The Peli UK guide to capturing emotions in photography17th November 2018 // Bronya Bouchia
If there’s one thing that transforms a photograph from being just ‘okay’ to something much more special, it’s emotion. Happiness, despair, surprise and sadness are just some of the emotions that can be conveyed through the medium of photography, but just how do photographers capture those emotions through the lens?
Capturing the mood and story in a single shot
Although photography is classed as a visual art, it’s unique in the sense that instead of being solely focused on aesthetics, it tells a story. Capturing the emotion, mood and story in a single, still frame is a skill that photographers hone through years of practice. This is the key to creating truly compelling imagery that speaks to the audience on an almost personal level.
In our guide, we’ve investigated the techniques used by photographers of various styles, which help to elevate a simple snapshot into a stunning piece of art that the audience can connect with.
Extracting the story from a landscape photograph
Landscape photography may not immediately spring to mind when you think about emotive storytelling through photography, but there’s a few techniques that photographers use to make their shots come alive.
Choose a low angle to shoot from
Add a dramatic mood to your shot by ‘shooting from the hip’. Holding the camera lower down can add interest to any landscape image and add an interesting layer to the shot.
Frame the shot more tightly than you would normally
When shooting a vast landscape such as rolling hills or a dramatic mountain range, the autopilot response would be to use a wide-angle lens to capture the sheer magnitude of the landscape. Try tightening the frame and compare the results - you might be surprised how this slight difference in method can change the mood of the shot.
Take a few moments to really ‘see’ the landscape
Don’t get caught up in setting up your kit or balancing your tripod. Take a few moments to truly absorb the sounds, smells and sights before shooting. You may find you can channel the mood and story of the landscape much more easily.
If you’re looking for more information, then visit our landscape photography hub for even more tips and advice from the experts.
Capturing genuine emotions in street photography
The sights and sounds of our streets are a melting pot of emotion, but this can make it tricky for street photographers to separate the interesting stories from the surrounding hustle and bustle. From layering shots, to simply walking more slowly than usual, read on for our tips on how to shoot attention-grabbing street photography.
Look out for contrasting elements
Try mixing old with young, happy with sad or new with old, to add lots of contrasting layers to your shots.
Leave something to the imagination
Some of the best street photography leaves the story unfinished. As well as deciding what to include within the frame, a good tip is to decide what to leave out, too. This can help to add an element of mystery to your street photography narrative.
Be prepared to play the waiting game
Find a location with a background you find interesting and simply wait for people to enter the frame. This way, you’re guaranteed to have an interesting backdrop to all of your street photography shots.
If you’re interested in finding out more about street photography, take a look at our hub page. It’s full of great tips and advice for budding street photographers.
Telling the stories of the unheard with photojournalism
Photojournalism captures the stories of the unheard using a range of unique and powerful storytelling techniques. These specific techniques capture the story and convey the full impact of an event in a single frame. From raising awareness of global issues to showcasing evidence of positive growth and political change, photojournalism is unique in the way that it conveys emotion to its audience.
If you’re a budding photojournalists looking for ways to elevate your shots, we have a few tips listed below:
Lock-in your settings
A photojournalistic moment can be lost in the blink of an eye, so make sure you have your camera primed and ready for the critical moment.
Explore multiple angles for an emotion rich shot
A scene shot from one angle may tell a completely different story to another. Don’t be afraid to move around and explore the different aspects of any event that you’re capturing.
Do your research and narrate the story in your mind
Visualising the story in your mind will centre your thoughts and help you to capture a shot that illustrates the wider issues in any event. Do your research, read up on your subject and you’ll be prepared to tell the full depth of the story.
Photojournalism is an ever-evolving photography niche, so if you’re looking for more expert advice, take a look at the photojournalism section on our photography hub.
Protecting your camera equipment on the go
Whatever your photography specialism is, you’ll need to transport your delicate and expensive equipment at some point.
Whether you’re shooting landscapes in the UK or travelling to a remote corner of the planet to capture some stunning street photography images, you’ll need to keep your camera equipment safe from bumps, scratches and moisture. Our range of hard camera cases are a great choice if you’re looking for the best protection for your camera equipment.