Try These Photography Storytelling Techniques
- Storyboard Your Photography Storytelling
- Capturing Images for Photography Storytelling
- Use Selective Color (and Other Techniques) to Create Flow
- Photography Storytelling Presentations
- Photography Books
- In-Home Art Gallery
- PowerPoint Photography Storytelling
- Final Thoughts
- Recommended Photography Gear
Photo by valentinrussanov via iStock
Photography is literally drawing with light - writing with light - so it comes as no surprise that we can tell a story with photographs. If we go back far enough, human communication often involved the use of pictographs. Photography storytelling offers the same opportunity. It’s an incredibly effective way to share ideas.
Photography storytelling can be done in many ways, from a photo essay to photojournalism, from a wall display to an electronic gallery. Here are some creative and technical tips that can help you with your own photography storytelling.
Table of Contents:
Storyboard Your Photography Storytelling
Photo by smolaw11 via iStock
A basic filmmaking technique, using a storyboard also works for photography storytelling. A storyboard is like an outline for filming, but it’s more than just the words directing what to photograph or capture as video.
A good storyboard also includes photography instructions, character directions, and details about lighting and exposure. Let’s not forget composition ideas and production notes, as well as simple illustrations of what to capture. Think of it as a visual instruction manual for developing your storytelling project.
Capturing Images for Photography Storytelling
Photo by NicolasMcComber via iStock
When capturing the still images for your storytelling, think in terms of sequences. Just as we shoot sequences and series of images for submission to stock image sites, a series of images can be made into a form of a story.
Some of the changes we can make to sequential images involve subject placement within the scene or changing focus from deep to shallow or to different parts of the image area. You can also adjust color and exposure by means of changing camera settings, lighting, or by post-processing.
Use Selective Color (and Other Techniques) to Create Flow
Photo by GCShutter via iStock
So, how do we make those changes to color, exposure, focus, or lighting to create a photography storytelling project? Some changes can be made in-camera, while others require us to vary the lighting, camera placement, and perhaps even use post-processing tools.
One post-processing tool or technique that can be especially effective in creating a flow for photography storytelling is selective color. Selective color doesn’t always have to be a pop of one color in a black and white scene; it can also be accomplished with muted colors vs deep colors.
Photo by FG Trade via iStock
Another method to create a flow is changing what is in and out of focus. A story can be made by having the selective focus move from a foreground element to a midrange object to something in the background.
Similar photography storytelling methods can be done with spot lighting various subjects, adjusting from low key to high key, or by physically moving the camera or lights. Anything you can adjust photographically can be used to make a sequence that creates a photography storytelling flow.
Photography Storytelling Presentations
In addition to the camera, lighting, and post-processing settings we can use, there are several methods we can use concerning how the images are presented in order to tell a story. These presentation methods can be physical or digital.
Using a top-notch photo printing company like Adorama’s photography printer Printique is a good decision for any of the physical image presentations we may want to make use of. There are many different routes you can take with a physical presentation, too. Two of my favorites are photography books and in-home galleries.
For photography storytelling, think of a book of images in the same way you might consider a graphic novel. It doesn’t need to even be that detailed - simply a series of excellent images can be bound together in a book presentation that tells a story.
Printique calls their photo books premium photo albums. They are available as leather albums, hardcover albums, and metal cover albums. You have many options for images per page, collage styles of pages, how many pages, and so on, making them perfect for photography storytelling.
With bespoke books like those from Printique, you can tailor how your visual story is presented. It can look modern or rustic, large or small, and even have layflat pages to enhance the viewing experience.
In-Home Art Gallery
Printique has a staggering array of print types and styles for use as part of your photography storytelling. Generally speaking, it is good to have the same type of print, but you can vary the size and orientation of them in your presentation. And if you think using different kinds of prints would work better for your particular story, go for it!
Some of the awesome types of prints you can get from Printique in many different sizes are framed prints, poster prints, metal prints, canvas prints, wood prints, and acrylic prints.
When choosing a type of print for your storytelling purposes, consider how the substrate enhances the image. For example, if you want something sleek and modern, an acrylic print might be the way to go. If you’re looking for something more traditional, you might choose a canvas print.
Fortunately, the choices are many when you shop for prints at Printique!
PowerPoint Photography Storytelling
Photo by RG-vc via iStock
PowerPoint and other electronic slideshow programs are the closest we have digitally to the old-school slide show or filmstrip projection for photography storytelling. Many of these types of programs allow us to either automatically set up the advancement of the images, manually advance them, or have some style using both methods.
Besides the PowerPoint-type programs, there are programs and web-based solutions that even let us create an actual video of our images. It’s similar to the virtual tours of commercial real estate properties and can be made with the very same programs. We can even add music or other audio into these electronic presentations.
Photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
There are so many ideas we can use for photography storytelling. Any number of physical prints can be used, from a single collage style print to various sizes of multiple enlargements. Even a solitary image can tell a story by implying there is something more going on.
What’s more, the subject of your images can be anything - even everyday household objects!
Photo albums or books are easy to present, and we have numerous digital and online means to present our photography storytelling. Let’s see some of your photography storytelling projects in our forums on PhotographyTalk!