How to make stories out of photos

If you think of the biggest documentary photographers, such as Henri Cartier Bresson, Dorothea Lange, and Don McCullin, they work for image-based magazines and while many of these are now (unfortunately) closed, thinking like stories that can still have a positive effect on your photography. You don’t need to be a photojournalist, to be able to make a story from a landscape or shooting rare birds for example. This time we want to share tips on how photographers create photo stories. This can be important especially if it’s for the more complicated field, like the wedding photography.


Find strong topics

This is really important, especially if you work in the documentary or travel genre. Just about everything in the world has been photographed now, but you can still find fresh corners and surprising insights.

So, instead of trying to do a photo story on something very clear and broad, focus on unique details and stories, rather than trying to capture everything about the subject.

Do background research and make contacts

After you come up with an idea, you need to make it happen. Back to the example, you don’t want to waste time trying to find the best place to go when you get there, this can all be done first.

The internet is a fantastic research tool. You might even be able to contact someone online, which can make it easier when you get there.

More importantly, you can also check what types of images have been taken before your subject; this can be a good inspiration for those of you who might want to try something different.

What should be prepared?

Each photo story is different and it depends on the genre, but for travel and documentary work that you often need to do is move quickly to keep up with actions. You don’t need to change lenses frequently. A 24-70mm f / 2.8 is a lens that is arguably a hard worker, especially if it has a vibration reduction for better results when shooting handheld, while 70-200mm or 300mm for working with distance and isolating details, such as faces in a crowd. A fast 85mm lens for portraits too. It might also be feasible to use a tripod; when photographing large religious events.