There is no doubt that capturing stills of everyday life can tell a beautiful story. When put together sequentially, a viewer can piece together a moment in time to get an idea of the events that took place.
Just as a journalist uses his or her words to describe a news story precisely and accurately, a photographer must use the photo to precisely and accurately document the event as they experience it.
Just as a heads up, for the purposes of this article, events could mean anything from family portraits, to weddings, to corporate events, interviews, or headshots. Any event a story can and should be told, this article applies.
So, by now we bet you’re asking, “If a photo can tell a story, and the photo is the photographers medium, then why would one need any more than that?!”
Because, to us, capturing a scene and truly telling a story are two very different things.
Have you ever stood in front of a piece of art hanging on a large gallery wall and couldn’t seem to look away? Have you ever listened to a piece of music that turned your entire world upside down?
Those artists weren’t just creating, to create. They were intentional about each paint stroke, intentional about each lyric and song note.
Photographers must also do the same. It’s easy to simply click the shutter button to make a good photo, but it takes intention to make an exceptional one.
Different styles of photography may not always allow for the same tactics of intention, yet it should be ever present. For example, documentary style photographers must be fully aware of their surroundings and always be anticipating what will happen next. Typically, body language is a huge indicator that a priceless moment is about to happen. Being able to snag a candid portrait of a bride and her grandma the moment they give a quick hug is truly invaluable. Having the intention of catching a key moment just like this allows it all to happen.
In addition to a photographer needing intention, there must be connection.
To tell a story, you must know the story.
It’s almost impossible to walk into an interview without knowing the slightest bit about your subject, right? So for making headshots, conducting a branding shoot, or simply taking in-home family portraits, in order to do your client justice and capture the essence of who they really are, you’ll have to make a connection.
Ask them questions about their life, their loved ones, their passions and hobbies. For most people, it’s not always easy to be in front of the camera, so getting them to talk about the things they love most will help them relax in an uncomfortable situation and also open up to you in a deeper, more connected way. Once that trust is built and you’ve heard and seen little intricacies of your subject, you can then find ways to use your craft to highlight those subtle characteristics.
When you’ve spent as much time setting intention and building a connection to your client with your camera down as you have actually pushing that shutter button, the images you deliver will have more of an authentic feel. Taking them back to that very special moment. Making them want to stand there gazing forever.