Tell A Story With Your Images

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
Many times I read photographers that talk about telling a story with an image.  I do get that concept and think it’s a good idea, but it is not something that I ever think about when I’m lining up a subject to shoot.
Maybe in macro there are not as many stories to tell in our images.
When I view all my images I don’t see very many stories.
Maybe with other styles of photography it’s easier to find and tell a story within the image.
I wonder when you have an image that tells a story, how many people are really able to see a story or are even looking for a story in the image.
I think photographers tend to look for a story because they have been taught that concept, but I wonder how many non photographers are able to see the story or even look for one.
I guess I really don’t worry about trying to tell a story with my photos, I just hope that the people viewing them find the subject matter and the composition appealing.



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  1. Victoria Acklin says:

    I totally understand what you are saying. I have been in some of those classes and a winner was announced. I agree with you; the only one trying to find a story was “da Judge”.
    Actually, when you think about a story, nature images including macro tell a story of the past year I guess. How the weather treated them or the fact that the cute little wildflower survived mowers and people stomping all over them. Ha!
    Why worry about a story? Ridiculous! I just wanna know how you got this gorgeous shot today and what I need to do to find one.

  2. Mike Moats says:

    Victoria, It’s just a simple seed head from a Goatsbeard flower. Move the camera in super close and use the smallest f/stop number on your camera. The processing look is from Topaz Impressions.

  3. Jeff Morett says:

    I understand as well. Perhaps some things lend themselves to telling a story better than others. I recently posted a photo on the ‘Best Shot’ page which was a Purple Heart in my hand. I really didn’t set out to ‘consciously’ tell any kind of story but it seems from the comments that I had. What people perceive when they look at a photo or other art is something that I always find of interest.

    • Mike Moats says:

      Jeff, yes sometimes we have a story in an image but don’t see it until someone points it out. That has happened to me with a couple images, but I didn’t see it.

  4. dmcphotog says:

    Telling a story with your images is an art form all of it’s own. It’s not a taught skill or even a learned skill. It’s an ability some are blessed with. Like having the “eye”. Or like you amazing ability to see abstracts and your compositional ability. I see stories when I shoot. Not always. Because there aren’t always a story to be told. But when there is a story I usually am able to capture it. I will probably never see abstracts like you do. 🙂

  5. Kelvin Taylor says:

    From my point of view the story telling part of a image really depends on the subject. A person or animal in a certain scene can give you a sense of what’s happening, but closeups and macros are more to show fine details rather than a larger vision in a landscape. I get more out of a image if the photographer tells me how it was created than just the image alone. Telling the story how a photo was captured is the real story I read.

  6. Jeff B says:

    I consider telling a story to include conveying an emotion or feeling or even it just looks cool. The “story” is different to each viewer based on their past and experiences. This is often very different than the photographer’s idea of the photo. I personally remember the story behind getting the photo, like I slid down this huge embankment into the stream, just barely saving my camera, right befor I took this shot.

  7. Bekah says:

    I have the opposite problem… I have so many stories it’s hard for me to narrow it down. I’ve faced many challenges since I started a project on my blog to create a new photo every week and write 100 words about it. The biggest challenge is to write so little… you know the cliche a photo is worth 1000 words!!!

    There’s the behind the scenes story, which may seem trivial to the photographer, but to an outsider every bit of the “how to” is interesting – as I’m sure you realize, Mike. Then there’s the after-impressions. What do I feel when I look at the finished product? Does the image invoke a memory? Was the photo made to convey a message? Sometimes I even write poetry relating to the image I made.

    I’m not sure which part I love more, making the image or telling the story… I really can’t decide. But I believe there are dozens of stories for every photo. Just like there are dozens of photo opportunities surrounding you at any given moment.

  8. Carl Helzing says:

    Mike: Here is that site I told you about. Carl F. Helzing

    From: Mike Moats To: Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2015 5:01 AM Subject: [New post] Tell A Story With Your Images #yiv4367187027 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4367187027 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4367187027 a.yiv4367187027primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4367187027 a.yiv4367187027primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4367187027 a.yiv4367187027primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4367187027 a.yiv4367187027primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4367187027 | Mike Moats posted: “Many times I read photographers that talk about telling a story with an image.  I do get that concept and think it’s a good idea, but it is not something that I ever think about when I’m lining up a subject to shoot.Maybe in macro there are not as many ” | |

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