A photograph has to speak without making a sound. When people look at your work, they don’t just want to admire your technique. They want to feel an emotion on a deep level.
Your lenses, lights, and camera equipment can only capture what you place on your photo set. Your gear cannot produce emotion without the human touch. You have to go beyond your usual tools of the trade if you want to create true connection with your photos.
How you direct your models can make or break your photographs. Everyone can strike a pose – it takes dedication to add meaning to a photograph. Here are some tips to help you take photographs that touch people’s hearts.
Go for authenticity
Being authentic is the important aspect of creating emotion in your photographs. If you try to fake it, people will not be able to connect with your work. You have probably ignored many photos yourself just because they lacked emotional impact.
The easiest way to go about it is just to allow the model to express him or herself. Your job is to guide your model in the right direction.
Of course, you still have to think of the right poses and setting for your photograph. Once you’ve done your bit, make it easy for the model to come out with what he/she feels. The emotion people feel, ultimately, comes from your model’s authentic expression.
Interact with your model
Not knowing what to do is the worst thing that can happen to a model. Constant feedback is necessary if you want to have genuine emotions in your photographs. Even if everything is going well, make sure you keep encouraging the model.
Your instructions need to be as specific as possible. Make it clear if there is something you are not happy with. At the same time, express exactly what you’d like to change. If you have time, ask the model for suggestions. It often takes a team to shoot a great photo, so allow your talent room for contribution.
If you have several subjects, it is crucial that you get them to connect with each other as well. Place your models in a way that lets them interact with each other. Once you create the right chemistry, all you have to do is capture it with your camera.
Relax your models before the shoot
You never know when the magic moment is going to happen. For this reason, you want to take as many photographs as you can during the shoot. As you become more experienced, you may be able to catch special moments faster. In the beginning, it’s a bit of a numbers game.
Depending on your theme, you may want your model to remember real life events from the past. Memories tend to bring emotion to the face and that’s what you want to capture. You can also try to make your model laugh if that fits your desired results.
Some people show examples of past work as a guide for their models. This is a risky practice because models may try to do imitate what they see. As a result, you may end up with contrived expressions. Models may also become more nervous by comparing themselves to the photos your show them.
If you have to use examples, it may be better for you to look at them by yourself, before the shoot. Note down what you want to use and communicate that to your model.
Your own confidence will affect your models’ mood more than anything else. Keep yourself in the right state of mind by planning ahead. You will gain trust when you’re prepared and keep a professional attitude.
Your own attitude is the key to getting the right emotions out of your model. The more open you are, the more comfortable your photo shoot will be. Focus on free and relaxed expression from your model. That’s how you will end up with photographs that create a striking emotional impact.