Learning something new: Visual storytelling through lifestyle photography

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Over the last couple weeks I’ve become slightly obsessed with everyday lifestyle photography. Particularly the branded lifestyle photography I’ve seen online and in seasonal advertising magazines. (My favorite zine at the moment is Toms fall 2018 collection)

Around the same time my obsession for lifestyle photography began to form I realized that all the content I consume focused heavily on storytelling. It’s in the anime I watch, music, books I read, photography, and the podcasts I listen to. I love a good story, and I wanted to give my photography journey a stronger direction by learning to combine lifestyle imagery with visual storytelling.

To do this I’ve been taking various online photography classes. Online classes have been great for me because I learn best with visuals combined with talking points that have been broken down into bite sized bits of information. I especially like when the classes include an complimentary assignment with the lessons. This is some of what I’ve learned from one of the classes I've taken.


Learning to tell better visual stories through photography

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4 tips for telling better stories

Take only what you need

Taking more than what is absolutely necessary can become an unwelcome distraction. Fussing with extra equipment will take away from the task at hand which is capturing strong images to tell a story. Instead of maximizing the potential of the tools you have with you, you can begin to stress about how to use ALL the things. Plus you will have to spend valuable time remembering what you brought with you to the shoot. 

Do some research

Before leaving the house to go on a shoot, do some research on the location you’re going to or the products you’re shooting. Take some time to think about where you are going to be, and what the environment will be like. What are the constraints of the environment? Who or what is your subject? What will the object look like, and how big is it? Will you be doing an environmental or studio style shoot? Are there lighting concerns? Doing some research will better prepare you for the shoot, and will give you a better idea of the equipment you’ll need to get the work done.

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Make a shot list 

Making a shot list before the shoot is helpful for a couple different reasons. First it’ll give the shoot direction and boundaries. Second it’ll help you stay calm if your mind goes blank because you took the time to make a list that will remind you of the most important moments you want to capture while on a shoot.
To make a shot list take some time to sit down and think about the kind of story you want to tell.  After that write out a list of the shots you want to get in order to tell that story. If you're having trouble coming up with a list browse Pinterest or your inspiration library for similar content, and use those images as a starting point. 

Different types of images help tell a story

Wide shots: set the scene and tell the viewer where the subject/object is. Wide shots can also set the mood of the story.

Atmospheric shots: Live wide shots Atmospheric shots can also set the mood of the story

Detailed shots: Detailed shots can act as transition elements or they can pull the viewers deeper into the story you’re telling

Portraits:If there are people in the shoot, portraits can give the viewer a better understanding of the story. How is the person interacting or not interacting with their environment? What is their mood, and how does it affect the overall scene? How do they affect the viewers experience of the story as a whole? 

What have you been learning lately?

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