by Scott Bourne
I found this post in my good buddy Scott Bourne's archives and as we head into Spring seasonality, it's just such a relevant topic. NOBODY can tell the story better than a photographer. You're the ultimate storyteller and how creative you are in telling the story, while meeting the mindset of your clients, will be the benchmark for demonstrating your passion for the craft and at the same time bring out the passion of your clients. Skip Cohen
I keep writing about this because it’s important. I also keep getting asked about it because it’s hard for some people. Storytelling with a camera is – in my opinion – the highest form of photographic art. But again, it’s hard. Here are some ideas that might help you tell more stories with your camera.
1. Start with a question. Any question. When you decide what you want to photograph, ask a question about where the story and accordingly the photo will go. Will it surprise the viewer? Will it make them sad, or mad? Will it alarm them? Ask these sorts of questions. This will help to focus your efforts more quickly – pun intended.
2. Set a mood. Think about cheery, or sad, or happy or mad. Think in terms of mood. From the background, to the subject to the props, to the colors and exposure, set a mood with your photographs that helps the viewer understand what the story is all about.
3. Writers use metaphors to help give context to their stories. Photographers can use visual metaphors to accomplish the same thing. An elderly woman’s hands knitting a patriotic flag or blanket can be a metaphor for love of country or hard work or – well you get the point.
4. Set and shoot the scene and then revise. Don’t just capture the images you want from one angle – one point of view. Move around. Change it up. Revise, refine and reshoot. Make sure you have all the story’s angles covered.
5. Photograph things that help you establish what you really believe in. The more passionate and knowledgable you are about your subject, the more likely you are to be able to tell a story with your camera.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. If you’re still struggling with storytelling via photography try these tips and keep at it. It’s worth the struggle because the images you make will matter.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.