Expression, according to an online dictionary, is the action of making known one's thoughts or feelings. In impressionist photography you create an image to communicate to others, using visual language, how you feel about a specific idea or a subject.
True self-expression may be the one aspect of art that is very hard to teach, since it is something that has to be felt and then translated by a photographer into an image. With modern technology anyone can take a good picture, but to create a work of art that appeals to the emotions in the way the photographer intended is much more difficult to do.
The first step to truly learning how to self-express yourself through impressionist photography is, in large part, a matter of learning how to see. You must become a master at observing and feeling the world around you, before you can begin to express it in an image. Also you have to truly know yourself. When creating images it is necessary to engage all the senses. As much as you look around you, look inward into your heart. Be aware of what kind of emotional response you have to each subject or scene.
"You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are. "-- John Green
As humans we are hardwired to visually read emotions. That's what body language is all about. We naturally read the changing shapes of others' faces and instantly understand how they feel. A smile communicates happiness, while a frown communicates sadness. But we read emotions in more than just shapes. We see emotions in colour, texture and size as well. A red face communicates anger or embarrassment. Smooth skin communicates health and youthfulness.
It is not only human appearance that we are able to read. We also have an emotional response to our environment. We are happy when we see the sun; cautious when it is dark
Many scientific studies show that the way things look evokes an emotional reaction. Whether you like it or not, the colours, shapes, textures, and patterns you use in your photographs will strongly influence the way people feel about your images. So you can stop worrying about your images being beautiful and start focusing on emotions, because that is all that matters.
Most of us when photographing a sunset, for example, will reference the scene in front of us with a bank of images that are stored in our brains. Then we will choose one of the standard compositions, techniques and any other tricks that we were taught to use when photographing a sunset. The result will look like everyone else's photograph of a sunset.
When you focus and feel the beauty of the sunset, you can recognize and identify the particular nature of your emotions, and then you will be able to invent the perfect composition and use the appropiate technique to express your emotional response. The resulting image will be entirely original, because it is entirely unique – and yours.
Developing this approach to your image-making process requires a serious effort. This requires that you consciously slow down and look at your world with a keen curiosity. It is like an "eyes wide open" walking meditation. Photograph what you feel, not what you see, and you will see the world in a different way.
Keep in mind that no matter what you do, people will interpret your images based on their own frame of reference. This means that you will never please everyone. So instead of worrying about what your images communicate to others, focus on what they are saying to you. That is what matters most.