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The Secret Ingredient of Expressive Impressionist Photography.
21 Apr 2017

The Secret Ingredient of Expressive Impressionist Photography.

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To find interesting images, we often need to look for them – carefully, creatively and thoughtfully. From the choice of subject matter to the use of appropriate techniques, there are many factors that contribute to the success of impressionist photography.  You not only need to master techniques, but also the use of light, colour, lines and shapes. The last essential ingredient that you need, to elevate your images from good to great, is expression. Actually, the fundamental building blocks of images go hand in hand with expression, because they allow the viewer to read and feel the photograph’s mood.

Mood describes the feeling within the image and the effect it has on the viewer. It is what stirs our emotions and provides us with a sense of excitement, contentment, fascination or awe.  A picture that evokes anger or loneliness will look very different from one that evokes joy.

Whatapu Impressionist Image by Eva Polak

To help you start thinking visually about emotions, start with words that describe them. For example, words like soft, warm, colourful, bold, dramatic or delicate all describe moods or feelings. On the other hand, flowers or sunsets are not moods – they are things. However anything can have mood, depending on how it’s photographed.

I believe all images should have some degree of mood.  Sometimes you may even want the mood to be stronger and more important than the subject itself. The expression or feeling in an image tells the viewer what you saw or felt about a particular subject, the thing you found so intriguing that you wanted to capture it in your photograph. If your image can evoke this same emotional response in your viewer that you felt for your subject, then you have a successful image.

[bctt tweet=”When choosing a mood, keep it simple. Pick no more than two descriptions, such as warm and soft, to communicate.” username=”evapolak”]

When choosing a mood or expression, keep it simple. Choose no more than two descriptions, such as cool and bright, to communicate. If you try to photograph the soft light of a breathtakingly colourful sunset, casting bold and dramatic patterns and shadows across the beach and full of textures, you will overwhelm the viewer.

On the beach impressionist image by Eva Polak

Consider the mood that you want to capture first, and then see how it can be expressed in terms of shape, line, colour and light. Consider how you can design the image so that every element plays its part in enhancing the mood.

If you would like to explore mood and create more expressive impressionist photographs, join my online course, The Secret Language of Abstract Photography.