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It is all too easy to produce dull, wooden images where everything has apparently turned to stone. However people, animals and plants are alive and other scenes of all descriptions are changing is numerous ways. Dynamic images, perhaps including strong light and vibrant colours, are therefore likely to have greater impact and immediacy. Aim to capture the spirit of the subject, perhaps through movement, mischief or sense of humour. Dynamic or unbalanced portraiture compositions, such as those featuring movement or off-centre subjects, help by producing spontaneity and tension.

The person's physical characteristics can also bring life to an image. Be sure to capture features such as sparkling eyes, glowing skin or a good figure because they are direct indicators of good health and vitality. It is not necessary to flatter subjects to the extent that they become different people, but we should aim to do them justice. To bring an image to life we must be clear about what we want to portray, and then realize it in a simple and direct manner.

Of course vitality is not the exclusive preserve of people. Evidence of life can be found everywhere, if only in the movement of water or ever-changing light. Any one of these elements has the potential to lead an image in the right direction.


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