Emotional Content in a Photograph

This photo fits well with the assignment guidelines of depicting War

Guidelines – how well does the image fit the assignment guidelines?

You can take a great photo, but if it doesn’t go with the project’s topic, it won’t stand out.

a photo that tries to show the emotion Lonely

Emotional Quality – what mood / feeling / emotion does the image evoke?

Some, but not all, photos will show a strong emotion. This is a combination of factors: subject matter, print quality, composition, and lighting all working together.

This photo tries to make the viewer consider the issue of Homelessness

Message – What message do you get from the image?

Photojournalists are a type of photographer who want people to get a certain message when looking at their work.


Photojournalist Susanna Raab

The two main aspects of what you see in a painting, drawing, or photograph, are form and content.

Form is what you see. Some examples are:

  • what is in the picture itself;
  • the colors/brightness/contrast chosen by the photographer;
  • the lighting (highlights, shadows, etc) that was used;
  • how the picture is arranged, such as zoom, angle, or overlapping; or
  • cropping: what you can see and what is cut off.

Content is what the image means. Some examples are:

  • your interpretation;
  • how you feel about the image;
  • what you think about when you look at the image;
  • how you think the photographer wants you to feel;
  • what the photographer wants you to notice; or
  • the emotion you get from the image.

Photojournalist Susana Raab has collections of photographs on her website listed under Projects. Choose one Project, look through the images, and write about it in terms of form and content.

A quesiton to get you started: What caught your eye in this Project collection?

Mixing Colors

Will Kemp Art School has a lot of helpful tips for painting with acrylics (which are water based).

image via Will Kemp Art School

It is important to understand the difference between warm and cool colors, but more importantly you must understand how they can work together in your painting and when mixing colors.

This first video is about complementary colors, and how you can use a color’s complement to create different neutral tones (rather than adding black or white):

The second video (below) discusses color biases and how they affect your colors when mixing:


Connor Glassett

Connor is one of my students studying independent digital photography this semester. He gave me permission to share these two images with you.






Connor posed models in different yoga poses and collaged the bodies with animal heads.

The lion’s background starts with a black and white (in the center), and works outward, each layer with a different edit to make the focal point pop.

The fox was placed on the left to balance the image, and on a dark night sky so there was contrast between him and the background.

Valentina Ramos

polaroid camera illustration

Out of Sight by Valentina (Ramos) Harper

I just discovered Valentina Harper (formerly Valentina Ramos) recently. I find her style absolutely gorgeous – the use of ink pens to add detail, texture, and intricate designs while still creating a strong image.

The above image is one of my favorites, for obvious reasons:) but she also has some beautiful drawings of animals and some that I could visualize as a beautiful design printed on fabric.

Check out her work: website | facebook | shop

Cole Rise

One of my students introduced me to the photographer Cole Rise. He has beautiful, simple photographs that often emphasize space. He uses texture layers to give the photos an old, scratchy feel to them, and adds vignetting to darken the corners of the image, helping draw the viewer’s eye to the center of the image.

Vibrance vs. Saturation


What is the difference between changing Vibrance and changing Saturation in Photoshop? This article, written on Digital Photography School (DPS) by British portrait photographer Elizabeth Halford, breaks it down.

Basically, the Vibrance tool is a little smarter because it can recognize which colors are already at a decent saturation, and which ones could be increased a little without going overboard.

Portrait Research

Digital Photography students:

Find 3 different portrait photographers who shoot in digital.

Leave me a comment with the following information for each photographer:

  • Their website
  • Describe what you notice about their editing style (it should be something common to many images… something that creates a ‘feel’ to their work)

Digital Photography – Intro to the Basics

portrait from tg-photography.com

Independent Digital Photography Students: right click, download this photo onto your desktop, and start editing!

Remember to keep the original untouched and to layer all your adjustments on top.

Ethics and Photography

Journalists have to deal with ethics in their work all the time. Some things are considered an ‘ethical’ issue (is it morally ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?), even if it may be legal (the law doesn’t say you can’t do it).

Please read this article regarding a photograph taken of a mourner praying in Newtown, CT and the discussion over ethics and photojournalists. Then come back to my blog and leave me a comment discussing your opinion on the topic. What do you think is appropriate in a situation like this?

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