Telling a Story with Your Photography
Looking to develop your photography more? A great way to do this is to set yourself a photography project based around a story/theme you’re interested in. Below we’ve set out some of our top tips to telling a story with your photography to get you started…
Plan it Out/Structure
Any kind of storytelling is best pursued from a plan. It doesn’t have to be a beginning a middle or an end, as, much like with writing a novel you will often find the author themselves doesn’t know the finale and where the story will end however will have their characters, a general theme, and voice sorted.
The same is with photography, consider your topic, research past projects and if you can come up with a general idea of the shots you’re looking to get. Also think about how you will get a constant style through your pieces to ensure they link and convey your message.
Capture the People
A key element to successfully building a story in a photograph is getting individuals in your shot. People’s faces, for example, are the best way to depict emotion in your shot, body language in addition to this helps to reinforce this and to capture people’s action/movement also helps to bring it altogether.
Whether a face in a busy crowd or a close portrait of your subject, emotion can come forward and be a prominent feature in an image no matter the background. Get close to your subject and remain on their level to give them prominence in the frame.
Single or Series?
Consider whether you will tell your story in one single shot, a compilation of single images or a series.
Sometimes a single image is all it takes to draw a bigger picture and help your viewers see the story, however, the key is getting the balance; you don’t want to give them too little so the storyline is missed but equally you want to leave some element of imagination there. This is why at times developing a series of images can help you construct more of a tale and have more control over how the story develops. Single images emphasise one idea, so a collection can help the idea grow to the finished goal.
Remember your most important captures in a series are your first, and your last when you bring it altogether, one to draw the attention and one to close but remain in the viewer’s mind.
Think Outside the Box
There are some photo stories that get produced again and again with very little change, think outside the box with a current idea and remix it, or go with something you’ve never seen done before and see how it goes. Also look to be contextual but try not to go for the standard cliche photo for the theme.
Be Impulsive but Respectful
As photo stories often do involve more snap decision street photography it’s important to get the balance between capturing that moment you see impulsively as you walk by but also being respectful of people’s lives, personal space and privacy.
Think about Presentation
When you get to the final presentation stage of your photography we all find it difficult to critique our own work however it is important to narrow down your selection. Try not to overwhelm your viewers with hoards of photographs, instead look for those that align best with your theme and have some common thread through them, also consider what editing will be involved and how it will work with each image to pick your final selection.
*Looking for some more photography tips? Have a read of our photography posts*