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Photographers need to remember it isn't just about the moments that will get them hired. In other words just having images will lack the most important part of getting jobs.
For photographers marketing ourselves is no longer about the photos we make, but the stories we tell that will help us seal those deals.
This is a great insight by John Steinbeck about a great story, “If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar.”
The Five Essential Elements Of A Story - Katie Kazoo says, “A story has five basic but important elements. These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow.”
- Character – This needs to be developed so that we can feel like we know this person. We can picture them and how they would dress, walk and talk.
- The Setting – Great writers like Pat Conroy who does such a great job of writing that if you had never been to Charleston, SC you would recognize it from just reading some of his books.
- The Plot – This is how you sequence the events of a story to keep the reader on the edge.
- The Conflict – This can be internal or external and often is a little of both for the main character.
- The Resolution – offer a fitting conclusion, which can be a tragedy or a comedy
This is a great example here of creating a setting for the story by South Carolina's famed writer Pat Conroy as he describes Charleston in his 2009 novel, South of Broad: "I carry the delicate porcelain beauty of Charleston like the hinged-shell of some soft-tissued mollusk. . . . In its shadows you can find metal work as delicate as lace . . . it's not a high-kicking, glossy lipstick city."
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Photography can help in creating these five parts of the story. They can help show what often is difficult to tell without a lot of words.
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To me I am looking for those moments where the expressions on people's faces is what writers often spend pages trying to create using just the text. I often see photos as packing in even more information than the writer attempted.
When you go to see a movie that a writer's book has been turned into, you will notice over and over where screenwriters, directors and producers must include so much more in the frame of the lens that isn't even described in that type of detail that the camera is giving to the audience.
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Throughout my family vacation I was capturing slices of the memories that will be part of the stories we tell as a family in the years ahead.
When you look at your images that you captured this holiday did you capture slices of the story?
Many will always say yes, but I want to challenge you. Take a moment and think of what the story was this Christmas for your family. Now without thinking of your photos can you just tell the story? Then after telling us the story how many photos do you have that will support this story?
You don't start your storytelling by just clicking randomly. You start with the storyline in your mind.
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
– Brandon SandersonMarketing yourself with story is creating the questions for the client to realize they don't have answers to and they need some help. That help is you!