How to Photograph Humor

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Having the ability of seeing humor in everything is a gift that not that many of us posses. We can often see an act, a subject, an event or any random thing that will bring a smile upon our face and will lighten our day, even changing our mood from foul to fair.

Photographing humor is a purposeful theme which intention is to seek out and record images of subjects; people, animals and situations where a humorous act or happening is present. Anything that brings a smile is a fair subject to photograph.

However, there are some situations that should be avoided like finding something funny in someones' appearance other than clothing, perhaps a physical defect. Your goal is to be in a position to record something funny and humorous not to do it at the expense of someone else.

What are good samples will be dependent a lot on your perspective and your own sense of humor. Not all of us find the same things to be funny since it is mostly a matter of taste and this theme involves capturing images that are clearly humorous to many and will make an audience laugh, not necessarily having them rolling on the floor, but just enough to bring a smile to their face.

The basic set up is a camera and a lens with several ranges such as a 80mm to 200mm, as it will allow you some flexibility. Do close ups of the face to record facial expressions and if possible isolate the subject against their surroundings if they add to the shot, otherwise just isolate the subject by itself.

"Humour or humor (see spelling differences) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement." wikipedia

Most humorous situations are spontaneous, rarely are they planned, and be very aware that an audience is quite adept at noticing a forced smile or feigned emotion, thus spontaneity is key. Funny signs, funny adds, funny acts or antics performed by pets or wildlife, a big smile on a little child, two adults behaving like kids or acting silly. Interactions between people, pet and human interactions such as when we dress our pets in ridiculous outfits; ever wondered what your pet would say if it could talk?

There are literary thousands of humorous acts that we all witness almost every single day, but to record them you need to have a camera. Make it your purpose to choose a time when you will just go places and be alert for the possible humorous shot and have the camera ready at all times. You can't repeat spontaneity.

However, with a little creativity and cleverness, some humor can be staged. This is mostly done with still life arranged in funny proportions and can also be accomplished by adding text to photographs through a digital software program.

Often humor is found in the most unusual of places or where you least expect it like in a coffee mug. Have you ever paused and really took a look at some of the designs found in many coffee mugs? Some are really full of comical and funny artistic drawings. Store signs sporting humorous sayings make for some of the funnies of samples and it speaks volumes about the management and staff and their sense of humor.

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Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Bottom line, this particular photo exercise is not something you can really plan for unless you have some design in mind and can arrange them in an humorous fashion.

Do however decide if your images will be humorous to everyone, and not offensive since some humor can be risque and this may offend some. There is an ample market for humor in photography, not the least is the greeting card industry.

Most of the time you just have to be on the look out for instances where the opportunity just happens to present itself and you are there ready to capture the moment, and quite often one just has to be plain lucky.

If everything else fails and you fail to find some humor at least you can be comfortable in the feeling that you tried, and if you happened to record some funny moments in time, then at least, hopefully, they made you smile. And isn't laughter the best medicine? or so I have heard it said.

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 17 comments

Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

What a great chuckle!!! Love it!!!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

My kind of project Luis. We can find that little humor in almost anything. Thanks for sharing this hub, loved it!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Cardisa, Lynn: Thank you for your comments and yes there is humor in almost everything one just has to be open to it....and it's always nice to hear from two lovely ladies such as yourselves.


Ania L profile image

Ania L 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Once again brilliant collection of photos, thanks for making me smile :)


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Ania L; Thank you, glad that you enjoyed it


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I've been lucky enough to occasionally catch my cat in you have to see it to believe it behaviour on film. But even if I have my camera with me, if I have to walk to where she is to get the right angle she will hear me and move-the moment is lost. It is much easier to to find adorable pictures of her sleeping.


justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

I find humor in just about everything Luis and would always take a photo when possible. I used to photograph signs that I found humorous. The one that stands out is from an artificial limb business called Hanger. For some reason that one stuck :-P Those photos are great examples. This will be my last comment for a while 'cause I'm outta' here. I'm taking my film camera this time so I should have some nice stuff when I get back...if I remember how to use it :-) Peace!! Tom


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

FloraBreeRobinson: Thank you, Try to use a longer lens to catch your cat from far..I'm sure the photos will be great.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

justom: Thank you..have fun and enjoy, and it's like riding a bike...you never forget.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Another great topic! What fun is life if you can't find the humor in it?


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks for sharing this well written hub, loved all the awesome photos you used to highlight this hub !


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

randomcreative: Thank you, it's true what's life if we can't laugh


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

kashmir56: Thank you


Katya Drake profile image

Katya Drake 5 years ago from Wisconsin

I really like this article it made me smile. I think when we are stressed its easy to forget all the little funny things around us. I want to thank you too for reading my hub and following me! I'm very honored as you are a talented writer. Thank you again. I look forward to reading your other articles as well!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Katya Drake: Thank you and you are welcome


HoneyBB profile image

HoneyBB 4 years ago from Illinois

Thanks for sharing your hub. This is great advice for photographers who want to catch their laughing subjects! I will share your link on my facebook page.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 4 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

HoneyBB: Thank you

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