Create a Story with Your Photographs!

When you hold a camera in your hand, you have the power to create! You are making memories! It could be a single image, or a story that breathes life into your photographs. If you scrapbook with your photos, then you are a story teller! So many times, however, the story they tell gets blurred by the photos you’re using. Photos can come from a variety of sources; friends, family members, business contacts, and yourself of course; and yet, many times these pictures, while appreciated, lose the focus of the very events that you’ve tried to capture in the scrapbook. This happens because the photos don’t capture the event effectively, but that’s sad considering how easily anyone can tell a photo story. If you take control of how you take your pictures, and use the following concepts, you’ll have created a photo story that will have people clearly understanding the story you are trying to tell.

The whole point of the scrapbook, often, is to tell a story of an event or a person. The event photos have the group together, but also the individuals involved. Often, the biggest problem is that the picture of your friend that is being showcased shows just a small image in the picture; in fact, you may not be able to recognize the image as being of your friend because they are so small in the photo that you didn’t know who they were! What is the point of that? If you can’t grasp the image of the event or person clearly, and quickly, you are losing the whole point of picture taking.

The solution is easier than you may imagine; it requires a small bit of planning before the event takes place. With the ideas I’m about to give you, the final product, your scrapbook or photo album will truly tell the story of the event or person, with a new style and grace.

A photojournalist, a person who works for a newspaper or magazine, is interested in telling a story with the photos they take. These images need to tell a story without any words. What would that look like? Imagine a Memorial Day party, the barbecue grill is fired up, the beer is in the cooler, and the conversation is flowing. To tell the story, look around you and see the events taking place, and start taking pictures. Are the kids throwing a football? Are the grandparents watching, or are they eating the chicken? Are the parents hanging out around the BBQ grill, or watching football on cable? Look around you and observe the ordinary, the extraordinary and the unforgettable. Even the most innocent of pictures may turn out to make a special memory.

Now, take multiple pictures of the events you are recording, but shoot them in a new way. Divide your event pictures into three categories; wide angle, medium angle and close up, and then shoot away. A wide shot is just that, a wide view of the event going on, and it establishes the location of the event being recorded. For example, a picture of kids playing football may show the kids on both sides of the game, with parents watching in the background. To get this kind of shot, zoom out as wide as your camera lens will go. A medium shot is not as wide, and includes pictures of a smaller area, like the kids on one side of the game, maybe in a huddle, or up at the line about to throw the ball. A close up would be a much closer picture of someone or something on the field doing something, like the ball on the ground or in the quarterback’s hand, or a receiver’s hand catching a pass. This type of shot of anything will, if effective, leave out the extra things around the sides, top and bottom of the picture, and just fixate on the item you are capturing. Those extra things could include trash cans, or trees, or basically anything not related to your image, things that will distract from your image and the story you are trying to tell, and it can confuse your viewer as to the point of the picture. To tell the story effectively, you need to have at least one wide shot of the event, five or six medium shots, and a couple dozen close ups of the individual parts of the event. If you are covering single individual, then follow these ideas with that individual in the shots, but still in the three basic styles. This variety will give you a lot to choose from when creating a photo story of the event or person. If you have an SLR type camera, that’s even better, as you can get very wide shots and close-ups, simply by changing lenses. But in the end, no matter what type of camera you have, you can follow these ideas in this article, and use them to tell a great story; the story of life!

Bottom line, photographers are telling stories with their images. But, what is the story? Is it a birthday party, or a Memorial Day picnic, or a wedding? Create a story with your images with the three basic picture styles, wide, medium and close up, and then group them together in your scrapbook to tell the story. Zoom into your friends; grab the close up shots that enliven your pictures. Suddenly your event scrapbook will come to life!

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