The possibilities of photography in portraying events or memories are well-recognised. A typical photographer, besides his skill for clicking high-quality pictures, is gifted with a vision. This vision enables him to bring out the meaning behind what is seen in the frame. Different factors like lighting, exposure, colour and composition are utilised to suit particular shot’s expressiveness.
Storytelling using photography is an extension of this ability to communicate meaning and purpose. In simple terms, the art of narrating an event or building up a thematic presentation of a subject through a series of photographs with minimal textual constitutes a photo essay. Photography courses elaborate on this topic and give assignments to students for practical exposure.
The power of a photo essay lies in the effectiveness of its pictures and that is otherwise communicated through text. With a well-made photo essay, one can create social awareness campaigns, memoirs, travel diaries, history books, reports and more. With a good idea in mind, one can, in fact, get essential training at a photography school before venturing into a project.
Creating an impressive photo essay is possible by following few guidelines. This will surely enable you to make an effective plan and execute it well for great results.
What’s the Story?
A photo essay wouldn’t exist without a story. It need not necessarily be a fairytale but, there should be a plot that is unfolded through the series of pictures. Thick or thin, the plot is bound to have some relevance that makes the effort worthwhile.
Enough Meat to Cook?
Whatever the subject is covered by the photo essay, sufficient information and an essential amount of research should form the base of the project. The concern is not only about wasting time and effort but about downplaying the relevance of this highly effective art. That way it is an important advice for students undergoing photography training courses.
Plan the Shots
This is where the photo essay takes shape. The main characters, venues, activities that follow and the way the narrative develops, all these establish the motive. In this way, the message gets sketched out. The textual narratives and the images that correspond to them are prepared.
The specific equipment needed to shoot the story is also planned. The effectiveness of this stage of work decides the success of the project.
Getting the Shots
The photographer’s skill at photography plays a great role at this stage of the actual shooting of images. Unlike a personal project, there may rarely be a need to seek permission and mind regulations. But in case you are doing an investigative subject or working on locations or people that entail some legal obligations or permissions/consent to shoot, those must be taken care of before the project execution.
Technique and style are personal choices of the photographer. But with respect to the subject, it’s important to determine what kind of shot, lighting and perspective are to be used. While shooting, it must be remembered that a lot of meaning gets established in the minute details of the composition.
If it takes some amount of specific preparation for the shots to be employed in the project, one should not hesitate to perfect the craft by attending photography classes.
Putting Together the Results
The final product, the photo essay needs to be put together properly. Employing digital tools to create digital versions of the photo essay with some creative design will need knowledge and skill in software viz. Photoshop. It is best to get trained in such a software at a photography training institute so that one can get the knowledge of utilising the same tools to create more creatives in future.
In an attempt of indulging in responsible photography, a photographer matures and crafts into a useful and effective tool, thus bringing a positive change in social and personal circle. The photo essay is one creative tool that has the scope to realise this. The same spirit is shared by Hamstech in bringing up the next generation of photographers through its photography courses.