Photography Tips: Using the Power of Suggestion
Photographer and blogger Kelle Hampton offers easy tips on how to take creative photos that don't give too much away, but suggests that there is more than what meets the eye.
A Typical Photo
This photo is a great example of a typical photo one might take. It’s literal in that it’s posed and expected—two kids smiling with the Easter Bunny. You don’t really feel any emotion or implication that there is a story behind this photo.
This photo, on the other hand, captures the same scene but more creatively. A blurred glimpse of the Easter Bunny and the back of the girls’ heads suggests more of a story. One is left to imagine the magic of the rest of the scene. What were the girls feeling?
Take pictures of shadows. In this shot, I went to take a picture of my daughter and her pal and noticed their perfect shadows, a more interesting perspective because it suggests the theme of friendship while leaving one wanting to know more.
Using reflections in photos is another great way to suggest image elements. By shooting into a South Beach store window, you can still see me and the stroller, but you also pick up the Miami vibe of the fountain in the background and the store interior.
Think about your story-telling when capturing a scene. Here I wanted to portray the calm and happiness of a particular morning on a camping trip. By focusing on my coffee cup, while including the blurred background, suggested the campfire scene I was enjoying.
Get creative with your angles. While picking oranges with my daughters, my youngest was sleeping in a baby-carrier, so I couldn’t take the shot I had in mind—all of us within the orange grove scene. Enter overhand self-portrait (orange bucket included).
Effectively crop your photos to add interest and specifically showcase one particular element. I wanted to convey how little my girl was in this shot, and by cropping out part of her body and only including her stretched tippy toes, the photo becomes memorable.
I take a lot of photos that include my feet because it suggests my presence and adds another element to a one-dimensional photo. Here, this simple image of my daughter standing just developed into a story—that of a mother’s love and a baby’s need to feel her presence.
It might take a little thought to capture a story-telling image, but the result is a photo that evokes emotion, a photographer’s great aspiration. Always leave a little to the imagination when framing a shot, without giving too much away.
Kelle Hampton is a mom, photographer, blogger, and author who lives in sunny Florida. To learn more about her, visit Enjoying the Small Things.
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