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Storytelling Through Imagery

There is so much more to photography than just taking pretty pictures. It is a form of storytelling and can be a great way to convey specific stories and express perspectives. Read along to understand more about it and how you can also utilize this technique.

What Is Storytelling Exactly?

The first step is understanding why imagery is used in storytelling. The most basic and yet profound answer is to convey a message or an emotion by capturing not just the present but the whole lifecycle of the subject in various images. Before we move on, remember that focal points are the key to storytelling. You will have to work with different short and long focal lengths to capture your desired result.

Focus On Small Details

When learning different techniques for storytelling, do keep in mind that the story does not always mean capturing huge and bold subjects but rather it dwells in the details. For example, a simple image cannot summarize a man’s life. But showing what he did most in his life will definitely capture the essence of it. If it is teaching it can be shown through books and teaching instruments gathered around him, if he is a laborer, his rough hands can be the main focus in the image.

Portray Contrast

Another great technique that is easy even for beginners is to portray the contrast between society. This has been used widely and yet remains one of the most powerful ways used in storytelling through imagery. The main idea is that you find a place with a slum or you can say the poorest portion of your region with a backdrop of the poshest region. This does not only convey the contrast between the living styles but also captures the whole story of inequality and poverty that has been around since we can remember.

Showcase A Journey

There are two ways in which you can use imagery to tell a story, one is single-image storytelling and the other is multi-image storytelling. Just like the names suggest, the first one is where you use only a single image to portray the whole story. And the other, is a series of images to portray a story or journey showcasing a beginning, middle, climax, and an ending. There are many different narrative structures that you can learn.

Tell A Story Through A Landscape

You might think that a story can only be presented in the presence of humans. However, landscapes can also tell fascinating stories if you know where to look. The most common example is to show the current impact of nature. You can capture the effects of global warming and even sea pollution that plagues marine life to show the results of centuries of human neglect towards nature.

The Entire Frame Is Your Playground

When practicing, you have to be mindful of the composition. The subject is your main concern but that is not the only concern. You need to be aware of the entire frame and its composition. Just like details are added, they can also be excluded to tell better stories.

Plan And Be Selective

Now, the last point to remember is that all of these are just techniques and the real world has too many variables like lighting and weather conditions. That is why it is best to always research the place that you are going to. Scout for the best angles and prepare perfect lighting before you start shooting. Researching beforehand can help you to determine what others have done at the same place so that you get a better idea of your situation.


This guide simply showcases some techniques and ideas to get you started. However, it is your passion and creativity that will make you stand out and be able to tell great stories through imagery. Alternatively, you can choose available stock content of more than 160 million at 123RF to help tell your story.


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