As photographers, we are natural storytellers. A photograph has the ability to convey emotion, mood, ideas and messages, all of which are important elements in storytelling.
The more I grow into my role as a photographer and artist, the more I’m interested in the storytelling aspects of my craft. When I first started out, I was more interested in making my photos pretty to gain clients, today I’m more interested in helping people tell a story about their lives, businesses, shoots even their Dogs.
You can tell a story with just one single image (like the one below of my friend Noelle), which often leaves viewers wondering what they are looking at. In a sense, single image stories are often just as powerful as a series of images, because of what is and is not included in each shot.
When it comes to lifestyle images, I’m a huge fan of including more than just one photo. I like to tell a story.
Need help with theme ideas:
Color themes: You can create a beautiful series of images, by photographing one color. Like pink, for example. For a whole week, you could experiment and only photograph pink objects: a ribbon in your daughter’s hair, pink peonies, pink macaroons, a pink cell phone case, a pink dress, pink socks, whatever you see and like that’s pink. And in the end, you put them all together and there’s your story. The images might not have anything in common but the color PINK. You then tell the story about PINK, the color the Musician whatever and why you selected this as a theme.
Stylized themes: A series of images built on the styling. The styling itself is the main focus of the story.
Photo theme: It could be a series of images built on a lighting technique or by using a special lens, like a lens baby, or just a particular focal length like the 85mm.
Location: Photos from the same place, like my beach collage above. It could be photos of a city like Paris or Oklahoma, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep it relevant to that location and that timeframe. So say you were there for a family vacation you could take a day and shoot a theme around that. Or a simple visit to your favorite restaurant in your current city is a great way to start this project.
Human interest themes: I’m currently working on a Lupus Awareness Book. Images that focus on a person or group of people. It might document the mood of a person as they go through the highs and lows of something in their lives. Or you could document the development of a relationship between friends, lovers, siblings, etc. Years ago one of my sisters gave me a book titled SISTERS. It was a photo book with short stories of, you guessed it SISTERS. What a great theme, and something you can do for your family too!
These are just a few examples of ways to tell stories with your images. The more you get into it, the more you experience how many ways there are to tell a story. Feel free to share your photo story with me, I’d love to see what you create.