Photographic Story Telling – What does that mean? The Bard wrote in Richard III: ‘An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.’ His idea is the best stories are told well, when they are brief. Yet many stories need explanation; context; reason and conclusion. In essence, the story behind the story. How, then, can one keep an audience tuned in to a story, once it incorporates the ‘back story’? Stories are complex and nuanced by the conditions that shaped them: If someone asks ‘How did you come to be a photographer?’, should I mention my Father’s influence? Or that nearly 10 years ago I worked for a company that was clearly going in the wrong direction under the stewardship of someone I couldn’t easily work with? These factors don’t matter to someone only interested in my work as a commercial photographer. But they may find them interesting once our relationship deepens over time.
Just as you build a relationship with snippets of information to tempt someone to interact with you, your story should do the same. Your story can be brief – but photographic story telling can help flesh it out. Images can do something unique: They create a ‘feeling’ – an emotional response that encompasses more than simple facts. Social photography has always done this – which is why technically inferior photos (out of focus, wonky horizons, poor colours, too dark or too light – I could go on) still mean something to viewers that have a connection to the person, animal or location in the shot. A mother will always love a photo of their child, irrespective of the image’s faults. The emotional pull of seeing their loved one is stronger that their observation of it being a poor shot.
This emotional connection is just as powerful with business profile images; showing people working for example alludes to their care and professionalism. Photographic story telling using unusual or dynamic scenes create connection through humour or intrigue. Creating connections in commercial photos, between viewer and subject helps illuminate the work of the company publishing the photographs and intrigues the viewer into finding out more. In this way, photos are a shortcut to the whole story. Emotions are ‘sensed’ in an image without the need for a lengthy explanation. In this way, one image may encapsulate many nuances and provide a better way of explaining a story, even better dare I say it, than video.
Let me help you tell your story with great photos. Email me to chat over ideas for dynamic, illuminating professional photographs.