Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Telling Your Story: How to Create a Powerful Photo Essay

Photography has long been considered a powerful storytelling medium, and the photo essay is simply a more deliberate method of telling a particular story or chronicling a certain event. Photojournalists such as Lauren Greenfield and Deanne Fitzmaurice have captured our imaginations and touched us through powerful photo narrative, and with today’s digital technology and a few storytelling techniques, you can begin experimenting with your own photo essays.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:
  • Clearly Define Your Story: It can be as simple as the first day or school or something more complex such as a controversial topic or current event. Whatever the case may be, make sure you can clearly define it and explain it in one or two sentences. The clarity gleaned from this exercise will help guide you throughout the process.
  • Go a Little Deeper: Consider what aspects of the story you wish to convey. Is it the wonder of seeing a natural wonder for the first time? The excitement of playing in a first little league game? Spend a little time contemplating the topic as you may uncover other aspects of the event to explore.
  • Plan Your Images in Advance: It doesn’t have to be exact, but think about each photograph as a paragraph or chapter of your story. How many images you take is up to you as each story is unique. You may find that ten images portray the event as you wish while others may take fifteen or twenty. There is no right or wrong number; just make sure that each photo serves a particular purpose and plays a role in moving the story forward.
  • Consider How to Share Your Story: Continue to play with your creativity by enlarging the photos and having them mounted or framed as a series. We’d be happy to help you put the final polish on your photo essay. The completed result can become a wonderful conversation piece hanging in your living room or even in a local community center or art gallery!