As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
But, really, a picture is worth much more than that...
Pictures are the ideal vehicle by which to tell a story.
You can create emotion, evoke a feeling, and trigger a memory all with a single photo.
That makes the job of being a photographer one of the most valuable - and important - there is.
Learn how to tell more impactful stories with your photos by using the tips outlined below.
Get to Know the Subject
Sure, you can photograph a person on the street, and if your timing is right, you can capture a genuine moment that helps people understand who the person is and what their life might be like.
But if you really want to dive deep and create a photo that tells a strong story about your subject, all you need to do is get to know them.
That doesn't mean you need to conduct an hour-long interview before you press the shutter button, either.
Simple questions about who they are, where they're from, what their favorite customs or traditions are, and so forth, will give you enough information to create your images in a way that exemplifies the person's qualities.
This is a trick that's useful no matter your subject, but particularly so for wedding photographers.
Not only is your job to document the big day, but you also need a way to help the happy couple relax and look natural. What better way to do that than by being genuine with them, asking them questions about themselves, and getting to know them a little bit better?
Editor's Tip: Whether you're a professional wedding photographer or an amateur that takes portraits of your kids, presenting viewers with a series of photos of your subject only enables you to create a more impactful story. By including images that serve as an introduction, others that take the story to a climax, and still more that conclude the story, you are able to take viewers on a complete visual journey. Find out how to do that here.
The Story Isn't Just About the Subject, Though
As important as it is to give your subject prominence in your portraits, the photo isn't actually just about them.
Instead, consider things like who else might need to be in the photo, what's going on in the background, and other elements you can include to give the image more storytelling power.
For example, when you think of a wedding portrait, you might think of the wedding party lined up in a nice, neat row, smiling for the camera.
But those kind of photos - though necessary - don't really tell much of a story.
Instead, images like the ones above and below offer much more in the way of insight into who these people are and the love they have for one another.
Part of the reason for that is because the image isn't focused on just one person. Instead, the photographers highlighted the relationship between these two people.
Something else that helps these images tell a better story is that there's some environmental context to the shots.
That is, just like a written story needs to set the scene for the reader to understand what's going on, so too can a photograph benefit from the inclusion of the subject's surroundings to help viewers better understand the context of the shot.
If it's better stories you're after, don't frame up just close-ups of individuals. Instead, strive to show relationships and the subject's surroundings as well.
Present a Series of Images in Print
Living in the digital age is convenient and all, but from a photography standpoint, swiping through images on your phone just doesn't have the same ability to tell a story as printed photos.
More specifically, a gorgeously designed photo album is a much more powerful way to create a visual story than anything you can do in a digital format.
Being able to physically touch each image, turn actual pages, and hold an album in your hands adds a tactile experience to the viewing process.
And that's good news for the storytelling ability of your images because photo albums require the viewer to be an active participant in the process.
Sure, it might sound far-fetched that something as simple as turning a page helps people engage more thoroughly with photos, but it's the truth.
I know we all read on Kindles and other electronic devices these days, but for those of us that remember reading an actual book, there's nothing like the experience of getting to the end of the page and excitedly flipping to the next one to see what happens next.
The same is true of looking at photos in an album.
There's another important consideration, though - the quality of the album.
Just like a really good lens will do your images much more good than a cheap one, a really good photo album will only give your images a greater ability to tell a stronger story.
You want an album that's handcrafted, with a gorgeous cover and fine details that look and feel expensive because that helps set the mood of the viewing experience.
Once the viewer opens the album, you want them to feel the heavy weight of the paper, see the vibrant, rich colors, and experience the images in a layflat format that presents your photos in a beautiful spread.
In other words, storytelling with images isn't just about who's in the photo. It's not just about how you create the photo, either.
Instead, telling a story with your images is also about how you present those images to the viewer.
If you want a cold and disconnected viewing experience, by all means, point people to a URL.
But if you want to set the mood, get people involved in the story you're trying to tell, and create a memorable experience, you need to get those photos into a high-quality photo album.
Editor's Tip: There are plenty of companies that make photo albums, but nPhoto is certainly at the top of the heap. Not only are their albums handcrafted using the finest materials, but they're also highly customizable so you can tailor the album to the story you're trying to tell. It's easy to design your album with nPhoto's bespoke nDesigner platform. Learn more about nPhoto's photo albums and other products by visiting their website.