The Importance of Emotions in Photography

Ever walked through an art gallery and noticed how people just don’t look at the art and walk away?  

They stand there and ponder over the details in the images: The choice of color, the medium, the depth, and the images captured by the artists. 

 For decades, the world has argued over Mona Lisa and her smile.   

But one thing is clear, the importance of emotion in art—be it a painting on a canvas or photography captured through a lens, is critical in the way it is perceived. 

Research on Emotions in Photography

For years, Tyra Banks tried to bring out the emotions of young girls who wanted to be models in the show ‘America’s Next Top Model.’ 

Girls who failed to bring emotion to the photographs were eliminated and sent home every week. But is there really a science behind this? 

It turns out there is.

One study found that when a photograph was quickly flashed on a screen for only ten milliseconds, it had the power to alter behavior

1. Changes the Emotion of the Viewer 

 Today marketing experts use this concept in advertising and sales all the time to sell products and change the way we feel about these products. 

 A truly happy, beaming child’s face on a McDonald’s happy meal is one such example. It is a powerful true emotion of a happy child captured by the photographer and creates a strong, powerful image that connects with the customer. 

 When you and I look at those children smiling, our brain is tricked into thinking positively about the meal. 

 2. Blink, or you will miss it 

Do you know how fast a camera’s shutter comes down when you click it to take a picture? Raw emotions aren’t easy to capture, especially on birthdays and weddings: A passing glance, a face breaking out into a smile, a father holding back his tears of happiness as he walks his daughter down the aisle. 

 The instant the groom’s face lights up as his bride enters the church in her wedding dress. 

 All these moments carry raw and powerful emotions that you can miss if you blink. But if captured in a photograph can make powerful images. 


3. Evoking emotion 

Do you find yourself smiling after looking at a picture of a baby? Or of parents being reunited with their lost child. For decades powerful photographs have changed the world because they evoke strong emotions. The image communicated how the subjects felt. 

Hiring a photographer who understands this:  

Capturing raw emotions in your photography takes patience, practice, and experience. At Lily Hayes photography, Lily herself understands the powerful emotions behind family, children, and loved ones. She doesn’t intervene and lets you be you. Her experience in covering intimate events has led her to know where to look and anticipate important moments. You can book her for your important event by visiting her website.


Documenting my own children's lives and they're organic way of being day after day, did I truly understand how PRICELESS photographs were. How much I wanted to spend every waking moment documenting their everyday life, before it too, became a faded memory. Soon after that it became an obsession to capture your very own life, and the life you love! :)


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