With digital photography, it’s tempting to take THOUSANDS of photos. But how do you narrow thousands of photos down to a single story? For me, I’ve got to have a narrow focus. Here are my 3 Keys to Telling a Good Photo Story.
1. Setting–your story has to take place somewhere.
This is often a wide shot that gives us an overall picture of where the story is taking place.
2. Defining Details–signature items that are specific to the story or your character/subjects
For these types of photos, I often get in close and fill the whole frame with the defining detail, like a single flower or a baby’s feet.
3. Conflict–the action, emotion, tension
This is the heart of the story because it gives the story traction so you or your friend stay engaged, wanting to know more.
You can incorporate these three elements of story telling into any scenario. Whether I’m in Egypt photographing the kids, doing a photo shoot or filming a new episode for Disney Junior’s Capture Your Story, my creative process is always looking for these three keys to unlock the story.
Take a look at the how I weaved them in the photo story below: Weekend in the Garden. We start with the overall setting of the garden (often the wide frame shot) and then we get in closer and closer for those Defining Details. But I also wanted you to see the action of what was taking place from Brian pruning, to Pascaline, our 12-year-old, being covered in pear tree limbs as she hauled them away, to Blaze finding a worm while weeding. You can also see in my bestselling book, Your Baby in Pictures, how I use these three storytelling elements when capturing babies.
Once you get the hang of it, you will notice a shift that begins to take place. Instead of just shooting the things that grab your attention, you may also find yourself looking for these three elements before you even take the photo.
p.s. All these photos were taken with my smartphone which means you can do it too! Technology always comes AFTER the creative mind of the storyteller.
There is much change in the air right now with school getting out and summer schedules starting up. Change can often feel overwhelming. Take some time to let your creative spirit exhale this week by picking a single story that you can tell with your smartphone using the three basic elements of storytelling. I’d love to see them on FB if you want to share them with me!
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