I think we don’t realize, unless you do this now, how powerful photography is at telling stories. A photo essay or some kind of visual storybook could be something that could really be fun to do as a photographer. Using photos to tell stories, will certainly be a delight to many people.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS YOU CAN USE TO START CREATING A PHOTOGRAPHIC STORY:
1- A DAY IN THE LIFE:
A day in the life of your child? Yourself, your spouse, your friend. What does an interesting person do every day. Would it be fun to track a day with someone with photos?
The subject matter you choose is up to you. But start in the morning and create a series of images showing your subject over the course of a typical day.
2- CAPTURE HANDS
Hands tell a lot about a person, what they do, where they have been, etc. Can you do a whole day of nothing but hands, to tell the story. Look at someone who uses their hands for their work. Or, how about the hands of a mother, and all the little jobs she does around the house. This could be a very interesting way to put together a story, or an essay.
3- INTERACTION BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD:
This is a great story. What will arouse emotions more than this? Photograph the parent playing with the child, speaking to the child in a serious way, taking a moment to hug their child. And I am sure that if you followed the child and mom all day, you could tell some amazing stories. What will this photo essay look like after the child has grown up?
4- TELL THE STORY OF A LOCAL ARTIST:
This one always fascinates me. When you find a real good artist, you just stand there in awe at their talent to create a picture, or to play music. And now you have your chance to tell a story about this artist. I think that artists love to have you photograph them, and to stop and ask questions and take a few photos as they create their work of art. All artists want some recognition, so, give it to them.
5- SHOW A TRADE-PERSON’S PROCESS:
Whether it’s an electrician, a plumber, a solar panel installation pro (shown above), getting a story of the work they do to make things work is amazing.
I recently watched someone who installed a security system for a business. I was amazed at what it took to make that work. Installing things on the wall, like motion sensors, and door contacts, the keypad, and then to program it to work. It is an amazing process, that we just don’t normally think about. And that would be the case with everyone who has a trade like this.
6- A FARMER’S MARKET OR STREET VENDORS:
Markets are great for photography because there’s always plenty of activity and lots of characters. Think of how you can best illustrate the flow of life at the market. What are the vendors doing that’s most interesting? What are the habits of the shoppers?
Look to capture the essence of the place. Try to portray the people who work and shop there.
7- SHOW A SERIES OF PHOTOS OF WHAT HAPPENS IN A GARDEN (OR YOUR GARDEN)
For someone who does not have a garden, I think they would be surprised to see what happens in a garden. The joy of seeing the plants come up through the ground, harvesting the crops, and then of course getting it ready for winter. All that is a great story.
8- SHOOT THE SAME LOCATION OVER TIME:
If you go for walks regularly, in the park, up and down your street, a great story would be for you to take a photo of the different seasons, at night, a foggy day, times of day, etc. You will find that fascinating when you compile your photos of what you see every day, but at different times.
9- PREPARING A MEAL:
This may have it’s rewards, after the meal is done. But, photograph the meal process, the cutting of food, the cooking, the seasoning, the different pans, etc. There is a lot to tell in a story about preparing a meal.
10- HISTORIC SITES
There should be historic sites all around where you live. Taking a photo of the usual thing that people take will work, but, try wandering around these places and see what else might be around the place. Get different angles, look for things that most people miss.
11- A STORY OF YOUR PET AND IT’S GROWING UP:
This is one a lot of people will probably like to try. There is a great love for pets. And these adorable animals need to have a story about them. And think of how much you love them now, and then after they are gone, you can still look back at the wonderful memories you have had of them. A great essay is coming, I can feel it.
In all the different things to do with photography, learning to do an essay, a story, could be one of the more important things you could do. It is memories that go on forever. And besides that: it’s good practice.