The professional photographic community is changing. With smart phones featuring more robust cameras each and every year, photographs are becoming more commonplace. Everyone now can tell their story for free or at least take a shot at it. They may want to tell a story and think their camera will do all the work. A professional photographer knows it takes much more than a good camera to create great photography.
As with a Master Chef, the stove does not make a sumptuous meal by itself. Nor does a good camera make great photography or tell a great story. There must be an artist present for the story to be properly told.
For professional storytelling, the photographer's recipe requires planning, knowledge and application. There will always be no lack of creative and authentic people with wonderful ideas. Actually creating professional storytelling photography that can hang as art, takes the knowledge and ability to bring that idea, story and photography to life. This is what the professional does.
For visual storytelling to come to reality and look like it is actually happening, requires more than storytelling skills and creativity. You also have to be more than a photographer. It is more than having the ability to capture an image or photo of a moment in time.
The ability to visually tell a story and storytelling, in general, as it applies to photography, takes thought and focus. To tell the story requires knowledge of backgrounds, light and subject matter. Visual storytelling in photography requires proper digital tools and the knowledge and elements to pull them all together. The actual media chosen to create the final art is somewhat irrelevant.
Visual Storytelling within an image must stand the test of time and touch people's emotions. The photographer must tell the whole story and not just with the aid of the camera. A certain sentiment must be present to allow viewer's emotions to work together with the scene. The story must have a singular focus and connect to other images if used in a book telling a larger visual story.
The shots taken by the photography need have purpose and meaning to the viewer. They must connect to the viewer and seek emotion. If the viewer finds that the photograph or images tell a story or scene that touches emotions that are interesting, they will search the art for more. They could find themselves free to read the story as their inner child would read.
A camera could capture and create interest by chance, how to tell stories effectively and constantly the professional photographer cannot rely on moment by moment shots. There must be clear planning as a director would do in a scene in a play. One need not search for emotion for an image, but lead the subject, frame by frame to provide and tell accurate emotion for the story.
There is thought put into the storytelling on a professional level that takes creation from individual moments or photo shots, to art that is interesting and captures the viewers emotions. A discerning audience wants to have a human connection and an emotional experience.
An example of the ability to capture emotion is when, through clear understanding of connection of background, subjects, narrative, idea, light and composition. All of these elements must work in unison as the photographer creates. This will allow him/her to tell the story and continue to tell stories visually to clients time after time.
These are more than tips, these are important and relevant lessons to apply during any shoot. It is during the creation of the photograph that emotions are captured and you begin to tell your story. Once an interesting background is in play and the scene is set, the story can then begin to unfold. Light can be purposefully applied for dramatic effect on the specific elements of focus. The photo begins to take shape and emotions begin to find their spot in the shot.
Make no mistake, when photography properly tells a story, it will look like there was little creating involved. It could look as if the storytelling was already in plan and the maker of the picture happened to capture the image when standing in the right spot. We know such an event and composition would not be possible time after time for clients. Great pictures that purposefully tell stories continuously are never left to chance in the world of professional photography.
Imagine having your scene or set in place, the light perfect and then providing specific areas for a subject to stand or interact. They would then be free to tell their story within the story. The creation of the photographs would be done with purpose and meaning. The subject would not be encumbered by details and would want to tell their story with the story. Emotions would rise as the photographer would become the director of the play or event.
She/he would be able to capture the subject's emotions and interactions. The ability to tell a story and create photography that shows emotion at a specific planned moment is simply the ability to visualize, apply knowledge and create. Emotions come and go, but when directing a subject in a controlled environment or shoot, perfect emotions can become predicted and the shots planned in advance. Emotional moments need not become fleeting moments to hopefully capture so the artist can tell the story.
The storytelling comes from more than the person creating the image or conducting the photo shoot. Storytelling comes from proper direction during moments of interaction. The photographer must become the director in order to ensure shots that are not only interesting, but provide human interest and emotional impact.
