Photographers are trained to look at light and understand the mechanics of their cameras to create an excellent technical photograph. But great photographers not only take quality pictures but also tells a story and capture the mood. These photographers convey their impressions of what they are experiencing visually. This kind of self-expression creates an opportunity for impactful photography connecting both the viewer and photographer with emotions.
There are many articles and tutorials on creating a technical sound photo. But what about implementing creativity and emotions into photography? To create visual impact in photography, photographers need a combination of technique, creativity, authenticity, and emotions.
Let me explain this further. If you are scrolling through photos of flowers, you might bypass several that look ordinary, ok, and good enough. But then, you may stumble upon a flower photo that just stops you from scrolling. It pulls you in, and you have to give it more time to absorb the image. Why is that?
Impactful photography has both technical excellence and something more; a rich narrative with meaningful effect. This can be achieved with lighting, composition, color choices, and creative style. But most importantly, this is achieved because the maker revealed a part of themselves in the image. They became vulnerable enough to show a part of who they are visually in their work.
Meaning comes from revealing yourself in your photography. It includes what you think and what you feel. The more thoughts and emotions you put into your work, the more impact this will have on others who witness your photos. Emotions are universal; the more you can emote visually and make your photos more personal, the more broadly you will be able to connect with others.
To bring meaningful awareness to your work, pause and ask yourself how you can reveal yourself more in your photography.
Here is a list of prompts to help bring impact and authentic meaning to your photography.
- Be aware of your mood when you are photographing. If you are having a bad day and out photographing for fun, let your mood, whatever you feel, seep in. So, if you feel off, photograph the flower that isn’t the most beautiful. Maybe you feel more like the wilting one. How would you frame and light this wilting flower to connect with your mood?
- Use light to create a mood. The color of the light, the intensity of the light, and shadows can all create mood in photography. Use light to your advantage to capture a subject or certain feature that would otherwise be an ordinary picture into something extraordinary.
- Respond to something specific inside of you. Utilize design elements such as color, shadow, texture, size, perspective, reflection, leading lines, or lighting to resonate with something inside of you. For example, if you feel bold and bright, focus on color; if you feel withdrawn and melancholy, focus on size. Combine several of these art elements with something inside of you, and you’ll have an image rich with impact.
- Convey a piece of yourself in your photographs. What will make your photo different from anyone else is allowing yourself to come through in your images. You can verbalize to others who you are, but try telling others who you are visually through your work.
Ultimately, you want to create impactful photographs that convey your personality, tone, emotions, techniques, and vision. Allowing these things to mix and add together will create amazing and dynamic, impactful images. It’s about connecting deeply and authentically to the story you’re trying to tell. Whether that story is of a flower, cityscape, portrait, or animal. Be open to reveal yourself in your work, and you’ll have photos that create visual impact.