Photo by: Raghu Rai
Photo by Raghu Rai

Some tips on storytelling through snaps                  

A picture is worth a thousand words—or so the saying goes. To tell a story with photographs, not only must one have the requisite skill to do so, but the concept behind them must also be suitable or adjusted to fit that medium. This calls for careful planning—and lots of experience in execution of the idea.

Story telling through pictures can really be tough and challenging at the same time because we humans are programmed to use words in order to describe or tell a story. If you want to speak through your photography, then let the photos speak for themselves. Which is way harder than it sounds.

Start with yourself

Photo by: Bhawna Gaur
Photo by Bhawna Gaur

You are your own resource for practice. It might sound a bit vague, but in reality, you can tell quite a lot just from your everyday  life. Try experimenting with photo ideas closer to home—whether it’s the soul-killing drudgery in an office or the joy of working your own allotment, you’ll find there are plenty of interesting stories nearby. Improving composition is critical for decent photographic storytelling.

Choose your style

Photo by: Jimmy Nelson
Photo by Jimmy Nelson

Think about the way you intend to shoot and how you want the final image to look and feel. A bit of planning will make your photos more coherent.  

Be prepared

Once you’ve decided on an approach and style you’ll need to ensure you have the right gear to capture your shot. You probably won’t need to take your entire kit with you.

Gain more feedback

After the smaller circle of people around you gives you the thumbs up, you should try some outside viewers. This is important because of two things:

  • Your circle of people will never be completely honest with you. They will throw in a white lie just to soften the blow, because they’ll feel guilty if they are too harsh.
  • They know you, and your life story. So even if the photo story isn’t completely right, they can still connect the dots and fill in the blanks. This does you no good in getting better at what you do. A stranger needs to figure out the story themselves.

What you should look for:

Photo by: Lisa Kristine
Photo by Lisa Kristine
  1. Keeping a documentary style when photographing.
  2. The look and feel of the photographs needs to be clear and efficiently framed and selected.
  3. The theme should always be present.
  4. Every picture should be able to exist on its own, but it has to be complementing the picture as a whole.

Learn from the best photographers

Photo by: Henri Cartier-Bresson
Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Magnum photos is a photo agency that was founded by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David “Chim” Seymour just after the Second World War. It has since become one of the world’s most important photographic institutions.