The pictures created are already in the mind of the creator/artist. Great storytelling and being able to capture connected emotion during each shoot will become part of the artist's photography brand. Photography may be the result of the play however the ability to create photos that conveys a specific message is an art and skill.
The photographer morphed into the director and a good director is a communicator and leader. They own the shot, are professionals at storytelling and create and tell stories that hold viewer attention. The director must tell specific instructions and communicate with each subject within the shot. Their ability to communicate "is" the narrative and the director must set an example so each person knows exactly what is happening within the story.
When a director is doing their job at the highest level, the subjects in the shot and featured in the stories, do not know, nor feel they are being directed at all. The photograph is created as a silent witness to storytelling unfolding within the frame of the story itself.
A great director of images can capture photos and images that create heirloom photography that touches and captures the public's hearts and souls. They are not just photos for Instagram or perhaps an article in a paper. These images are much more than photos or quick pics, they are works of art created that tell stories that will remain relevant and impactful.
The goal for a professional is to tell stories through photography that last the test of time. This may be the story of the wrinkles within the face of an individual portrait. Or they may be the story of a child's dream on the night before Christmas. The photography and storytelling but leave an indelible impression in the viewer's mind.
The story is perhaps like visually painting with words that capture the wonder within the mind of the viewer. As framed art, each person will stand and read the story portrayed. Photography does not have to be just a photo. It can be storytelling at it's finest. It can create images and inspire words within anyone's imagination.
The stories to be told via professional photography are endless. Storytelling itself goes back throughout the ages and has created tales of folklore and wonder. Many of these stories can be pictured in people's minds today. When a story is told and printed via photography, the photo will continue to tell it's story for generations. When these stories or photos are printed the image of the story remains with the family and is handed down through the years.
This grassroots "street" image connection, is more about the stories that carry forward that the photos themselves. But as long as the printed and framed photography can be viewed the stories can be remembered and stay in tack. Even a hundred years later if the photo is no longer viewable, the stories will live on within the folklore of the family. That is the power of images and the ability for a professional to tell stories through a photo.
Yes, for a professional, storytelling in images and the creation of stories in photos is something not left to chance. The storytelling is not just for viewers, the professional creates for the sake of art itself. Storytelling in art must have all aspects of the image connecting with one central story. They cannot be a disconnect that changes the viewer's narrative or perspective. The art must be impactful when telling a specific story.
One piece of art should not have multiple points of interest and try to show many stories. A shoot will produce a photograph however will it tell stories that fit the planned narrative of artist and or the client. Once you market the brand of being a storyteller, the artist must consistently produce stories within the art. The understanding of what it takes to tell a story and provide storytelling via photography become imperative. The creation of images that tell stories simply cannot be guesswork.
This makes the "how" you create each photo and image even more important. Think of how you tell stories to a child. They are full of wonder and imagination. When you tell the story, the subject is clear to the child and they can envision the story with vivid imagination. One must become adept at capturing subjects with this clear purpose of singular storytelling. It is much more than shooting a few pictures and hoping for some form of human connection.
You want your work to not effectively tell the viewer an effective and interesting story, you want to make your brand stand out in a crowded photo filled world. For this to happen, the events behind the scene matter a great deal. Capturing a viewer's attention and wonder is perhaps the most powerful part of storytelling, photography and creating an image.
Most communities will embrace any artist's ability to tell stories. They see and feel the details within their images. They know their photos are more than the ability to point a camera and be randomly shooting photos or images created without purpose or meaning.
The creator who is shooting to create images and photos for the sake art are the ones who tell stories. Their work and subsequent images are the photos that people want to frame. They see value in the images as each photo tells a relatable and impactful story. These photos are professionally crafted and meant to stand the test of time. The brand is not only solid, it is polished. This is how a photographer becomes an artist and how the artist weaves their stories for years to come.
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