Capturing Emotion and Dealing With Sensor Spots (Photography Tips)

by SomeGirl on April 12, 2011 · 16 comments

When taking photos of your family or loved ones, try to capture the emotion of the moment.

Have your camera ready, waiting to catch their smile or laughter (or other emotion).

Try to avoid asking them to look at the camera and say, “Cheese!” You’ll enjoy the photos you get much more if you follow that little tip (which I first heard at Blissdom from a SWEET gal from… check out their AWESOME tutorials here!)

Here’s a personal example from this past weekend’s party (haven’t had time to take more photos since then)…

The typical look-at-the-camera-and-say-cheese-to-show-we-were-there-together-and-having-fun photo (which is nice, but not so natural).

I prefer a photo like this that shows what was really going on…

or this one…

or even photos like this, that happen a little too late, but show the joy in the moment at the end of a hug…

Btw, if you have a birthday party coming up, there are some great tips here for photographing birthdays. And see more on capturing emotion with “Lifestyle Photography” here.

On the iStockphoto side of things… I’ve looked around and found a couple of good tutorials for dealing with sensor spots (as mentioned in part 3 of How to Get Accepted at and found these: DSLR Sensor Dust: Prevention and Solutions and How to Remove Dust Spots from Digital Photographs:

They are pretty easy to follow and are written better than I could have done (particularly since I’m super exhausted from our birthday celebration). ;)

Btw, here’s an oldie, but goodie from last summer that you might be interested in… Photography tips I learned from my husband (tips that got me started in the world of photography).

Now, how about you… Have you taken any good photos lately? I’d LOVE to see them! If they’re out on flickr, FB, your blog, wherever… put a link in the comment section below for us all to check out! ♥


Work on capturing emotion this week. Takes LOTS of candid photos, trying not to ask anyone to look at the camera or say cheese (I still have to remind myself of that one). :)




These are some great tips. I’ve been working on avoiding trying to get my son’s attention. It’s pretty useless anyway. He’s always on the move. :)

Here is a link to my flickr:
And the link to my blog-most posts contain photos taken by me:

Love these posts! Thanks. :)


LOVE your photos!! Thanks for sharing them!


BTW, I haven’t taken any istockphoto worthy shots yet. I just got a 50mm, 1.8, which I’m hoping will help with taking sharper photos.


Let me know how you like it. I LOVE mine (it’s all I use these days). :)


Great tips! I try to do this and often succeed… but sometimes I still have to say “Say Cheese” lol. But you are totally right, there’s nothing like an in the moment photo. They eyes tell it all. Wonderful wonderful stories the face tells!


So true. And can you believe I was the one who knelt down next to my littlest one and said, “Honey, take a picture of us… cheese…” Hard habit to break. ;) lol

Cranberry Morning

Okay, I read all those articles and now am posting a photo which has nothing to do with your post today! But I clicked through to all the links and found the information so fascinating. So just imagine that I caught the sign offguard, capturing emotion without the staged smile. :-) Sorry. Photo here.


Haha… I love you, Judy! (even if you don’t follow the rules) ;) Great shot, btw!

Cranberry Morning

oops, that would be the feeder pigs sign, not the cranberry morning header. :-)
thank you for your blog! If there were anyone around here today whose pic I could capture, I would do so. So far, it’s just the dogs and me.


You’re so sweet… thank you for your encouragement!

Btw, you can get some neat pet shots by getting down on their eye level and shooting right at their face… I’ve seen some super cute dog expressions that way. :)

Deb Chitwood

Awesome tips and links! Thanks so much, Michelle! I’m wondering what was used for lighting in the birthday photos, though. They’re all so light and bright! How was that done indoors?


The ISO was set to 1600 and aperture set to 2.8 (using a 50mm lens that goes down to 1.8… called a 50 prime or “low light” lens). Shutter speed was determined automatically since I was using the AV (aperture) mode.

I lightened the photos up just a bit in photoshop, but not much.

Downsizing the photos to 600 pixels for the blog makes the high grain/noise less visible. But in 100% view the photos are very grainy.

It was the middle of the day with lots of lights on and lots of windows, too. :)

Thanks for asking! :)

Deb Chitwood

Thanks, Michelle! I probably need to get a lens that goes down to 1.8. Interesting to know! :)

Betsy at Zen Mama

I do try for a lot of candids. Some work out, great others, not so good. I’ll keep trying! We have a group over tonight so I’ll give it a try!


I’d love to see how it goes!

ali @ an ordinary mom

I’ve been snapping this week… :-)

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: