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I'm trying to take that convey strong emotional feelings, and I would like to know whether there is any particular color scheme or type of picture that would convey a feeling of power and/or splendor.

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2  
Suggestions for tags? power and splendor don't seem quite right. :) –  mattdm Mar 23 '12 at 2:10
3  
"strong emotional feelings" and "feeling of splendor" can mean a lot of things to different people. Expand on what you are trying to do? in what context are these images being created? –  Alen Mar 23 '12 at 2:13
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Study classic examples of propaganda, particularly from areas like Russia or China where they're consciously projecting a powerful presence and the glory of the State. –  Patrick Hughes Mar 23 '12 at 22:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Very context dependant:

  • Monochrome is often used to ennhance such effects.

  • Add high contrast to monochrome.

  • In some context poor focus or purposeful blurring assists. Maybe a funeral procession or drawing you in to be part of what is happening.

  • Dim and dingy and sidelit and available light and high window and flickering candles etc etc etc .... all help IN SOME CONTEXTS. (Not for eg coronation of the Grand High Whatever.

Knowing he more specific context(s) would help.

Note that "string emotional feelings" and "splendour" would not be a marvellously good match to many people. You may need to better convey what you want to achieve.

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Power

I think it is more about the context of the image. Take a look at any "most powerful images for year 20xx" and you will see the context and how it plays the part. For example, a little girl crying with the destructive path of a tornado in the background would evoke certain emotions from most people.

Another example would be after the recent Haiti earthquakes, this story emerged. Obviously these images(both of them) convey strong emotional feelings.

Splendor

This is a tough one, and I'm no expert. Usually I think of nature and beautiful waterfalls or majestic scenes. I would try to capture the scene free of people, and very calm if possible. I would try to get the most vivid coloring possible, or potentially any warm colors.

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To some extent, as others have noted, "power" and "splendor" do mean different things to different people. But to some extent, we do mean more or less the same thing by them, or we wouldn't mostly use the same words to discuss what we mean.

Here are a few composition tips that can give a sense of power or splendor.

(1) Physical largeness speaks to power, so filling the frame with your subject is better than having it at a distance and small.

(2) Shooting from below, looking up at the subject (a [worm's eye view]1) also implicitly depicts the viewer as lower and perhaps smaller than the subject, conveying a sense of the largeness or highness of the subject.

(3) Strong contrast, as noted above, conjures a sense of dynamism and strength. Vivid colors lend themselves to this, I would believe, although low-key colors wouldn't necessarily be counterproductive. It would depend on the mood you want to create, I would think. A splendid think might also be languid, or old, for instance - and pale colors can convey either of those.

(4) The pose and attitude of the subject are also important. Sprawling on the floor doesn't scream splendor, except maybe a dissipated or languid splendor; likewise, teddy bears are going to be hard pressed to seem powerful or splendid in any circumstance. On the other hand, though, a bride in elegant dress and with grave (but not somber) expression will come across as very splendid or dignified. Shot from a low angle, she could even seem powerful - think of a fairy-tale snow queen. An odd wedding photo, but maybe what you're looking for. I would avoid anything that could be construed as cute or cozy (contrary to powerful) and anything that could be trendy or chic (because these don't speak to the timelessness we feel in the present of much that we usually consider splendor).

Well, those are the thoughts that come to mind for now, thinking of the pictures I've seen or shot of things like big trees, business executives, cathedrals, and the such that we might describe as powerful or splendid.

Hope it helps!

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