Why is storytelling in photography important?

Business Storytelling Photography, Business Storytelling Photography FAQ, FAQ
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Storytelling in photography is important because without a story, a photograph is one dimensional. It’s simply an image that records a scene.

In the digital era, where photography is relatively cheap and quick to create, billions of photographs are taken everyday. Most are snapped on smartphones without much thought. Many will be saved on a photo roll and never looked at again.

However, once we become more intentional with our photography and incorporate more storytelling, our images become more interesting and memorable.

We’re naturally curious and constantly exploring how we fit into the world. So images that capture interesting stories are far more likely to engage and resonate with us at a deeper level.

Let’s explore first of all why we take photographs. Here are three common reasons.

Pleasure & enjoyment. For some, photography is simply a hobby and a great escape from our day to day life. Maybe we love to head outdoors and photograph beautiful landscapes or wild animals. Our motivation is probably a combination of getting away from it all, developing a skill and the desire to create a stunning image.

Document a situation or a moment in time. Since the first photographs were created in the early 1800’s, photography has been used to document a scene. Photography has also created a more accurate record of our social history, which previously relied on the skill of an artist to capture a scene.

Communication. As photography has developed it’s been increasingly used in education, news reporting, marketing and advertising to help communicate a message. Combining photography with simple headlines is an incredibly powerful way to quickly share a message.

If we build on the basics and introduce storytelling into photography, the messaging is so much more powerful. Why is that? Well it’s because the viewer is more likely to have an emotional connection or reaction to what they see.

Let’s look at some common techniques used to develop storytelling in photography.

Start with a motive? If you’re driven by a strong feeling or passion, you’re far more likely to create powerful stories. The process of researching the story, choosing the right location and subject is more likely to result in an image that captures the viewer’s imagination.

Explore and develop the main character in your story? When we watch a film or a play, there’s normally a central character. We follow their journey and the challenges they face and we become emotionally invested. So when you’re creating a photograph it’s worth considering who your main character is.

In a portrait there may only be one person in the photograph – but you should still take some time to capture their character and add some depth to the image. In a photograph with more than one person, who’s the central character in the scene? Photographers will often use composition techniques, selective focus or lighting to guide you to the main character.

If you capture emotions you’re more likely to get a reaction from the viewer. Facial expressions are powerful and help us read a situation more quickly. Take a look at how emojis are used to add emotional depth to a text message and how effective they are.

Lighting and colour are used to convey mood and emotion too. Films and photographic stories are often created with selective lighting and colour tones. This sets the scene, reinforces the mood and links the images together. The Revenant, starring Lionardo DiCaprio, is a great example. Throughout the film you’ll see the use of low light levels and a cool blue colour tone to capture the icy north American winter and the ever-present danger faced by the lead character.

It’s easy to get carried away though, so make sure you’re intentional and check the lighting and colour you’ve chosen enhances your story.

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.