For over 40 years I have used the camera to capture the lives of my family and friends. The camera has been a very important tool in my professional career in public relations and advertising. I first started with a film camera and spent hundreds of wonderful/fun hours in a dark room developing and printing my on prints. Since the late 90’s I have used the digital camera extensively in to aid in my genealogical research.
I would like to share with you a few of the lessons I have learned when using the camera to tell a story through photography.
Take a sequence of pictures that conveys the main points of the project—tearing down a wall, digging a hole, shoeing a horse, taking a trip, or walking in the steps of ancestors. Include all the steps. Make a sequence by standing in the same spot and taking a series of pictures from the same vantage point at various stages of the project. Who knows, a magazine just might want to do a story on your project!
- Start with a “before” shot:
- Take a picture of your starting point before you begin any work.
- You’ll be amazed how plain the lawn looked before that garden was there.
- Include people:
- Don’t just show the project in its stages; include pictures of people at work.
- Projects that are accomplished by magic only happen in storybooks.
- Show details.
- Take close-ups of the final product—or along the way of hands putting in a screw, goldfish being released, or a paintbrush putting on the finishing touches.
- Shoot at different angles:
- Vary the level of your viewpoint.
- Kneel or crouch down, or stand on something sturdy, and see how a different angle can dramatically change the appearance of your subject.
- Fill the frame:
- Fill the frame for a close-up view of small objects or details.
- Shoot at your camera’s closest focusing distance.
- Some cameras have a close-up (or “macro”) setting or accept accessory close-up lenses. Check the camera manual.
- If the subject still isn’t big enough, you can crop and enlarge it in the editing software.
- With a digital camera shoot at the highest resolution and then crop the picture in the computer.