Emotions Photo Project

Yesterday morning I completed an “Emotions” photography project for my son’s 3rd grade class.

Last Thursday, I went to speak to the class about advertising. We discussed modeling and making emotional expressions with our faces. We brainstormed a lengthy list of emotions, and then stepped outside to take some pictures. Fellow class parent Kelli Martin and I photographed each child doing various emotions in a marathon session yielding hundreds of photos.

I selected nine images for each student, and then cropped/retouched into an 8×10 grid for printing and framing. Four fun versions were created: color graded, distressed, gradient map illustration, and cartoon.

I returned yesterday morning and presented the imagery to the class in a fun Keynote slideshow that included their images, and a clip of video showing several of the students doing their expressions.

In addition I supplied each student with a printed poster of their classmates, and links for digital copies to share with their families.

What do you think? Here are a few more samples.


1. This is using the standard code for lightview: Emotions Slideshow


  1. Thank you so much for the amazing photographs. I love the photo collage. The kid’s all love it as well. Thank you for taking the time to do such a wonderful project with the kids. We will cherish the photographs.

  2. Your work is so artistic, creative and amazing…thank you thank you thank you. It has already been framed and will find it’s way on our walls as soon as I can find a nail!

  3. Amazing job on the class photo/layout! Really, I am impressed – great idea. Thank you so much

  4. This is amazing.

  5. Your creativity is boundless Nels. Thanks for the smile.

  6. You are the best Nels! Lucky kids!

  7. amazing, as usual.

  8. That is so interesting. You seem to do a lot for schools. That is so admirable.

  9. Seriously I think you might be the coolest dad ever!

  10. You are all very kind. Not so sure about the “coolest dad”, though.

  11. Again, with the coolest Dad in 3rd grade, fun project!

  12. Nels,

    You work is wonderful and I’m really moved by this emotions photo project. My wife and I are teachers just outside of Toronto, Canada, and I’m helping her develop a literacy unit on empathy. I would love to use some of the images in the project as a resource. With luck the school board will not have blocked this corner of the web but if it has, could we have your permission to use one of the 3×3 portrait collages via a screen capture?


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