Young boy playing acoustic guitar outside

Well they say a picture paints a thousand words, but can a photo tell a story?

When we look at photographs we tend to process the image really quickly, often in less than a second. We scan the image and our brain processes what we see and quickly fills the gaps.

We get a sense of the mood, the occasion, the energy, factual information and much more. They all combine together to create a powerful message that would take a few paragraphs of text to explain.

Imagine a beach photographed in high summer and again in mid winter. The location the photograph is taken from and the time of day are all the same, all that’s changed is the time of year.

In the first photograph there’s golden sand, warm sunshine, an aqua blue sea and a luxury yacht anchored not far from the shore.

In the second scene there’s an angry storm brewing. The waves are crashing with a powerful surf, there’s seaweed and debris on the beach. Looking around, the sky is a dull grey and there’s a lifeboat in the distance.

So apart from the obvious visual differences between the two photographs our brain starts to build a picture and create a story. We process what we see, we compare it with our experiences and we fill the gaps.

When we look at the first image, maybe we start dreaming of a luxury holiday. Where could we go…Thailand, the Caribbean or the South of France. We can feel the sun on our back and warm sand on our feet. We might imagine some special time with our family and a break from emails and the deadlines at work. How wonderful would that be!

In the second scene maybe we think of refreshing winter walks, wrapped up warm with the wind in our hair, followed by a meal in a cozy pub or the lifeboat making a rescue in the stormy seas. Perhaps we’re reminded of a recent news article we read that explored why huge amounts of plastic waste are washed up on our beautiful beaches after a heavy storm.

When we look at a photograph it’s not just the objects and location we see. It’s the colours, the light and the mood that combine to tell a powerful story.

Sometimes we see the whole story and other times we’re left to fill the gaps, to decide what the image represents.

Have a go yourself. Next time you read a news article, how quickly do you get a feel for the story when you look at an image. Does it give you all the information, or do you find yourself wanting to read the headline and the copy to find out more.

Are you ready to elevate your business storytelling photography?

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with Nick on 07410 634158 or book a complimentary consultation call at a time that suits you.


Learn more about business storytelling photography and the other services I offer including headshot photography, personal branding photography and corporate event photography.