Why and How a Storytelling Will Make Your Photographs of Nature Even More Interesting – Part 1

You think that creating interesting photographs of nature boils down to defining a general photo project, to having a photographic identity or even to mastering your camera.

I think these elements are necessary but insufficient. Interesting photographs that will leave a trace always have a beautiful story.

This is what we call the storytelling.

This photograph of a 2-day old gelada required a week-long trip to the Simien Highlands in Ethiopia.
This photograph of a 2-day old gelada required a week-long trip to the Simien Highlands in Ethiopia.

The Definition of a Story

For this article about artistic photography, I will retain this definition of a story.

A story is a about events that you experienced while creating your photograph or series. It is an anecdote to entertain your audience.

As part of this article, a story will have an even wider scope.

The Definition of Storytelling

To tell the story of a photo or a series, I advise you to use the technique of storytelling. This is what I do regularly in my professional activity.

Storytelling is literally telling a story for communication purposes. This terminology is often used in marketing for advertising purposes.

In marketing, storytelling is about using a story rather than classically promoting brand or product arguments. In your case, it is a question of putting forward your photographs of nature. Your photographs are the product.

The storytelling technique should normally capture attention and arouse emotion.

In photography, storytelling uses real stories that happened to you in the field. It makes it possible to reinforce the impact of your photographs and to make better known your photographic vision.

It Is Not Always True That a Good Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

You have certainly heard this quote that says, "a good picture is worth a thousand words".

At the birth of photography and for decades, this quote was perfectly justified because the photographs were not retouched very much. Today, with the advent of digital technologies, this phrase has lost much of its meaning. Many photographs are retouched, transformed or even created from scratch with montages impossible to detect in the eye.

This practice has become commonplace. The main reason is that it is necessary to constantly create new photographs to please the greatest number. We must always go in the direction of the wider public.

Today, a large part of the actors of the world of the photography was inspired by the techniques of the commercial photography. Photography has become a way to sell products. I mention manufactured products as well as magazine articles or blogs. Everyone has something to sell either to make money or to assert an authority.

The rule that prevails today is to stick as closely as possible to the expectations of viewers to have the widest possible audience. Either we want to please and have the most "like" possible. Either you want to sell a product to make even more money.

Today, most of the photos published are retouched to tell stories that will appeal to an audience that has not enjoyed the time to appreciate the aesthetics of a beautiful image or the emotions that are conveyed.

But are these pictures interesting?

In my opinion, the answer is no. In this type of photographs, the creator did not want to show emotions, to transmit a message. He has just sided with an audience to please him and attract the maximum of people who will find his photographs worthy of interest.

I think before saying that a photograph of nature is really interesting, it is necessary to know the context in which it was created and carried out.

This is what I call the story of a photo.

For me, it has become an important judgment criterion as the impact or the presentation.

All Good Pictures Have a Story

When someone appreciates one of your photos, the first criterion of the evaluation or analysis is always the impact. The viewer is always hooked because he feels something special at the sight of your photo. This is what I call the "Wow" effect. This impact is indefinable, non-quantifiable, not explicable. This is a personal feeling. Each person feels a different impact.

Your photographic technique, as good as it is, will have no effect on this impact.

If you know how to tell a beautiful story about a photograph or a series, you will reinforce this impact a bit more. The story told is going to allow the viewer to freeze forever in his memory what he felt while looking at your photographic creation.

If you know how to tell a beautiful story, your photograph will exist not only on paper but also in the minds of all those who loved it or will appreciate it.

This story will make you create an interesting nature photography.

A Story Helps to Reinforce the Impact of a Photograph

When someone appreciates one of your photos, the first criterion of the evaluation or analysis is always the impact. The viewer is always hooked because he feels something special at the sight of your photo. This is what I call the "Wow" effect. This impact is indefinable, non-quantifiable, not explicable. This is a personal feeling. Each person feels a different impact.

Your photographic technique, as good as it is, will have no effect on this impact.

If you know how to tell a beautiful story about a photograph or a series, you will reinforce this impact a bit more. The story told is going to allow the viewer to freeze forever in his memory what he felt while looking at your photographic creation.

If you know how to tell a beautiful story, your photograph will exist not only on paper but also in the minds of all those who loved it or will appreciate it.

This story will make you create an interesting nature photography.

A Beautiful Story Allows You to Affirm Your Difference

You have realized and no doubt that creating interesting nature photographs is challenging.

The level of the photographers has become very high. Creativity remains one of the best ways to affirm your difference and be out of the crowd.

But telling a beautiful story is also a great way to distinguish yourself from others because each story is different.

When you propose a series of photographs for an exhibition, to a gallery, to a festival or for a photo contest, the choice of your story will certainly be decisive.

A Story is About Dreaming

Do not think that stories are only for kids. Everyone is like you. Everyone wants to dream.

We all need and want to go wander in the imagination.

To understand why we need to dream, just go back a few years and think back to your childhood or teenage. It is not that old.

When you were young, you certainly did not have to worry about your daily life. Your parents took care of it for you. You were fed, housed, laundered. Your only concerns should be to have good school results and have fun with your friends.

However, you liked stories whether oral or written.

Today, you are an adult. Your concerns are about your professional activities, your family, your home. Moreover, you feel concerned by all the problems of the world because the medias provide you with information all day long. Even if you cannot do anything to intervene, you think about it.

Finally, a way to escape all this ambient noise is to listen to or hear stories to escape your daily life. You want to dream.

Everyone around you has exactly the same need. In our society, we all have the same concerns. That is why when you show your photographs, telling a story will make your audience dream. Your photographs will become even more interesting.

Telling a story is a form of sublimation.

An Example of a Storytelling About a Photograph

To Read the Next Part of the Article, Click Here.

 

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