How To Create A Photo Essay In 5 Easy Steps
The expression, "One look is worth a thousand words," became popular in America during the early 20th century. A March 1927 article in the magazine "Printer's Ink" suggests a Chinese Proverb, "One picture is worth ten thousand words," as its origin. If one picture is worth ten thousand words, a series of pictures can speak volumes. The professional photojournalist knows how to use pictures to tell stories. You can learn how to use your pictures to tell stories too in five easy steps.
- What Is A Photo Essay
- Settle On A Topic
- Do Your Homework
- What Is The "Real Story"
- Photo Essays Are Centered On Core Values And Emotions
- Outline Your Photo Essay
There is nothing that warms a grandparent's heart more than having one of his grandchildren develop an interest in something that he is interested in. That happened for me five years ago when my oldest granddaughter, who was just nine years old, showed a real interest in taking pictures. Those of you have been following my photography articles here on Wikinut and Factoidz may recall that I was just nine years old when I became hooked on photography. My granddaughter was using point and shoot film cameras, but the cost of film and film processing was holding her back. I gave her a Kodak point and shoot digital camera for her ninth birthday. My financial investment in her pursuit of photography paid off handsomely for both of us. A few months ago, she won a Nikon D90 by producing her first photo essay. OK, so I am bragging on my granddaughter, but that is a grandparent's right.
What Is A Photo Essay
A photo essay is nothing more than a series of pictures that tell a complete story with a minimal use of words. The shorter the photo caption required the picture to convey to the viewer what the picture is conveying to them, the better the picture. The effectiveness of a photo essay begins in the planning before the shooting stage and follows the same steps planning a conventional essay follow. Here, are the steps my granddaughter used in planning her winning photo essay.
Settle On A Topic
Just as with any essay that you have ever written, the first step in planning a photo essay is to settle on a topic. Once you have decided upon a subject for your photo essay, you must narrow it down, so you can cover it effectively using the number of pictures allowed by the assignment. Think of the number of pictures as you would a word count.
Do Your Homework
Research, in depth research, is your next step. You need to have a thorough understanding of your subject if you are to create an effective photo essay. My granddaughter's assignment was to explain the ecology of a nature preserve that she had never visited. Being a city girl through and through, she was not into spending time at nature preserve. However, after spending days at the local brick and mortar public library and even more time pouring through the digital stacks of online libraries, she was well versed in her assigned subject.
What Is The "Real Story"
Back in the late 1950s, there was a crime drama on television called the "Naked City." Every episode opened with this line; "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them." My granddaughter's nature preserve was much like the Naked City with its eight million stories. Like each episode of the Naked City, her photo essay could only tell one of those stories. She had to decide which one she wanted to tell. It had to be a story she could tell in pictures after only one visit to the nature preserve. She chose to tell the story of the aquatic plant life.
Photo Essays Are Centered On Core Values And Emotions
My granddaughter's approach was to draw people's attention to how visitors were endangering aquatic plant life. She learned the technique of play on her viewer's emotions from watching me do several photo stories over the last few years.
Outline Your Photo Essay
Outline your photo essay. Use a "Story Board" to outline your photo essay. Consider each picture to be a single sentence in a paragraph. Ten pictures are a good length for a picture paragraph. Once you have story boarded your shots; you are ready to shoot your story.