Tips and Tricks for “Creative” Hand Photography

Hands that paint, create music or work. Hands that write, greet, stretch out or protect each other, hands that speak, protest or keep quiet, hands that kiss or push you away… A portrait of hands can tell you more about a person than an image of their entire body. The hands with their wrinkles, their scars, their poses, their decorations are a whole world with an explosive load of information and emotions. Perhaps the person is silent, but his hands will tell us what he feels, what he needs and even how much he has suffered. A hand can make a dumb person speak, a deaf person listen or silence an entire class with a simple gesture, invite us to come closer or “send us far away”. After the face, I dare to affirm that this part of the body is the most communicative and the most striking when photographing, both for its beauty and for its symbology and expressiveness.

If you agree with everything I just told you and you are attracted to this topic, keep reading, this post is for you.

Symbology of the hands

The hands have a strong symbology in many religions, currents or pagan beliefs. But the most widespread is its meaning in non-verbal language and also what may interest us most in this article. Here are some of the most well-known meanings:

  • This universal symbol can have several meanings, although the best known is “ok”, to indicate that everything is correct, in some countries it can refer to homosexuality or something null.
  • The “V” sign, with the palm facing out, means victory, while with the palm facing in, it is an obscene gesture.
  • Palms up and open: honesty, sincerity. Palms down: dominant position and sometimes little honesty.
  • The hand covering the mouth suggests lying or lack of sincerity.
  • Biting your nails or tapping your fingers against the table shows insecurity and restlessness.
  • The fingertips of both hands together, show a high degree of self-confidence and security, when you think about something up and when you listen, down.
  • Closed hand pointing with the finger: usually indicates a dominant and somewhat aggressive position.
  • Hands crossed behind the back show great self-confidence and a dominant position. While if what we take are the dolls we will be betraying insecurity and restlessness.
  • Crossing your arms leaving your thumbs out or putting your hands in your pockets with them out also means dominance and power, since the thumbs represent strength of character.
  • In a handshake: vertical hands signal equality. One above means domain, control, and below, submission, modesty.
  • Crossed arms are understood as a defensive attitude.

Next I will give you some tips to photograph not only the hands, but what they want to tell us. In addition, I bring you a lot of examples and inspiring photographs of this part of the body that we love so much.

play with light

You can get mainly two effects just with light management. On the one hand, if the hands are the part of the photo where the light falls, you will enhance their prominence and will arouse the viewer’s interest even more. On the other hand, you can use soft light or hard light depending on what you want to convey. A soft light will help you communicate softer moods, tenderness, innocence, love… while a hard light will provide more drama.

Use a very small depth of field

Work with a wide diaphragm opening so that by blurring the background you eliminate other distractions and focus only on what the hands want to tell us or on the effect you want to create.

Include hands in your portraits

The portraits gain strength and communicate much more if the hands appear, they can transmit reflection, shyness, boredom, shame, sadness, joy… The same facial expression, with a gesture of the hands, will say much more.

Look at these two examples. In the first image, the man’s face is barely visible, however his hands convey everything he feels in a much more original portrait.

In this second photograph, the hand that hides part of the girl’s face only highlights her gaze and her expression. Surely, without that hand, the portrait would have been somewhat bland.

Tell stories with your hands

Try to tell some story through a hand gesture, create intrigue. Look at this photograph, do not you wonder what he is looking at? What’s on the other side of the window? What does the owner of that curious hand feel right now?

transmit sensations

We have already commented that we can transmit feelings, but… have you thought that you can also transmit sensations? The touch of soft skin, something rough or fluffy, the sensation of lightness or heaviness…

manicured hands

It is not the same as wanting to tell the experience of working hands in the fields, with their hardness and the dirt typical of work, as photographing the hand of a mother (or father) caressing that of their baby, or hands that They offer flowers or simply make a gesture, or even if it is for a professional assignment in which they ask for beautiful hands, in these cases, make sure that the hands, and their nails, are well cared for, clean and hydrated, otherwise you will they can spoil a beautiful picture.

To finish, I give you some ideas For you to take it as a game, they are small challenges that will help you practice with hand photography and thus learn that, of course, it is our main objective 😉 . In each of the challenges I give you an example so that you can finish inspiring yourself and do not forget that, in any case, the hands portrayed must express and communicate something.

1. Photograph hands of different ages: you can make a series of male hands and another series of female hands, from a baby to an old man.

2. Creative hands: in this case I propose a series of hands creating, that is, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, sculpting, working with clay…

3. Cooking hands: in the middle of cooking, kneading, cutting… any action that seems striking to you. Here you can play a lot with light or colors.

4. Portraits with hands: we have already discussed that the hands in a portrait provide information and strength. Practice this trick with someone close to you.

5. Hands in contact: of two lovers, of a mother and a son, two brother children… hands that show affection, trust or that transmit any other feeling when in contact.

6. Photograph hands that tell something about the subject’s personality or culture.

7. Use your imagination and create your own challenges. Try photographing the hands from different angles and in different positions to get the most striking pose and remember that the back is usually more attractive than the palms.

Here are some varied examples:

Hey, before you run out to photograph the hands that are put in front of you, which I’m sure is what you want right now, like or share, others will thank you 😉 . Thank you!