Storytelling Photo vs Point Photo

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.5, 1/100

“When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!” sings Curly in musical Oklahoma!

This photo above is the only time on the stage during the entire musical production at Roswell High School, where the surrey is on stage. This scene captures the show’s build-up to where we see what Curly was singing from the beginning of the show promising Laurey how he would treat her on a date.

Opening Night for Oklahoma! [NIKON D5, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/250, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 600)]

This is Ado Annie Cames singing, but because I am isolating her alone, only the corn in the background helps to place this with musical Oklahoma!

This is what I call a point shot versus the top photo, which has much more information and is getting closer to helping to tell more of the story. It would help if you still had words with either photo to make its storytelling, but hopefully, you are seeing the difference between the scene establishing shot and the closeup.

Oklahoma Performance [X-E2, XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 6400, 1/100, ƒ/4.5, (35mm = 83)]

This photo of Curly and Laurey often works as well as the surrey’s shot because this particular pose is often used in posters to promote the show. Just Google “Oklahoma! Musical” and look at all the photos; you will see this style shot pop up.

Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 500, ƒ/4.5, 1/8000

Here is how I shot a promo shot versus the photo above. It is from the show. Now, while this doesn’t tell the story or have the surrey in the picture, Curly is gesturing about how the future he promises to Laurey is better than where she is now.

Opening Night for Oklahoma! [X-E2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS, Mode = Manual, ISO 6400, 1/180, ƒ/4, (35mm = 69)]

Google “Oklahoma Barn Scene” and see variations of other productions showing similar scenes. Again this is more of a point photo, but because I included more of the set, most theatre folks will know this is Musical Oklahoma!

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/200

People Need The Lord Photo

“I don’t need a lot of ‘People Need The Lord’ photos,” commented Jeff Raymond to a photographer shooting photos with him in the Dominican Republic. “What do you mean?” commented the photographer.

Jeff explained the photo style, like the Afghan girl on the front of National Geographic by Steve McCurry. This photo has had such an impact that many people think this is the “BEST” way to shoot.

Jeff coached the photographer to do in addition to a few portraits; please give me more context.

You see, the photo of the boy here could have been shot anywhere in the world.

This is a frame from a short movie clip. Notice how the kids in the foreground are close enough to give you a portrait, but including the background gives you more context. Here is the movie, and you can see what conditions I was shooting.

Please understand this blog post is not saying Storytelling Photo is better than a Point Photo. What I am saying is you need both.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 100, ƒ/1.4, 1/2000

The problem I see with many new photographers is falling in love with the close-up shot at ƒ/1.4 and centered. Then they have only slight variations of this photo in their portfolio.

If you are going to be hired over and over, you must be the photographer who gives the client more than they expected. This is why learning how to use a variety of lenses, different apertures, and shutter speeds on an assignment will have clients raving about you.

Sure, you can do OK shooting the “People Need The Lord” photo, but you are a one-trick pony show.