally know the family you can do the same. Be imaginative with kids, or bring assistants to play with the kids while you set up (vise versa). Looks at the surrounding and frame/light the subject before engaging with them.  

5. Watch For In-Between Moments

When you pause to talk to your subject, don't put your camera completely down. Chance are you will catch a real emotion or laugh. I always keep my eye out for making faces or parents talking to children/couples engaging. These are my favorite photographs most of the time, and theirs too. 

Hopefully this helps, whether you are a parent trying to get better photos of your children or a budding photographer.  

Until next time!

XO, Shelby Bell