Photography tutorial: telling a story

The importance of following a theme and telling a story to improve your photographic technique.


Have you ever looked at holiday photographs, but you are not satisfied? It's not nostalgia, it's like there's something missing in that 150 pictures, an important piece. This emptyiness doesn't happens when you are reading the pages of a travel magazine, in fact, with few photographs, a professional photographer is able to make you feel like you have visited a place with him, like if you know that place.

Telling a Story

The reason for this annoying feeling is the fact that professional photographers that needs to do a photographic reportage are able to tell a story through photographs and give a sense of continuity to a few well planned shots. The rules to get more professional and interesting shots are simple, let's start with a list and then we will go through them in more detail below:

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Let's live the journey as a story to tell

Every trip has a program, things to visit and, above all, expectations. The best way to tell a story is to understand what these expectations are and try to capture them. You are looking for relax? You want adventure? You want to have fun with friends? Every picture you take should express what you were thinking when you were planning your vacation.
With this method you can photographically optimize a few days of travel. The desire to tell a story allows us to focus on what we should be photographing, with the aim of transmit these feelings, concentrating our efforts on what is needed. If you have a clear story in mind, your photos will have a purpose, and you have to ensure that them tells the story well. A plot makes gives a sense to the photos, and allows you to judge yourself. In the picture below, a sculptor finishes his work: sculpture, sculptor and model in the same shot.

A sculptor and his sculpture

A nice picture is like theater

You need the stage, but also the actors. A panorama can be of great impact, but often the most beautiful photographs have a protagonist. Try to imagine a breathtaking sunset, now put in the picture a person you love who observes the show in ecstasy. Inserting a human element into the photographs will increase the sense of involvement on the observers, a feeling of "I'd like to be in that place with him". In the picture below, an observer in the photo makes a trivial shot more interesting.

Giorgio observes the panorama

Photograph people while they are involved in some activity

Posing photos are absolutely good, but they are a little trivial and most of the time they fail to capture the soul of a person. The good photographer should make himself invisible, photographing in moments of great naturalness, such as someone order a coffee, read a map, ask for information from a passerby. Remember that the most natural photos are spontaneous ones, in which the subject is not aware of being photographed. In the picture below, a ranger checks the rhinos in a reserve, the expression is natural as he is unaware of the shot.

Masai Ranger photographed unknowingly

Decide the result you want to achieve

Before leaving for the trip, we need to take a little time to determine if we want to take some spectacular photos, worthy of appearing in National Geographic or if we are simply trying to give more atmosphere to holiday photos. In this way we could decide how much time to devote to photography, both not to bore our fellow travelers, and to be more aware of the results we want to achieve. It would be good practice to study before departure, both on the points of interest that we would like to visit than the best hours to do it. Good planning is the best way not to miss anything of a destination, buy always leave some room for improvisation. In the picture below, visiting Barcelona, ​​I never imagined I would find the X-Games, a pleasant surprise.

Stadio agli X-Games
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No more trivial photos

And smiling relatives with monuments in the background. Almost anyone who has visited Milan has a photograph of the cathedral in harsh light, common like the coliseum of Rome or the plane before going on a trip. I'm not saying that you always have to shoot innovative photos, but memorable photographs of a trip should go beyond the typical monuments, landscapes and stuffed family members. The classic shot is a bit boring, it won't give you great satisfaction. I strongly recommend you to try to think of something different. If you don't want to take risks, you can always take all the normal, and perhaps a little banal, tourist photographs, and then take a few minutes to shoot something more creative. In the picture below, a shot of the "Tre cime di Lavaredo" by Roberto Marini, for sure it's not trivial (From Juza forum).

Not boring tre cime

To conclude

In conclusion, telling a story increases the satisfaction for the amateur photographer, who in addition to focusing on taking photographs, will have to invent a theme and develop it with determination during the holidays. The search for new challenges helps not to get depressed and can also be applied to anything: a sporting event, your child's school play or any activity where you have to photograph.

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