Before We Begin

To make a successful photos, you have to realize why you take photos: it is not only to record a memory but to remember your emotions. You too can understand what emotions are and how to capture and share them with your photos. I designed a 6-step method to learn photography with your feelings rather than cold technique.

The Shooting: the 2nd level of the 6 photographic techniques to capture and share emotions in your photos

 

If you have not read it yet, start with:

What is Shooting?

In my method, shooting is the choice of your camera and its lens, the handling of your camera and the technical settings made on it that will lead to capture an image and  affect its content. Attention, do not confuse shooting and composition: the composition is the layout of the subject in the photo.

With shooting, we find all the conventional settings of digital photography:

  • The size of the sensor that defines its surface
  • The resolution of the sensor that defines the number of megapixels composing the image
  • The focal length of the lens
  • The focus distance to make sharp a specific part of the subject
  • The exposure time of the sensor to light
  • The aperture of the lens diaphragm that modulates the amount and direction of light that will reach the sensor
  • The sensitivity of the sensor to the light expressed in ISO unit
  • The stability or the movement of the camera body: photo taken by hand or on a tripod
  • The optical stability of the lens or sensor: if your camera has this type of stabilization
  • The image file format: JPEG or raw file

And in the case of JPEG images because of the internal processing done by your camera:

  • The white balance that will determine what should be white in the image
  • The contrast between highlight and dark tones
  • The color saturation and the color space (sRGB, AdobeRGB, P3)
  • The sharpening level that enhances small details in the image
  • The compression level that drives the image file size

The 6 Combinations of Shooting Parameters That Matter for Emotions

Before we start, let’s have a quick reminder about emotions and how to model them. The theory of emotions from Plutchik recognizes 8 primary emotions and combinations of those primary ones.

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions
Plutchik’s wheel of emotions models 48 possible emotions thanks to the primary, secondary and tertiary dyads which are combinations of the 8 primary emotions © Amaury Descours

Let’s see now how combinations of shooting parameters can drive emotions.

1. Exposure Parameters

Exposure time, aperture and ISO sensitivity have a direct effect on the exposure, and therefore on the general tone of the picture: normal, dark (underexposed) or bright (overexposed).

An underexposed photo may evoke emotions like anger, fear, sadness or disgust.

An overexposed photo can evoke emotions like joy, confidence, anticipation.

Discover how the exposure is an enabler to develop the tonality of your photo and convey emotions. Read this article:

Develop Your Photo Tonality For Underlining Your Emotions

Develop Your Photo Tonality For Underlining Your Emotions

2. Still or in Motion Parameters

The exposure time, the stability or the movement of the camera, the optical stability have a direct effect on what is still or in motion.

A photo that perfectly freezes a jumping person can express joy.

A photo that captures the movements of a running back person may evoke fear if she seems to flee.

3. Field of View Parameters

The focal length has a direct effect on the field of view (how large you can see in front of you). The field of view intervenes in the framing possibilities for your composition: tight framing or wide framing.

A wide angle for a landscape photo can evoke curiosity (confidence + surprise) from its immensity.

A narrow angle of view allows you to enlarge your subject and bring out the emotions of your photo.

The field of view is an enabler for the composition technique of the perspective effect, ie. the exaggerated magnification of the foreground vs the background.

4. Depth of Field Parameters

Sensor size, focal length, focusing distance and aperture have a direct effect on the depth of field, ie. sharp areas and blurry areas in the image depth.

Find out why use the depth of field, what emotions you can convey in this article:

Depth of Field and Your Emotions: Why Soft and Sharp Focus Reinforce Your Photo

Depth of Field and Your Emotions: Why Soft and Sharp Focus Reinforce Your Photo

Then practice the depth of field by choosing the right photo gear and the correct shooting parameters in this article:

 Get a Beautiful Background Blur: the 5 and 1 Secrets of Depth of Field

Get a Beautiful Background Blur: the 5 and 1 Secrets of Depth of Field

5. Limiting Parameters for Development

The size of the sensor and its influence on the dynamic range (capacity for recording the very bright and very dark tones of the scene), the JPEG constraint which imposes white balance, contrast, saturation, compression, color space have a direct effect on the limits of development.

Strengthening emotions with some development techniques could be tricky without degrading the quality of the image.

To keep the largest possible freedom and maximize the quality of the processed photo, consider switching to the RAW format if provided by your camera.

Discover the key development techniques that reveals your emotions in these articles:

Global Tonality, Local Tone and Your Emotions: 2 Photo Development Techniques To Know

Global Tonality, Local Tone and Your Emotions: 2 Photo Development Techniques To Know

 

Contrast Your Photo for Moving: Choosing The Right Development To Intensify Your Emotions

Contrast Your Photo for Moving: Choosing The Right Development To Intensify Your Emotions

 

Develop The Colors Of Your Photos: Your Emotions Stimulated With 5 Techniques

Develop The Colors Of Your Photos: Your Emotions Stimulated With 5 Techniques

6. Limiting Parameters for Enlargement

The resolution of the sensor, the size of the sensor and its influence on the digital noise, the sharpening and the compression of the image will have a direct effect on the possibilities of enlargement in photo printing, and thus intervene in your choice of presentation.

A photo in giant format will be immersive and increase vastly the emotions expressed.

But if the picture is too noisy, the sharpness accentuated too much or the artefacts of a too-agressive JPEG compression too visible, the defects of the image will have a negative effect on the emotions expressed by the photo.

Let’s Recap!

In the end, shooting may appear extraordinarily complex with the 16 parameters that we have just listed. But this a false complexity! The number of parameters is finite and the combinations that really produce effects on the emotions are actually reduced to 6 shooting techniques:

  1. Field of view
  2. Depth of field
  3. Exposure
  4. Still / In Motion
  5. Development lattitudes
  6. Enlargement capacity

What Do You Think?

Have you a better understanding of the parameters of your camera and their impact? Do combinations of shooting parameters make sense to express your emotions? Leave me your comment, I will answer with pleasure.

Let’s Go On Together!

Learn how to learn how to photograph with my 6-step method to make your photos first with your emotions. An intuitive approach that does not drown you with techniques, but focus on you and what you are feeling!

Explore the different steps of my method:

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