In the age of digital content, storytelling has taken a completely new turn. Right before our eyes, the way we tell stories has changed.
Not only the way we tell stories has changed, but also the way we consume content. Word of mouth used to be the best way to tell a story, and now a single, perfectly composed picture captured with a simple camera can say thousands of words.
In any industry, photography can convey and communicate ideas, stories, moments and events. The art of storytelling is quickly becoming the most critical skill in photography.
This ability can help us create an image that is powerful and engaging.
These magical visual stories can inspire, sell, and provoke emotions in ways that words may not. With that in mind, let’s examine the fundamentals that can turn our storytelling from average to powerful.
Photography and storytelling
A photo tells a story when it effectively captures moments of emotion, tension, and inspiration.
A frame is everything that is needed to tell a story and make it magical. Movies use multiple images to represent a story. However, a photo must capture its subject in a single shot.
Photographing stories doesn’t just include facts or data. The aim is to inspire people, stimulate ideas and evoke emotions. The difference in the ability to tell stories is due to the differences in creative ability, ingenuity and lived experiences.
The stories told in pictures are not limited to the artist’s personal experience. It goes beyond shedding light on social issues, brand stories, lifestyle, culture, etc. There are no limits to the type of story we can tell with photography.
Photographing Powerful Stories: Common Beginner Mistakes
We have to make mistakes when we learn new things. The same applies to storytelling photography. When it comes to storytelling in photography, here are the most common.
Many of these are technical issues, but these should be overcome to ensure that you can effectively tell a story with your camera.
1. The wobbly frame
We all have trembling hands. This is often exaggerated with slower shutter speeds and can lead to blurred images. If possible, use a shutter speed that is at least as short as the focal length of your lens.
For example, if you’re shooting with a 50mm lens on a full frame camera, make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/50 second or slower.
2. Overblown exposure
If the exposure is too light or too dark, the final image will be far from perfect. For this reason, it is always best to take pictures in RAW format as it gives us more control over post-processing.
RAW files contain more information than JPG files, and highlights and shadows can often be restored, which is often not possible with JPG images.
3. The imperfect background
There are so many aspects of the background that we need to consider when taking photos. For example, many people make the mistake of protruding features such as trees or poles from behind a subject’s head (this is often called “Merger“).
We have to pay attention to the background as much as possible. We need to make sure that it compliments the image without necessarily removing the subject.
4th The confusing composition
Knowing how to arrange elements within the frame takes practice. A common mistake that we often see is arranging the elements in such a way that the viewer is confused. Confusion can often arise from a poorly defined topic or lack of relevance to the topic. The subject must be central and separate from the other elements.
Tips for perfect storytelling photography
To snap an incredible photo that tells a great story, we need to take this to heart.
1. Make sure the distractions are minimal
If there is too much information in an image, it’s just a distraction. Each photo we take has a limit on how long it can capture the viewer’s attention.
Hence, the viewer needs to be helped to make sense of the story we are telling immediately. In short, our message must be clear and direct. When the frame is minimalist, it stimulates curiosity.
2. Always ask “Why“
It’s important to get a clear idea of the intent of the picture, the audience, and the reason we’re taking the photo. Answering the “WhyIs what we have to do to make the photo come alive.
When the image in our minds seems like a crazy or confusing idea, we can begin to question it. In this case, we may have doubts about the concept. However, don’t let doubts interrupt the creative process. Instead, use this to delve deeper into the artistic process and storytelling.
3. Plan the story
Don’t rush into a picture. A plan can help.
First, prepare the equipment, subject, composition and background. When this is perfectly planned it becomes easy to articulate it all into a great storytelling experience. However, there are times when we may not have enough time to plan. This is where practice and experience come into play.
4th Include emotions
When our images contain strong emotions, they are outstanding. We can do this by capturing facial expressions, props, softness, color, etc. Essentially, we do everything we can to ensure that the audience connects and relates to our images.
Storytelling through photography is a perfect combination of art and science. It takes constant practice to improve and master it.
It is not enough to understand the principles of photography. It is not enough to pick up the camera every day. We also need to look into human society and ensure a deeper understanding of it. Only then can we create a story that speaks to the audience.