a photo study: story photography

A series of photographs has the ability to convey a story through the inclusion of emotion, mood, ideas, and visual narrative.

Five basic elements of story photography are:

  1. Mood can be created by experimenting with blurring the background and ensuring the background has a relationship with the main subject(s).
  2. Illustrate an idea through abstraction, symbolism, or a close up of a particular detail.
  3. Emotions are conveyed through facial expressions or body language.
  4. Narrative begin with an established photograph of what occurs before the story begins.
  5. Message is created through an object, location, colors, style or a combination that leaves clues that encourages the viewer to formulate ideas.

The introduction – an image that identifies the important characters while giving information about the context of the story and introducing the theme.  The first image should also be compelling and invite curiosity so that your viewer is drawn into the story.

the gaze

The Plot – introduces ideas, feelings, experiences while exploring themes. Do not forget to  follow the “rule of thirds” as this will definitely isolate and immediately draw the viewer’s attention to your subject.


Varying characters’ perspective – photograph closer to your subject(s) or further away. Photograph from multiple angles to find which angle best communicates your story.


Stages – show images taken at different times/stages of the photo session.  Explore which subject needs to be included or excluded in an image.

looking away

Focus on detail – you can also tell a story by paying attention to detail.  When photographing outdoors, make sure the sun is behind you or off to the side.


Photo editing – ensure there is variety among the images to create interest while at the same time link them together by processing them in a similar manner (black and white, lightening).


If you chose to caption your photos be sure to take note of what the subject(s) are doing without giving it away.  Cations should be short, clear, and simple.

Projects such as story telling, variations, and photo series are excellent learning experiences because they help explore creativity, encourage you to compare your work with earlier photographs and allow you to see how your ideas and techniques evolve over time.

I love a great story…do you have one to share?  Let’s tag with #aphotostudy.

5 replies to “a photo study: story photography

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star