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Visual Story Telling
ave you ever been a captive viewer of a boring family vacation slideshow? Or wished your own album and scrapbook images had a little more zing? It’s possible to create visual interest in your photographs just by using a proven technique, story telling. Story telling is a natural way of communicating that has a long history.
Whether it’s a how-to, documentary, theme, or concept, a photographic story captures our attention, and maintains our interest. Once you learn how to create these visual narratives, your slideshows, albums, scrapbooks and even your memories will be enhanced.
There are endless stories to tell, but how do you begin? First you need to plan your shoot.
Prior to photographing Jack’s day at the golf course I prepared a shot list of what to shoot: a wide, establishing shot of the golf course, a medium shot of Jack having fun, and other detail shots that helped tell the story.
You don’t need a script, but you can plan a visual shot list in advance that has story potential so you have something to edit and choose from later. I like to keep a small notebook in my purse where I jot down shot ideas. For example, if I’m shooting at a baseball game my list would include a wide shot of the entire field, action shots of kids running the bases, players interaction and expressions, shots of the crowd,
and details like baseball gloves, balls, and bats.
Think about how cinematographers shoot and edit a movie or television show: they take a combination of wide shots capturing the vista or entire room, medium shots, and detail close-ups that they seamlessly edit together into a story. These images are juxtaposed so the contrast between them moves the story forward, or perhaps just captures the essence of the place or moment in time.
Capturing images in quick succession allows you to place them together in a series, denoting movement and progressive moments in time.
Use Multiple Images
You can also shoot a series of images in quick succession. Set your camera to Sports Mode or Continuous Mode to capture the action just by holding your finger down on the shutter button for multiple shots.
Every camera is different, but Sports Mode and/or Continuous Mode can be found on most digital cameras - check your owner’s manual.
A tranquil, seaside vista provided a wonderful environment for an engagement photo, representing the couple’s journey into their new life.
Use One Image
Sometimes one image is all you need to convey your story. This image may be more about the expression on a person’s face, the context, the background, or the relationship between people or objects in or out of the frame.