All photographs, images and text are copyright Paul Ligas Photography Limited 2020.

Photography Tip: Tension


[Originally posted 17 December 2010. Minor edits and updates]

Bringing out tension in the composition and/or cropping of an image can make or break a photograph. Tension can be brought out of action or inaction and is our emotional response to what our eyes are showing us. Tension in an image makes us ask questions: what’s around the corner; what are they looking at? It makes our imagination work to fill in the gaps in the narrative.

In this image, taken at a wedding, I was struck by how these two women and the girl were moving and a quick photograph captured that movement. The post-process cropping and the composition added to the tension making it look fluid, almost a dance.

The lesson is, don’t stop when you’ve taken your photograph – the post-processing work you do, even on something as simple as cropping, can lift a photograph far beyond what your camera originally captured.

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This image belongs to a series of photographs examining movement and emotion from a perspective adults rarely experience.

About the photographer

The Photographer SmallPaul Ligas is a professional commercial photographer based in Herefordshire, working across the Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the UK. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and connect on LinkedIn.