What do you have in common with Almodovar, Van Gogh and Beethoven?

There is something that a film director like Almodovar, Van Gogh the painter, the composer Beethoven and you have in common. Yes yes, you. You particularly who are reading this. By the end of this article you will understand what I mean. So far we have dedicated many posts to telling how to improve the quality of a photograph, either through light, sharpness, composition, the different lenses and countless other ways. However, all these “resources” remain bland and insipid if you do not use them to transmit something. And no, the lenses, the camera, the light, the sharpness and all the techniques you know do not exist to take photos. They exist to create ideas, transmit messages, provoke feelings. The photo is just the middle. The purpose is to sow an emotion in your photography.

Here I explain some methods with which you can achieve this emotional impact on everyone who looks at your photos. They are just ideas and examples to inspire you. You will see that it is extremely easy, it is free, and the impact you will get in return is tremendous. Go for it.

The lines

Lines can become very important in an image, since they not only lead the gaze by guiding the viewer, but depending on the type of line it is, it will transmit different sensations.

  • Horizontal lines: you can use them to convey a pleasant, calm and stable feeling. This is further emphasized if the frame is horizontal.
  • Vertical lines: you will be able to imprint your image with speed, growth and strength.
  • Diagonal lines: use them if you want to provoke a sensation of movement and dynamism.
  • Curve lines: They will help you convey elegance and softness.

The lines can help you order the image, but also to disorder it, that is, if you want to provoke a feeling of chaos in the viewer, try mixing different types of lines. I don’t know about you, but the following image makes me feel uneasy and restless… That’s not a mistake, it’s probably the emotional impact that the photographer decided to convey. I think he has succeeded.

The color

Color is one of the most studied aspects in relation to this topic. Surely you have heard thousands of times how colors influence our mood. It is used by advertisers, decorators, fashion designers… Surely you tend to dress in one color or another depending on your mood. Well, you can also use them in photography to create a certain impact. In a very summarized way, we are going to see how you can influence with each of the following colors:

We must not forget that a color can have a different effect depending on which other color it is combined with. For example, if we combine a color with black, its positive meaning becomes an opposite meaning.

Convey emotion in photography with the technique

  • If you use black and white you will add more drama to the scene.
  • An unfocused background will bring more prominence to the object or subject in focus and will increase the effect you want to convey.
  • You can bring a lot of dynamism to an image by using a long exposure that creates the feeling of movement.


Another way to convey emotion in photography is to play with the shooting angle. A steep angle (from top to bottom), diminishes the person portrayed, let’s say that, metaphorically speaking, it crushes him. The low angle shot, from bottom to top, produces the opposite effect, exalts the person who is photographing. Look at these two examples:

framing and composition

The way you frame or compose can also change the effect and bring out one emotion or another in the photo. An example is the Law of the gaze, the subject is left more space to the place where the gaze is directed or directed, if you break this rule you can cause just the opposite effect. If you put a subject in a corner with everything else in the image empty, the feeling of loneliness will be overwhelming.

The lighting

The following two images convey two very different sensations thanks to the lighting. The soft light and warm of the first, enhances the positive and joyful feelings of the young woman, while the darkness of the second, that hard light on the girl, enhance the feeling of melancholy and loneliness.

The lighting in high key Y low key It also produces a different emotional impact. Here you have an article by Mario where he explains how.

The type of lens to convey emotion in photography

A wide angle will cause a distance from a nearby object or person, and will also convey a sense of grandeur. A telephoto lens, on the other hand, brings us closer to a distant object, giving us closeness and, in addition, underlining the character of a situation. (Be sure to read this great article on goals).

The subject

In my (humble) opinion, it is the most important element when it comes to conveying emotion in a photograph. I think that an image will have a greater emotional impact if there is a human element in it, mainly because it can make us identify with it and empathize with that person. How the subject is shown in the image and the combination of all the elements that surround it, will be definitive in determining the type of emotion that it will provoke in the viewer.

The type of protagonist will also have a lot to do with it, is it a child, a young person or an old man? Each age transmits a series of sensations, from innocence and tenderness to experience and loneliness.

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic situation, like a photograph of a conflict or a marginal situation, we have seen before some elements that can help us enhance the impact we want to create, now we just have to practice to combine them.

your own emotional state

I have left this section for the end because it is not a technical aspect, it is something personal but it inevitably influences what you will transmit in your photography. No matter how objective we try to be, our state of mind influences our relationships with others, how we face each challenge, each small task. If you are sad, no matter how hard you try to cheer yourself up, surely everything you perceive and catch your attention will be related to sadness and your photos will end up full of melancholy, drama, loneliness or any other related emotion. So if you’re having a sad day, don’t look to photograph something that makes the viewer smile from ear to ear. If you succeed… my most sincere CONGRATULATIONS! In that case you are more than a professional and I am the one who wants you to tell him how you did it!

Think of your favorite movie, your favorite song or piece of music, that painting that makes you happy in the morning. From the moment you define yourself as a photographer (professional, amateur, it doesn’t matter) deep down you are a professional of emotion, like any film director, painter or musical composer. If you are a photographer you are a magician of feelings, a creator of stories and a tamer of psychology. You may not know it but at least you have that power. With each shot you press you are creating an emotion that will infect one, a hundred, or thousands of people. Those who will see your photos.

Enjoy exciting. Thank you for reading this far. If you have enjoyed reading this, please spread it to others by sharing it.