Tell a Story with Photos
Photos do more than just capture moments in our lives; they also help us tell our life stories. Today we will spend a little time talking about how to choose photos that tell a story. We do this all the time with photos from holidays, but why not apply these tips to all of your photos, especially the photos you put a lot of time into? Photo books are a great way to tell a story using your photos, and they make excellent holiday gifts as well!
Style and Substance
Before you start to choose your photos, spend a few minutes thinking about what story you want to tell, and what angle to take. For example, you can tell your family holiday history from the perspective of a young child, or an older family member. Or, you can tell the story of a wedding day from the perspective of the bride or groom. Also, think about the tone you want to create. Use your favourite movies as examples and inspiration. Do you want a fast paced action story, a slapstick comedy, or a slow contemplative drama? Try to come up with a vision for how you want the narrative to go, including the feel and the pace of the story. Start to think about the image style as well. Examples include all black and white or sepia, colour, grainy or muted images, or a mix of different styles.
Choose the Images
One good strategy for choosing your images in your story is to first pick out the images that really stand out. Then, start looking at those images as milestones in your story, like the beginning, middle, and end. Next, fill in the gaps between each milestone image with photos that lead your audience from one milestone to the next. Remember the theme and style you chose; edit the photos if necessary with different visual effects like black and white. Think about the arc of the story; you might want to build up to a climax, followed by a resolution or ending. When you do this successfully, the "in-between" images begin to look more powerful than before. In addition, look for images with visual cues that lead your viewer from one image to the next. For example, a narrow hallway into an arena sets the stage for the next shot of the grand arena scene. Mix it up; choose an array of close ups and detailed shots mixed with action and grand vistas to give dynamics to the story. Take your viewer on a visual ride.
Rhythm and Pace of the Story
Remember that the pace of your story helps determine the quality and amount of images you choose. If you are telling an action or comedy story, you may want lot of images showing tight action, leading your viewer quickly to the climatic outcome. If you are doing a drama or contemplative story, you may want less photos that each hold a bit more mystery or power to keep your viewer captivated a little longer on each photo. Set the pace of the narrative accordingly by leading the viewer along in an even pace. For example, if you are telling the story of a football game, don't use 10 photos from the first half, 10 from the second half, and 30 from the halftime show, unless your story is about the halftime show, or the halftime show is the climax of the story.