How to Tell a Story With Photos

By Sara Gilmore
Tell a Story With Photos

Photos can tell the story of your life, a favorite vacation or a special event. Use your camera to capture meaningful moments to share for years to come. You can create an autobiography using pictures instead of words. Photojournalists often have to tell a story with just one shot if their work is going to be used in newspapers. Even if you are an amateur photographer, you can tell stories with your photos.

Decide on a clear message. In order to tell a story with a single photograph, you'll need to focus on a single point or idea. This can be an individual, a scene or an emotion. Even if the viewer of your photograph doesn't know you, the scene should still get your point across.

Take the photos in sequence. If you are trying to tell a story of a wedding or marathon, keep shooting. Not all of your pictures will be usable. Take as many photos as you can. Later you can arrange the pictures to describe every part of the event.

Add text tags. When displaying your photos include writing. This can be a song or poem that corresponds with the photo. You can also write about your own ideas and feelings about the picture. Include any names and dates of events so you can remember them later on. Text gives you the opportunity to tell the rest of the story that the picture left out. You can even write about how you took the shot.

Fill in the gaps. Your story might be clear to you, but not to a casual observer. If your photo is missing something add embellishments. You can do this with scrap booking elements or photo editing software. Crop the photo to show the main focus for a more dramatic effect.

Treat your photos like a book. You photos might be like a short story or a novel. To tell the stories of your life pick up a scrapbook or album. Create a few pages highlighting the most memorable points of your life. Keep the album short and use the best pictures so viewers will be able to relate to your story regardless of how well they know you.

Share your story. Once you've created a story using photos, get the word out. Put the story on your blog or email it to your family and friends. Your acquaintances will get to know you better. Join a Flickr group that specializes in telling entire stories in five pictures or less (see References). You'll be able to get constructive criticism about your work and be inspired by other photographers. Sharing your photos also helps you to stay motivated to keep taking pictures and telling stories.

About the Author

Sara Gilmore is a freelance writer who has been creating web content for the last four years. Her writing has appeared on eHow and her own blogs and websites. Gilmore has a degree in paralegal studies from Kaplan College.