Nico Harold nicoharoldphotography.com



If you have read some of my previous post you will notice that I wrote a lot of “gesture” words. Gesture itself means the use and posture and bodily movements. 

Indonesia, 2018

Gesture has really a strong presence in photograph. It is easily attract human eyes to notice gesture first before other elements inside photo. Gesture will create sense of movement and stronger story line from main subject’s activity.

Without gesture, this photo would become a boring shadow shoot. Indonesia, 2018

Gesture lead audience’s mind to imagine an active action that help to understand story about subject. Audience will see images as if “moving”, therefore easier to imagine an action about where subject heading to/from or what they about to do or what they just did. Gesture is a dynamic activity (opposite of static activity).

There are few important keys to shoot moving gesture:

Legs: Triangle form

Indonesia, 2018

Could be the mandatory gesture when we shoot people while they are walking. Triangle form created by moving leg will strongly create dynamic effect into our images. When subject about to enter our frame, try to count their step (like: one, two, one, two, and so on) and click camera shutter right at the widest step.

Singapore, 2017

Extra tips: Find an ascendant place or someone who using high heels, because they will move their leg in more unique shape. Not to mention high heels have triangle form too.

Hand gesture: Create a story line

Indonesia, 2018

I believe hand gesture able to create the most variation of stories compare to other human’s body parts. People use hands (and fingers) to do plenty of things everyday, therefore pay more attention to them.

Indonesia, 2018

As normal human, we do almost all of our daily activities with hands. Realize it or not, when we see a photo our eyes automatically attract more to other people’s hands to predict their action. Like in the photo above, we have some elements like contrast colours, shadows, a lonely girl, and blue sky. But, my imagination will start to “read” story line from that boy’s hand gesture (like he was telling a story to his friend).

Freedom of being kids. Indonesia, 2018

This is the main reason why gesture can lead to create stronger story line: Gesture will “force” audience to use their imagination to predict what story that already happened or would happened inside our photo.

Eye contact

Means the action of looking directly into one another’s eyes.

Singapore, 2017

Yes, eye contact is part of gesture as well. Eye contact will create a certain “pressure” to viewers that able to build more connection between them and subjects in our photo.

If she did not look sharply to my camera, then this would be a boring photograph. Indonesia, 2018.

Eye contact make audiences feel watched by other person, create slight “uncomfortable feeling” that feels like somebody paying extra attention to them. Eye contact help our subjects look more alive. (Can you imagine Mona Lisa painting without eye contact?)

Eye contact plus hand gesture. Indonesia, 2018

Eyes are window to the soul (William Shakespeare). Eye contact alone might not create story line as much as hand gesture, however, we always can find a creative way to blend them together to create more dynamic look image.

Facial expression

Australia, 2018

Try to find strong facial expression. Be it happy, sad, angry, full of courage, desperate, etc. Determine the story of our photos based on it. Let the audience start to imagine a story based on subject’s expression.

Indonesia, 2018

Facial expression is about what people choose to show to the world what kind of emotion that control them at the moment. As a street photographer we keep seek honest facial expression in decisive moment when most of the time people show their true emotion through it.

How to shoot moving gesture?

Find a place where crowd gather, look for a strong gesture in decisive moment, always prepare camera to shoot anytime (that is why I love hand wrist strap). Hunt interesting look subject in the middle of crowd so we can snap them in close distance (hunting technique), or find an interesting background and wait till the right subject come and “pose” dynamic gesture in front of it (fishing technique).

Australia, 2018

That is all about my thought of shoot moving gesture, always remember to avoid shoot “boring”subjects as they will lessen the presence of story line inside our image. Until next time!

Keep shooting and stay inspired,

Nico Harold

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