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Visual Storytelling Tips For Better Photographs
Are you looking for visual storytelling tips but don’t know where to start? Well, don’t worry I have you covered.
Visual Storytelling is something that I’ve done for a while on my account now in many different forms. My ‘aesthetic’ or ‘style’ may have changed over the years, but I’ve tried to always keep the heart of my photos the same; they tell a story.
Now, this isn’t the case with 100% of the photos I do. It can be hard to come with a story for every photo, so it is sometimes good to just take a little breather and just take a photo that’s pretty for the sake of being pretty.
I’ve learnt a lot about storytelling and photography over the years, which I think in turn has made me become a better storyteller. In a way, I think learning photography techniques and storytelling go hand in hand. Visual storytelling tips are often the same as photography tips.
I’ve learnt a lot on my storytelling journey which I think could be really useful advice. But remember, everyone’s journey is different! These are just ways in which I have become a better storyteller over the years.
So here are my visual storytelling tips.
Put Your WHOLE Heart Into It
I think that if you’re not really inspired by the photo that you’re taking then it will come across in the photo. You have to really love the photo that you are taking and really ‘believe’ in it. You have to be passionate about storytelling otherwise it won’t translate in the photo!
This is the best visual storytelling tip I can give you really. The pictures doesn’t need to be perfect but you have to love it.
Become a Character
This Visual storytelling tips might sound a bit weird, but bare with me for a moment. A lot of my photos are heavily themed, so I find it a lot easier to become a character when taking my photos rather than being myself. For example, I’ll go into a shoot and think “Okay, I’m Alice in Wonderland right now, how would I pose?” or “I’m a woman from the 1940s, what would my mannerisms be?” I’ve found that this has been EXTREMELY helpful for me when it comes to posing and making the photo look more convincing.
Play to your Strengths
All of my life, I’ve been made to feel like my quietness and my introverted-ness is a hindrance. I actually found it really hard when first entering the influencer world, as many of the people I was seeing on Instagram were doing really extroverted poses that would take up a lot of space and demand attention. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all if that is who you are and what you’re comfortable with. But that isn’t me.
Once I started posing in a more introverted, quiet way, my photos immediately felt like they looked better because I was comfortable in what I was doing and the photos ended up being better received by my followers. You should never feel like you have to be someone else!
Learn about Posing
Posing and movement can really make a world of difference in a photo! It can make the photo feel more alive and vibrant. More specifically, I learnt about creating angles or shaped with my body. A good guide to follow is the ‘triangle’ method where you create triangles with your body by positioning your arms and legs in a certain way to create a ‘triangle’ shape. You don’t always have to do this in a photo, but it can definitely help if you’re feeling like the photo is a little boring.
Oh, and never underestimate the power of movement in a dress!
Teach yourself about Negative Space
There have been a few times on my grid where I’ve looked at my top 9 and thought “God, it looks so messy right now!” and that was because there wasn’t any ‘space’ in the photos. It’s super easy to create negative space, you just take the photos from further away! I feel like they look more editorial and professional this way too. Not EVERY photo has to have negative space in it of course, but it will definitely give your feed a bit of breathing room.
Sometimes, less is more.
I used to think that storytelling photos meant having loads of props in order to get the story across, but that is not the case at all. In fact, I actually prefer photos now where less props are involved as they look a lot cleaner. Props are a great way to help put a story across, but it’s very easy to get into the habit of using props for the sake of it. If it doesn’t add anything to the photo, then there’s no point in putting the prop in!
Finding your ‘Aesthetic’ Can be VERY Helpful
A few months ago, I had a bit of an identity crisis because I didn’t feel like my feed had any sort of vibe to it. I didn’t have a continuous ‘aesthetic’ and I found that, for me, it was really difficult to deal with. Some people may find this a bit limiting, and if you feel like that could be you then feel free to ignore this point, but for me it was very helpful. I usually go for a vintage, ethereal vibe to my photos, which means that I can reuse my props and outfits over and over again. It saves a lot of money, but it also keeps your photos looking consistent.
Ambiguity is Sometimes Best
In my story telling photos, I like to have a sense of mystery behind them. I want to leave the viewer feeling like they are seeing part of a story, not the whole thing. I want the viewer to feel like there is something much more going on. This is easily achievable by not looking at the camera. It’s very rare that I will lock eyes with the lens, I will usually be looking off in the distance or at a prop I’m using. This helps give the impression that the photo is a moment in time.
Realise How Important Styling is
When I first started in my storytelling journey, I didn’t really give much thought into what I would wear for the photo as I didn’t think it mattered. And boy was I wrong. I think the clothing that you wear is one of THE most important things when it comes to storytelling. It helps set up the photo, distinguish the time period, and even add to the appeal of how the photo looks.
Location, Location, Location!
I used to shy away from doing location shoots because I wasn’t comfortable taking photos outdoors around people. With age, I think I eventually stopped caring and now location shoots are some of my absolute favourites to do. Going to a location can really enhance the photo that you are taking