emotional connection: photo tip

photo tips emotion

As well as thinking about the technical aspects of your photography (aperture, shutter speed, iso etc) make sure you are thinking about the impact your photo has on the people who view it. While it’s important to understand the elements of light and exposure, one thing that makes a great photo is its ability to convey an emotion.

Emotional connection, or conveying a feeling, can be the difference between a snapshot that’s never looked at again and one that becomes a treasured possession.

Here are some tips to help convey emotion and feeling in your photographs.

Tighten the shot

Often an emotion gets lost in a busy scene. Simplify the main subject of the image before pressing the shutter. A wide angle view of kids playing might show the context, which can make a great photo in its own right, but the feel of that play may be best conveyed on the faces of the kids.

Focus on faces, focus on the eyes

This is a fairly straight forward bit of advice that may seem obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway. The face conveys emotion and they say that the eyes are the window to the soul. So if this is where the emotion shows, make sure you focus the viewers attention on the face and the eyes.


Sometimes the emotion of a scene is most obvious in the interactions between two people. Parents and their kids, brothers and sisters, best friends… Capture the small moments of interaction to convey powerful emotions.

Put your camera down and just watch

Put the camera down for a minute. Forget about shooting and just sit and observe. The mood will often become more apparent as you watch and your little subjects will most likely forget you have a camera and relax into natural emotions. Then pick up the camera again and capture those feelings.

What’s your mood?

Your own emotional state can have a large impact on the emotional quality of your photos. If you’re having the “Just not feeling it today” blah day that come and go for all of us, it may very well show in your work. OK snapshots of the kids, but nothing to write home about. Other days you feel like the world is your oyster and you produce images to match. If it’s not happening it may be worth just putting the camera down and trying again another day.

Conveying emotion in photography is a guaranteed way to help your images to connect with those viewing them. Before you hit the shutter release next time, think to yourself, “What emotion am I trying to convey?”


I'm a professional child photographer who loves to share my passion for photography. I am located in the beautiful Sydney, Australia and provide practical and inspirational photography workshops and online tips and tricks for anyone who want to take simply stunning photos of their kids. Come find me on Google+

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