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A photograph that has the power to evoke an emotional response has the greatest impact on the viewer, and in my personal opinion, is what we should all be striving for no matter what genre of photography is pursued.

There are many aspects of composition that help stir a persons emotions, and each has it's own unique energy and mood depending on the subject matter and tonal quality.

Colour, light, tonal contrast, texture, detail, atmosphere, clouds and motion are among the many elements that can contribute to evoking emotion in a photograph.

There are several basic emotions - love, joy, surprise, sadness, anger and fear. Combinations of these, along with additional stimuli, help create all of the subtle nuances we feel. We all have many different emotional responses to various stimuli that result in us simply being either happy, or unhappy, and its the same with a photograph.

One of the most important factors in evoking emotion in a photo is being in touch with those emotions yourself.

How can you do this? Well, to start with don't try to work a scene too quickly. If you find you aren't feeling the emotion, take a few minutes to slow down and become absorbed by the vista before you. This is where assembling your tripod can assist you. Treat this almost as a time for meditation.

This is a process that can be practiced wherever you are, whether or not you have a camera in your hand. Take notice of whatever it is that attracts your eye and triggers an emotion. Notice what type of emotion you are sensing. Go further and feel where it affects your body, and how. Then notice whether there are any other features in the view that affect the composition and that mood.

I am in the lucky position where I have been invited to discuss and demonstrate how to pull the emotion out of your images in Photoshop to the Whanganui Camera Club using basic techniques in a couple of weeks. Following this workshop, I will be presenting a more advanced version of this to members of the Photographic Society of New Zealand. I'm both excited and grateful to have been approached to pass my knowledge on. Thank you!

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