I’m not a professional photographer, but I do enjoy capturing my life with photographs. One of my favourite things to capture are my friends and family, preferably candid shots that show their true selves rather than something that’s posed and unnatural. Capturing emotion in photos is really hard though! People tend to tense up, plaster a fake smile on their face and stand their either awkwardly, or in a model kind of pose.
Luckily, there are a few different things you can do to help your peeps relax, so you can capture emotion in photographs.
One thing I’ve noticed time and time again is that when a camera comes out, everyone goes into hiding, or they start acting weird and uncomfortable. The truth is, most people hate getting their picture taken, which is a shame. But if you want to capture your friends’ and family members’ true emotions you’re going to have to be patient.
The first few photos you take will probably look forced or awkward. So be patient. After a while everyone will begin to relax and you will be able to capture emotion with ease.
Talk and Ask Questions
People are generally uncomfortable when they’re in front of a camera (not everyone, but most). That’s why it’s so important to make them feel comfortable and relaxed when you’re trying to capture genuine emotion in your photographs.
Whenever you’re trying to take a picture of someone make sure to talk to them. Talk, talk, talk and ask questions. Make sure to keep the tone of the conversation lined up with the kinds of photos you’re taking. If you want to capture a serious emotion, keep the conversation serious. Or if it’s a fun photo shoot, keep the conversation fun. Etc. etc.
Depending on the kinds of emotions you want to capture, you might have to get a little silly. When I worked in a portrait studio I felt like such a dork whenever I was trying to get people to smile, but once I got over myself and embraced being silly I had a much better time and so did everyone else. A genuine laugh is so much nicer looking than a forced smile, so even if you had to be kind of silly to make them laugh, it will be worth it!
Sometimes it helps to wait for the perfect moment. If people hear your camera clicking away they might notice you and tense up. However, there are times when you shouldn’t wait for the perfect moment but instead just click away. Most of my favourite photos were captured by taking a zillion pictures.
Digital cameras and iPhones can typically hold thousands of photos, so you have the opportunity to take as many pictures as it takes to capture their true emotion. I find the best times to click away are at big events, where people won’t notice you right away. Or if you’re trying to take pictures of kids or animals. They usually won’t notice or care, and they’re fast so you have to take a lot of photos before you can capture them.
Some of the best emotions are captured in-between moments. Always have your camera ready, especially in-between poses. One thing I’ve noticed with my friends, is that soon as they think I’m about to put my camera down they relax, and that’s when I quickly capture them! HA!
Do you enjoy taking photos of people? What are some tricks and tips you use to capture emotion in photographs?