Emotions through the Lens

Creative Devices are tools photographers can use to create the best picture possible. Here, I demonstrate the use of 5 different creative devices and how they are used to evoke emotion in pictures.

Most of the pictures used are from the UW conservatory. Check their website here.


Secret Treasures 
Graffiti sprawls under the bridges of Laramie, providing a unique and appealing twist to otherwise hard architecture.

I used framing to draw attention to the unique graffiti. Framing makes use of the already interesting contrast between grey, cold metal and the brightly colored art. The metal beams and dirt below draw viewer’s eyes to the art. Since the graffiti is already colorful, it adds to that Wow! factor.

If the shadows weren’t so bold on the art, color would be another creative device used. As it stands, the red paint has been dulled because of the shadows.


The Awaiting Path
Along the Laramie river is a bike path with beautiful views of the sunset.

Leading lines draws the viewer’s attention down the road and into the sunset. It creates a sense of journey and action in the picture, like the viewer is actually walking down the path to the sunset beyond.

Framing and viewpoint are also seen here. The sunset is framed by the bushes and the road, making it appear bigger than it actually is. The viewpoint is unique because of how close to the ground we are. It makes the road appear bigger and- to an extent- more desolate. It evokes a silent type of awe.


Small and Mighty
A plant with fine hair covering it’s leaves. Water droplets drip from the plant.

When most think of plant they think of smooth, green leaves. Maybe some have a rough exterior. This photo demonstrates texture by revealing the fine hairs that cover the plant’s leaves. It looks almost fuzzy and is at odds with what most people assume a plant is. The curiosity for the unknown makes this photo memorable.

Rule of Thirds can also be seen here. The plant takes up the two right most ‘thirds’. In this case, the rule of thirds simply makes the picture organized and pleasant to look at. There is nothing particularly jarring about the placement of the plant in the photo, so viewer’s attention can remain focused on the strange texture.

Cowboys and Plants
A sculpted cowboy head and plant sit side-by-side in the UW Conservatory


This photograph uses Balancing Elements to give a unique and almost jarring viewpoint on a sculpture. The green plant and bronze sculpture are immensely different from each other, yet they take up the same room on the photo. This produces a strange picture that captures viewer’s attention. The differing aspects balance each other out to create a visually appealing photograph.


The Yellow Beauty 
The UW Conservatory has many deep green plants. This flower is a splash of color.

This flower is an excellent example of color. It stands out against the monotone green with bright yellows and reds. The contrasting colors makes it pop and adds to the depth of yellow and red.


It’s amazing how the little, seemingly mundane things can become extraordinary with the right creative devices. Human emotions play a huge part in the success of a photograph. Creative devices are the tools in which to manipulate them. An empty road becomes a yearning for adventure, or a plant evokes curiosity.

Next time I take pictures, I’ll be sure to focus more on the emotions that the picture is creating and how to use creative devices to manipulate those emotions.

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