Photography as a Form of Storytelling

For many years now, photography has been used to tell stories – an image that captures a part of a story, and in a longer version, a series of photos can tell a larger story.

Story Planning Through Photography

Pictorial or written, a good story does not simply appear out of thin air. They take a lot of time thinking and planning that involves different aspects that you must carefully consider. What is your story about? What memory are you sharing? What emotion are you trying to elicit in your viewers? And so many more.

To ensure that you do not get stuck mid-story, it always helps to jot down your photo ideas before going ahead with the process. Consider making a list of shots you want to take; a place you want others to see, people that you need to include, angles where the shot will be taken from, etc. You can even leave some places in your picture story so that you have the option to take a picture of something unexpected and add it to your story.

Focusing on the Start, Middle, And End

Similar to how a novel works, when making use of pictures to tell a story, you need to focus on what picture to use to captivate your audience when the story begins. The middle part should be impactful so that viewers can stay focused on the story, and the last part should be impactful enough so that people can never forget your work.

Some photo ideas for the starting can be environmental portraits of your story, such as a wide landscape shot or a place that is going to hold significance in the story. For the middle, you need to show the interactive parts of the story, so it needs to involve some kind of action such as people being involved in some activity, etc. As for the ending, you need to have an impactful ending shot that shows the apparent conclusion of the story, such as a sunset or the blowing out of candles or even people waving goodbye.

Themes And Purpose

One of the main things about any picture or a series of pictures that talk about a story should be centered around a particular theme that brings value to your theme.

Many artists use their photography to talk and share stories about things that they strongly believe in. For example, consider the work done by one of the finest photographers of our time Sam Yari.

As the founder of the Sam Yari Studios, Yari uses this place to develop, photograph, and exhibit work advocating the liberation of artists in strict regimes. After experiencing the impacts of the Spider Operation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where many models and photographers were arrested in 2016, Yari felt that he had to use his platform to share the stories of these creators who were treated unfairly for working on things they are passionate about.

In 2021, Yari held a photography exhibition, Pravda, in Ukraine that focused on the imprisonment, restrictions, and killing of artists and photographers in extremist Islamic cultures. He shared their story through 15 photographs that were captured by him, showing pain and the strong character of all the victims in the fashion industry as one model, creating a phenomenal impact on the viewers that included prominent artists around the world.