10 tips for telling a story with your images.
Want to tell a story with your photo(s)? Here, we explain all you need to know about storytelling.
Whatever the subject you have captured, often it is about wanting to convey a story or emotion with your images. But how do you actually do this? And how do you turn a few separate photos into a cohesive series that tell a story? Below, our 10 tips explain all you need to know about storytelling.
Tip 1: Be prepared
Before getting started with storytelling, it is important to think about the actual story you want to tell. What do you need for this? And in what setting? For example, will you capture an angry person while the weather outside is beautiful, or will you opt for symbolism and wait for it to rain? Once you have figured out the story you want to tell with your images, it is time to decide upon a subject. Consider this too, as you prepare.
Tip 2: Photograph multiple perspectives
If you want to tell a story, it may be worthwhile capturing it from different perspectives. It is tempting to take panoramic photos as they tell a great deal in a short space of time, but this can also detract from your message. Don't be afraid to take a close-up shot once in a while. Different perspectives are also beneficial when you incorporate your story into a series of photos.
Tip 3: Think about the colours
Colours are often linked to emotions. For instance, red evokes love and passion for many, whereas cool colours, such as blue and yellow, often symbolise sadness. By adding particular colours to your photo, for example the clothes someone is wearing or their make-up, you can inject a considered ambience to your story.
Tip 4: Create a series of photos
If you can tell a story with a single image, just imagine what you can convey with a series of photos. Yet, compiling a series of photos isn't necessarily easier. After all, you have to think about all the photos separately, but also as a whole. Actually, each photo within a series represents a chapter of the whole story. This takes a lot of preparation, but the final result can be stunning.
Tip 5: Choose evocative photos
When telling a narrative through your photos, you will naturally choose the photo that best conveys the story. To ensure the intended story comes across, you can ask people what story they see reflected in your photo. When creating a storytelling series of photos, remember that the first and last photo are the most important. After all, these are usually the photos that stick in people's minds, so should therefore be the most evocative.
Tip 6: Think about lighting
Lighting is crucial in photography. This is because light adds atmosphere to your images. Is it a bright day and is your story a happy one? Or are the curtains closed as you capture a sad moment? You can also play around with the light. Perhaps the light only falls on one of the faces in the group you are photographing, and you focus on their story that way. Above all, get creative with lighting!
Tip 7: Take a back seat
Being fully in control is often deemed preferable in photography. Although, taking 'fly on the wall' shots can be beneficial too. Your subjects forget you are there, allowing you to capture raw emotion. You document what happens and tell an undirected story from a distance.
Tip 8: Try using a filter
A filter effortlessly adds a particular effect to your images. Take a polarisation filter, for instance, that will make your colours more vibrant and so your image too. Or you could use a mist filter. This type of filter adds a sultry effect to your photo. Which in turn can contribute to the story you want to convey!
Tip 9: Think outside the box
Storytelling isn't bound by rules. It is the perfect opportunity therefore to think outside the box and push the boundaries. Would you rather use the colour red to convey anger? Go ahead! Or would you rather capture loneliness within a crowd? The choice is yours. There is no right or wrong in storytelling. After all, it is your story you are telling.
Tip 10: Tell your story
Each picture tells its own story. What this story will be is down to you, the photographer. Be original and reflect your style in the photo. It is your story and your image.
There is great experimental scope when you want to tell a story with your photos. Now's your chance! Who knows, you might shoot a completely different image than you originally had in mind that actually conveys the story far better.