Exposure or Expression

There are a few ways that you can improve someone’s experience.

Being a photographer, it’s easy to hide behind the keyboard and behind the lens, but when we start to understand the after a certain point, photographs are all the same thing.

They are just photos, after all. Maybe pieces of shiny photo paper or the image in a frame on the wall, but they are just photos. What those photos represent is the thing that will make the difference in your growth and the clients you bring in.


Many photographers get caught up in their gear. They need the best of the best and the highest quality of every item in their camera bag. Though there is something to be said for high-quality gear, the gear doesn’t make the photos.

We must never forget that the camera, the lights, the tripod, the lenses are only tools. Tools that are necessary, of course, to do what we want to do, but there is an element in each photo that goes beyond that.

Focusing too much on the gear can take away from the very thing that pictures represent- a memory. If you are too busy adjusting your exposure or fine-tuning your aperture, you will miss the special moments of the couple or the person in front of you as they take a break from being “models” and act like real humans.

Only you’re too busy looking down at your camera gear to see it. You are missing the magical expressions.


If we take the time to step out from behind the lens and really see who or what we are photographing, we will start to understand that expression is everything. Mostly in regards to photographers taking images of people.

Photography has grown and changed and been molded into a “less is more” kind of attitude. Take the image so well that with enough editing it will not look edited at all, right? But what if there was a way to make that photo even better? Even more natural?

There is, and the key is expressions.

We have all seen the photos, though few and far between, that stick in our minds. They are of our loved ones, lovers, ourselves, or complete strangers but they give a whole new meaning to the word “natural.”

Photographers have to start aiming for expression, not exposure, to be the spark in a photograph. Of course, some tools and apps can make any photo look like a professional one, but it takes a special moment to make it magical.

The right expression at the right time will allow you to capture raw, natural, and completely honest moments of those you are photographing. And that’s how you create memories.

Turning Exposure into Expression

How do you begin, you might be asking? If making the expressions in the person in the photo is going to give me the best art, how can I do that?

Easy- just talk.

Start conversations and get people to open up. Lots of people actually dread photoshoots. For some reason, they think it will be awkward or uncomfortable or even painful! They get these ideas from people who don’t get good photographers.

From there, the stiffness and rigid poses can be spotted from a mile away.

Make your client laugh, make them think, make them love. Ask them what they love about their spouse. Tell them they are beautiful. Have them talk about their favorite memory. These are just a few ways to get your client to come alive in front of the lens and will give you opportunities to capture their open, raw expressions.

Photographers are true artists but don’t forget that we can capture the beauty we see every day in our lives without a single round of Photoshop.