One of my favorite photography blogs, Live Snap Love, recently did a guest post on Click It Up a Notch, and it is chock full of helpful tips on telling a story with your photos. When I sit down to create a photo book or a montage, I try to tell the best story I can. But keeping these concepts in mind when you are capturing images in the moment will go a long way toward a successful final product. You can only do so much with raw materials!
Audrey spells out her recommended “shot list” for telling a story (definitely go read the article to understand what she means by each of these, and see some great examples):
- Introductory shot
- Details shot
- Portrait shot
- “The Moment” shot
- The End shot
I tend to have a similar structure in my head when I’m taking photographs – but I think this is even more applicable later on when culling photos.
Instead of the word “story”, I usually think “spread”. Unless we’re talking about a milestone event like a birthday party, it’s unlikely I’m going to spend more than a single two-page spread on any particular session in my photo book at the end of the year. On one hand, I want to make sure I’ve taken enough shots to tell the story of that moment (unless I envision this as a single shot in a collage). This is where Audrey’s list comes in, helping me ensure I’ve got good coverage.
However, I don’t see any reason to keep 100 photos of the same afternoon. I know I’ll never sit down and page through 100 shots later, and I’ll only need a dozen at most for the photo book. This kind of thinking helps me feel better about culling “perfectly good” shots. Following this “storytelling” list is a great culling tool – I probably don’t need multiple intro or details shots. Once I select the best one of each, I can feel free to concentrate on other types. This is the same mindset I have for selecting the best wedding photos for an album.
Really, it comes down to asking yourself, “What do I want to remember about this event? What are the elements that will take me back to this moment in our lives when I’m reading this book 10 years from now?”
That is the story I want to tell.