with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Image Concepts – Emotion and Symbols Behind Photographs

Photography can be represented by subjects, or by the concepts they represent. Here is a list of emotions which can be represented through symbolic use of photography, specifically nature photography. Human beings like things that are familiar and recognizable. Anthropomorphizing wildlife is one way of imposing our context on animals to find some commonality and establish a relationship. Next time you take a picture, think of the emotional content of the photograph you are making.

When it comes to selling your images, you are not always selling a “picture of” whatever. You are selling emotions, emotional content, stories, tales, feelings, emotional moments, expressions, and symbols of emotions such as patriotism, loyalty, faith, hope, dreams, inspiration, and more. Categorizing your images by concepts helps to promote the stories within the photographs not just the photographs, expanding your stock photo sales and commerical photo sales. We don’t recommend you physically organize your photographs by concept, but make a note in your computer database or filing system of the emotional concepts your images emote to help increase sales potential.

Per request, we’ve made this list available for download in two formats: Word 97/2000 and WordPerfect 9 and both versions in a quick downloading zip file: concept.zip. All rights reserved.


Managing Your Images: Sorting, filing, and categorizing your images is a challenge. When doing it as your business you need to make sure you can find the right image when you need to, and find it in a hurry. This four part article takes you step-by-step through the process. Filing your images also means using keywords that will help you sell your images through the use of concepts and symbolism. For more information on how to use these concepts in your photography, check out our article on managing your images.


Concept Word
A
Abandoned
Absurd
Abused
Abusive
Accommodating
Acknowledged
Admiration
Adoration
Adored
Adventurous
Adverse
Affection
Affronted
Afraid
Aggravated
Aggressive
Agitated
Agonized
Agony
Agreeable
Alienated
Alive
Alluring
Alone
Aloof
Altruistic
Ambiguous
Ambitious
Amorous
Amused
Anger
Angry
Anguished
Annoyed
Anxiety
Anxious
Apathy
Apologize
Appealing
Appetizing
Applaud
Appreciation
Apprehension
Approval
Argumentative
Armored
Arrogant
Asleep
Astounded
Attentive
Avoidance
Awake
Awkward

B
Beaten down
Befuddled
Beg
Belief
Bemused
Benevolent
Berated
Betrayed
Bewildered
Bitchy
Bitter
Bleak
Blessed
Blink
Blissful
Blunt
Blush
Bored
Bothered
Brave
Breathless
Breezy
Bright
Brilliant
Broken-hearted
Bruised
Buoyant

C
Callous
Calm
Candid
Captivating
Careless
Caress
Caring
Casual
Celebrating
Challenge
Charismatic
Charm
Cheerful
Cherishing
Chuckle
Cliches
Cold
Color
Comedy
Commitment
Communication
Compassion
Competition
Competitive
Concerned
Confused
Construction
Contempt
Content
Cool
Coping
Cornered
Cough
Courtly
Cower
Creative
Cringe
Crowd
Crumple
Crushed

D
Dainty
Dance
Danger
Dark
Deceived
Defensive
Dejected
Delicate
Delight
Delighted
Demure
Depressed
Deprived
Design
Desirable
Desired
Desolate
Despair
Despondent
Determination
Devoted
Devout
Disagree
Disappointment
Discomfort
Discontented
Disgust
Dismayed
Dispassionate
Distressed
Disturbed
Dull

E
Eager
Eagerness
Earnest
Easy
Ecstatic
Elated
Electric
Embarrassment
Enchanted
Endearing
Endurance
Enduring
Energetic
Energy
Engaging
Enjoy
Enraged
Enraptured
Entertainment
Enthusiastic
Enticing
Envy
Essays
Euphoric
Exasperated
Excited
Exciting
Excuse
Exercise
Experience
Exploring
Exultation

F
False
Family
Famished
Fanatical
Fantasy
Fascinating
Fateful
Fear
Fearful
Fearing
Fervor
Fiddle
Fiery
Fitness
Flattering
Flex
Flighty
Flip
Flirt
Flurry
Flushed
Flustered
Fluttery
Focused
Fold
Folders
Food
Forbearance
Forgiving
Forlorn
Forsaken
Frantic
Fretful
Friendly
Frigid
Frisky
Frown
Frustration
Full
Fume
Fuming
Fun
Funny
Furious

G
Gag
Games
Gangly
Gape
Garrulous
Gasp
Gaudy
Gaze
Generosity
Generous
Genial
Gentle
Giant
Gibber
Giddy
Giggle
Glad
Glamorous
Glare
Glee
Gleeful
Gloat
Gloomy
Glowing
Good
Goodness
Gorgeous
Gracious
Grateful
Gratified
Gratitude
Grief
Grieving
Grim
Grimace
Grin
Grind
Griped
Groan
Grovel
Growl
Growth
Grumble
Grunt
Gulp
Gusto

H
Haggard
Half-hearted
Haphazard
Happy
Hardened
Harried
Harsh
Hatred
Haunted
Having Fun
Hazardous
Hazel
Health
Hearty
Heavy
Hectic
Hedonistic
Helpless
Hide
Hilarious
Hope
Hopeful
Horrible
Horrific
Horrified
Horror
Household
Housing
Hug
Huge
Humor
Humorous
Hunted
Hurt
Hysterical

