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Tips for Capturing Genuine Emotion in Your Photos

Tips for Capturing Genuine Emotion in Your Photos

Table of Contents

Images were always capable of communicating volumes without ever speaking a single word. The ones capable of engaging spectators on an emotional level seemed to hold the most value. Sure, it’s always good to convey what you want to say in an engaging visual manner. But, if you want to click with the audience on a deeper, more profound level and your photos need to be pained by profound, genuine emotions.

That being said, emotions tend to be quite elusive, and capturing them in your photos can turn out to be a daunting task.

Well, let’s see if we can make this situation a bit easier with these couple of simple tips.

Leverage natural surroundings and satiations

No matter whether you are creating marketing images or trying to capture some important personal moments, your photos will be effective only if your subjects appear natural. Do your best then to make them feel more comfortable by putting them in natural surroundings and situations they find familiar. Let’s take for example wedding photos. If the couple doesn’t like to play piano, don’t insist on the generic staged piano photos. Let the subjects do what they actually like and you will see emotions shining through.

Don’t give your subjects too many directions

Essentially, people freely express their genuine emotions when they are able to do the thing they like, the way they like it. Therefore, when you are staging your photos don’t fall into the trap of giving the subjects too many directions. Sure, some suggestions are more than welcome. But, once you are done, let the people you are shooting perform these tasks in the way they find natural and have fun with them. Your goal is to be invisible and allow the subjects to forget you are there for as much as possible.

Choose the right equipment

The better the equipment, the more able you will be to capture some small but endearing details like the sparkle in their eyes or subtle smile. So, in this case, aim for the best. For example, the latest-gen professional Nikon camera range will give you a lot of good options to choose from. Also, be sure to always have the best lens for the occasion. If you want to shoot a passionate kiss against the dramatic open sky, be sure to always keep your wide lens close by and know how to quickly replace the units.

Choose the right equipment

Learn how to anticipate the emotional moments

This one takes a healthy dose of experience but some basic psychology won’t harm you either. Try then to anticipate the emotional moments and the situations that usually cause some emotional response. For example, a pet jumping into the owner’s embrace is usually followed by a burst of joy. Partner’s small remark or throwaway whisper can provoke a beautiful and warm smile. If you observe how people around you behave when they think they are not watched you will pick up a lot of small cues that are followed by genuine emotions.

Focus on the subject’s eyes

And when you sense the emotional moments are coming, never stop shooting (continuous shooting mode will make this job much easier). You see, even when subjects are trying to maintain a façade like a false grin, their eyes are capable of communicating a true wealth of different emotions like surprise, love, fear, affection, and countless others. And all that in only a couple of seconds. Therefore, if you want to capture real emotions, you need to know where to look. The eyes do make a great starting point.

Learn how to read and appreciate subtler moments

Emotional photos don’t necessarily entail dramatic emotional outbursts. Some feelings run deep and if you want to pick them up you need to learn how to look underneath the surface. In this case, you can also practice with people around you or even celebrities. Actors like Al Pacino were famous for being able to convey deep emotions with subtle physical and facial gestures. Introvert people make another good example. Learning to read their moods can give you a wealth of rich emotions to explore. 

We hope these six tips will make your future shooting efforts easier and help you to capture the real emotions your subjects want to get. The most important thing to remember is that sincere emotional moments can’t be forced. So, your role is to act more like a director, or even better an observer, take a backseat, and allow the subjects to do the things on their own terms. From this point on, you will know where to look for frank feelings.

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