Log in
Updated few hours ago

How to take photos that tell a story

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. This richness in meaning contained within each photo is what makes photos a powerful medium of communication. No wonder, today photos have become a must-add to most corporate publications.

With great power, however, comes the need to exercise great caution lest instead of conveying a thousand meaningful words, your photo may relay a thousand confusing or even meaningless words.

When a photo fails to show the object(s) that make up the story it is telling or if it is not clear due to poor lighting or poor focus, its a thousand words turn into noise.

Here are three tips for professional photography to enable you to take clear photos that effectively communicate to your audience.

1. Have enough light

Light is to photography what a customer is to a business - it is king. You cannot have photography without light because photos essentially capture how light illuminates objects.

Before taking a photo, you must assess the available light to understand what direction it is coming from and how much of it is falling on your object of interest. For direction, make sure that the light rays are moving towards the object(s) you want to photograph not the camera.

If you are using natural light (i.e. sunlight) and it's brighter than you desire for your photography, then find another time of the day when it is not so bright. Alternatively, adjust your camera's sensitivity to the light using its ISO knob.

If the natural lighting is not enough, you can always supplement it with artificial lights.

2. Always capture objects of interest

A good photo should tell a story. And for each photo, there are certain key objects (including people) that must appear in it for its story to be complete. Those objects are what constitute the object(s) of interest for your photo.

For example, if you need a photo that tells a story of how a family constructed a house using a loan they received from your organisation, then your photo must show both the family members and the constructed house. A photo with the house alone takes the family out of the story you want to tell while a photo with the family alone leaves the house out of your story.

If it is an event, you should, along with the objects of interest, identify the must-capture moments and make sure you do not miss photographing the objects in action at that moment. For example, if it is a project launch event, then you cannot afford to miss capturing the moment when the guest of honour cuts the cake or unveils something to mark the project launch.

3. Have clear focus

To appreciate the importance of focus in photography, take a moment and do this very simple exercise. Place your pointing finger in front of your face and do these two things. First, focus and look only at your finger. Then, slowly, take your focus off your finger and look at whatever is beyond your finger (in its background).

Did you notice how the background was blurry when your eyes focussed on the finger and vice versa? That is exactly how cameras work.

After identifying your objects of interest (as explained in the tip above), always adjust your camera's focus/lens until the objects of interest are crystal clear on your camera's photo preview screen. Even if your camera has an automatic focus function, before taking the photo, check and ensure that its lens has focused on your objects of interest and not other things that may be in your environment.

Next time I will share tips on how you can gather quality communications content for your organisation using videography.

The author is a communications expert

Comments are now closed for this entry