So, you've learned enough about lighting and composition to get people talking about your photos. That's great, but have you ever wondered why your photos are not getting more engagement on social media? What's the next step? How do you reel people in for more than just a few seconds? Learn how to tell better stories with your photos. If you can draw viewers into your image and make them think deeper, they will engage deeper with your content. Make your viewers feel like they were there by following these 6 simple steps on becoming a better storytelling photographer.
Tip #1: Include small elements to tell a story in your frame.
On your next photo shoot, pre-visualize a story for your subject. Whether you're a portraiture, photojournalist or wedding photographer, it is important to include details into your frame. A single portrait wouldn't be a story. A person's story are in the elements; a picture of their wedding dress, shoes, engagement ring, a close-up of their hands and a wide-angle photo of them surrounded by a few of their favourite things. Next time you're on a photo shoot, try to include the elements in the frame that will add to their story.
I didn’t walk into this photo shoot pre-visualizing my model holding a photo book with no motive. I saw what kind of mood the model portrayed, which helped me pick the location of where I wanted to take a picture. The small details here are his phone, coffee, reaction to the photo book, and the white marble table. These elements help my viewers understand the excitement of unraveling his new book.
Tip #2: Take a variety of photos from different angles
Take a variety of photos from different angles and moments. Whether you want to tell the story of a man/woman wearing a watch in the city or your grandma's birthday party, just focusing on one perspective won't tell a whole story. You need candids, wide-angle shots, high, bird's eye view, face-to-face, low, and action shots, zoomed in details and more. Combine a few of these perspectives together to tell a whole story.
I tried to tell the visual story of my model enjoying his afternoon coffee and his new wedding photo book. A variety of photos were taken from different angles, which allowed me to gather more images to tell his story.
Tip #3: Take control of the frame
You're not only a photographer anymore, but a storyteller. Take control of the whole frame; don't just think about your subject's positioning. It's important to teach yourself to be aware of all the elements in the frame. Sometimes I lay on the floor or stand on a chair to gain a new perspective. This will help you add more elements into the frame. On your next photo shoot try rolling around and re-positioning yourself. Take full control of your frame.
Tip #4: Create a shot list
Whether you're heading out to take a photo of a person, building, or an event, why not write down a few notes beforehand in the form of a shot list. I'm talking about ideas for specific shots, angles, and other subjects you might include into the photo. You can find inspiration or research the different kind of shots other photographers have taken on instagram, pinterest and other social media platforms. Find new perspectives that relate to your style of storytelling photography.
Tip #5: Make sure to capture the emotions
To capture emotions, you want to focus on capturing photos of their face, gesture and the elements that add to the story.
At Whonnock Lake, Maple Ridge, B.C, I've had the lovely opportunity to go on a engagement photo shoot with Kendal & Taylor. Before we began I made sure that they were comfortable in front of the camera by beginning with twenty warm up shots and by communicating to them throughout the photo shoot. I was able to capture their emotions, because they were relaxed and were having a good time. The best shots came after they've forgotten I was there - these simple steps allowed me to capture their emotions effortlessly.
Tip #6: Don't forget about composition and lighting
We've all been there at least once in our photography journey. This is all too easy to fall out of touch - especially when you're starting out. When you focus too much on adding storytelling elements, you begin to pay less attention to composition and lighting. You will need to place focus on all three aspects in order to convey a powerful story to your viewers.
You want to become a better storytelling photographer? Then implement all 6 tips on your next photo shoot and be open to failure. You won't become a great photographer overnight. What has helped you become a better storyteller? Are there any tips that i've missed? Share in the comments below.