Capturing emotion in your photos 6/20/17

By Lara Strydom, SNPA intern
They say a picture says a thousand words. And that is ultimately the challenge with photojournalism: finding a picture that can tell the story before the audience even reads the article. Thus, capturing the true emotion behind a photo is an essential part of telling the story, according to two-time SNPA Photo contest winner, Stephen Thornton. He is a former photographer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock.

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"One of my great college professors said it this way, 'Don't show me what somebody does, but show me how somebody feels about what they do.' That's kind of my mantra," Thornton said. "I don't want to show people building a garden, I want to show how people feel building the garden. I want to try to convey their thoughts and emotion, their mental drive about their project. I want to show that visually."

But finding the emotion that conveys the true depths of a story is not always easy. One of the greatest obstacles photojournalists face is creating photos that don't look posed. The key to avoiding that and creating a natural feel lies in making sure that the subject is able to feel comfortable.

"At some point they'll trust you to be in the room, and long enough to where they forget that you're there," Thornton said. "That's always a magical moment for me: when I realize that nobody is attending to the big city newspaper photographer anymore, but they're just going on about their life." MORE

Saturday is deadline for Photo/Video Contest entries 3/10/17

Daily and non-daily newspapers are encouraged to honor the outstanding work that their photographers do by entering their work in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association's 2017 Photo/Video Contest. The contest is sponsored by Second Street.

Your best photographers can win cash prizes and earn recognition!

Entries will be accepted through June 24.

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