When I first started my journey as a photographer... I was new. Well that's not obvious is it?! But I was also new in the sense of what I saw when I was culling through images at the end of each session. I was looking for the exposure to be right, their eyes not to be shut and, well, my clients not to be blurry. If I had those, I was doing pretty good! As time passed, my photography evolved - more than anything else, experience was teaching me the lessons that I had been trying to learn in theory for way to long. Theory is just that, theory until it's tested... it's true in science, it's true in those crime shows I watch and it's true in photography. More and more I began to understand lighting and posing and framing. With each new session under my belt, I gained a better understanding of how to bring it all together. But the final element of my photography was recognizing and capturing expression. I'm not alone on this. For many, it seems that the last piece to fall into place is expression. Today, I consider expression to be the most important element in any photograph that I capture (with the understanding that it's exposed and lit properly). I'm constantly looking for how to bring out more expression and more personality from my clients. I believe that expression trumps it all... Trumps Posing. Trumps Background. Trumps Props. Trumps Wardrobe. Trumps Location. ... They all come second to expression. Every time an image really grabs me, it's because I can feel the emotion. Test the theory... the next time you're blog hopping over to one of your favorite photographer's sites, really pay attention to the expression. If you can't feel the emotion, then the photograph is missing its heart beat. Emotion doesn't have to be all smiles either. It can be sadness, contemplation, frustration, anger, silliness, sadness, joy and a million other feelings in-between. But emotion must be there. If you're wondering what you can do to bring your photgoraphy up a notch, go through your portfolio and judge it based only by expression. Remove all the images that don't quite have "it" and replace them with your best work that really captures the heart beat of your clients!
What do you think? Does expression play that large of a roll?