Storytelling?–I don’t think so

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/250


I don’t think portraits tell stories, but are part of the story. For the most part most portraits are the nouns of a sentence. For a complete sentence you need a verb.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 280, ƒ/5.6, 1/250


Yes this photo has a subject and a verb that makes it storytelling. However the one photo often lacks all the elements in a complete story. This is where caption can help make up the missing parts.

Most storytellers agree you need five elements for a story. The five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme.

Subject vs Author

Great storytelling is when you never notice the author/photographer. However today I would say too many people who think they are doing storytelling it is all about the author/photographer.

I love this photo of my wife and I with the founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy. I love telling the story of how Truett’s son Bubba asked me to give him my camera to take the photo.

This is what I think our generation is over emphasizing as storytellers. The story becomes more about look at who I am with and what I am doing. Don’t you wish you were here?

Sure take these photos and even share them on your social media, but don’t let these replace storytelling where you tell the story of the subject.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 10000, ƒ/5, 1/100

This young lady is peaking in and seeing does she want to be a part of this brand new Young Life club at the Rancho el Paraíso located in the Agalta Valley of Honduras. Inside the room Daniela Tereza Perez is talking to the other youth. HOI helped bring Young Life to their campus to help reach the youth in the area.

If I do my job just right I had you clicking on HOI to learn more. I am pulling you into the story.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 450, ƒ/8, 1/250–off-camera flash using the Neewer TT850 flash & Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger

In my opinion–Don’t confuse a nice portrait with storytelling. It is a noun that needs help to make it a story.

Think of it this way–if you are telling a good story then everyone who sees it will take away the same story. They may be impacted differently, but they will be able to tell the story. Looking at a portrait of a person allows each person to make up what they think the story is all about. 

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