I
Idolized
Ill
Illuminated
Imaginative
Impetuous
Imposing
Impressed
Impressionable
Impulsive
Inattentive
Indifferent
Indignation
Indulged
Inept
Infelicitous
Inflexible
Influence
Informative
Informed
Infuriated
Inherit
Inheritance
Inimical
Innocuous
Inquisitive
Insatiable
Insensitive
Insouciant
Inspiration
Inspired
Intelligent
Intense
Interrogative
Intimidated
Intrigued
Invisible
Inviting
Irrepressible
Irritated
Irritation

J
Jaded
Jaunty
Jealous
Jittery
Jokes
Jolly
Jovial
Joy
Joyful
Joyous
Jubilation
Judgmental
Judicious
Jumpy
Justified

K
Kick
Kind
Kingly
Kiss
Knavish
Kneel
Knightly
Knowledgeable

L
Languish
Laugh
Laughable
Leadership
Learned
Lecherous
Leer
Left out
Lethargic
Light Hearted
Likeable
Listen
Literary
Little
Lively
Loathe
Lonely
Lonesome
Long-suffering
Loquacious
Lordly
Lost
Love
Loved
Loving
Lukewarm
Lustful
Luxurious
Luxury

M
Mad
Malicious
Mammals
Manic
Martyr
Masked
Mean
Mechanical
Meddlesome
Meditate
Meek
Melancholy
Melodramatic
Melt
Memories
Mental
Mercurial
Merry
Mindful
Mindless
Minerals
Mirthful
Mischievous
Miserable
Mope
Morbid
Moribund
Mortified
Moved
Murals
Murderous
Musical

N
Nasty
Nervous
Nimble
Noble
Nocturnal
Nod
Nonchalant
Not Caring
Notable
Nudge
Numb
Nutrition

O
Observant
Obsessed
Obsessive
Occupied
Optimistic
Over the Edge
Over-wrought
Overflowing

P
Pace
Pain
Panic
Paralyzed
Parenting
Passion
Passionate
Passive
Patient
Patronizing
Patterns
Peace
Peer
People
Perplexed
Personalities
Perturbed
Pesky
Pessimistic
Petrified
Pinch
Pine
Pleased
Pleasurable
Pother
Pout
Power
Pressured
Pretentious
Pride
Protected
Protective
Proud
Provocative
Provoked
Purity
Puzzle

Q
Quaint
Qualified
Quarrelsome
Queenly
Quenched
Querulous
Questing
Quiet
Quivering

R
Rabid
Radiant
Raving
Ravished
Ravishing
Ready to Burst
Realistic
Rebellious
Rebuked
Receptive
Reckless
Recoil
Reconciled
Recovering
Redundant
Refreshed
Regret
Rejection
Rejoice
Rejuvenated
Relax
Relics
Relieved
Relish
Repetitive
Repulsed
Repulsive
Resentful
Resentment
Resigned
Responsive
Restraint
Revived
Rhythmic
Ridiculous
Righteous
Risk
Risky
Romantic
Rueful

S
Sad
Safe
Satiated
Satire
Satisfaction
Scared
Scold
Scorn
Scratch
Scream
Secretive
Security
Sedate
Seduced
Seductive
Seething
Selfish
Selfless
Sensual
Sentimental
Serious
Shadows
Shaken
Shiver
Shocked
Shy
Sigh
Silly
Sincere
Sincerity
Sinking
Sleep
Smile
Smirk
Smooch
Smug
Snarl
Sneer
Snore
Snort
Snug
Sob
Sober
Sobering
Soft
Solemn
Somber
Sore
Sorrow
Sour
Speed
Spicy
Spry
Squeeze
Squint
Squirm
Stagger
Stare
Startle
Stomp
Stranded
Stress
Stricken
Stunned
Sturdy
Subdued
Success
Sufferance
Suffering
Supportive
Surprised
Surrender
Susceptible
Suspended
Suspicion
Sweet
Sympathy

T
Taken Advantage of
Tame
Tantalizing
Teamwork
Tempestuous
Tender
Tense
Terrible
Terrific
Terse
Thankful
Theatrical
Thick-skinned
Thin-skinned
Thoughtful
Thoughtless
Threatened
Thrill
Thrilled
Tickled
Tight
Tight-lipped
Timid
Tips
Tired
Tolerance
Tolerant
Tormented
Torn
Tortured
Tranquil
Traumatized
Travel
Trees
Tremulous
Trepidation
Tried
Troubled
Turbulent
Twisted

U
Ugly
Uncomfortable
Unconcerned
Unconscious
Uncontrollable
Under Pressure
Underestimated
Undone
Unencumbered
Unfeeling
Unfocused
Ungrateful
Unhappy
Unimaginative
Unimpressed
Uninterested
Unique
Unloved
Unmasked
Unrequited
Unruffled
Used

V
Vehemence
Venerable
Vengeful
Vexed
Vicious
Victim
Victimized
Vindicative
Violence
Vivacious
Volcanic
Voluptuous
Vulnerable

W
Wanted
Warm
Warmhearted
Wasted
Wave
Weak
Weary
Weathered
Welcomed
Whining
Wink
Winsome
Wishful
Wistful
Woe
Woeful
Worked up
Worn
Worried
Wounded
Wretched

Y
Yearning
Yielding
Youth

Z
Zeal
Zealous

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