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Phil Douglis | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Forty-Four: Photographing human response – gesture, body language, and expressions tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Gallery Forty-Four: Photographing human response – gesture, body language, and expressions

One of the most important ways to express human values in travel photography is to use the language of the body, gesture, and facial responses to tell the story. Watch the eyes, hands, and arms of your subjects. What do they say? How people hold themselves, how they use personal space, and how they gesture can speak volumes in a photograph. The most effective way to capture human response is to shoot candidly, without posing. Let people be themselves, act naturally and spontaneously, and their movements and expressions will tell you their own stories through their responses. If you must pose a subject, never ask them to strike the pose of your choosing. Instead, allow them to gradually assume positions and expressions that are natural and spontaneous.

Hint: when you are shooting candid responses, a long telephoto lens (400mm) comes in handy. People usually react more spontaneously when you are shooting from a distance. Burst shooting (multiple frames) can work well here as well. You can stand at a distance, hold the shutter button down, and fire a continuous flow of exposures and then select the expressions, gestures and body language that best tell your story.

I begin this gallery on human response with images made in Morocco in December of 2006. I hope to add to it on my upcoming travels as well. I present this gallery in "blog" style. A large thumbnail is displayed for each image, along with a detailed caption explaining how I intended to express my ideas. If you click on the large thumbnail, you can see it in its full size, as well as leave comments and read the comments of others. I hope you will be able to participate in the dialogue. I welcome your comments, suggestions, ideas, and questions, and will be delighted to respond.