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I believe that it is the expression that evokes sadness - the tight, pursed lips, like she is holding it in. Not the colors - which I adore, by the way. The red eyes lend themselves to the fact that she has been overexposed in the sun; while not overexposed in this shot (thank you!!). I am REALLY not liking the bright/glowing shots as of late. I find this treatment nice and easy to look at. Agree on the 3Dness of the shot, too. Sad shots have their place, too, so don't be put off by everyone thinking she is sad!
Katie, thanks for sharing your insights. I was surprised at how the photo does evoke sadness, but it wasn't a bad surprised nor was I disappointed. I'm not sure if she was sad, but she was tired from cheerleading all day in the sun. I suppose that tired look does give off the impression that she is sad in the photo. I could've stated that in the original post, but I wanted my photo to speak for itself. Evidently, it didn't turn out that way. Back to the drawing board.
Here's a photo taken a second later. It's a bit underexposed and in black and white, but I kinda like it.