Photo Essay Tutorial

For example, if you are making a photo essay of your local park, try including one of the park benches, a drinking fountain, or a flowerbed in your wide compositions rather than taking just a wide shot with no main focus.Medium shots are best composed with one main subject as the focus, and including relevant aspects of the location as well.This is difficult to capture because I have no control over what’s happening.

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When you’re shooting your photo essay be aware of the overall tone and feeling of the situation you are photographing.

Become a part of it, not an outsider with a camera, and you will produce more intimate, interesting photographs.

Including some of their surroundings supports the theme by developing the context of my story.

Showing the mango vendor with her cart, produce, scales, and umbrella helps build the essay more than if I was to crop in tight and to make a portrait of only her.

The neatly stacked fish in the blue plastic tub, the basket of (live) frogs, the bundle of soup ingredients for 5 baht and the bunch of flowers made from pandan leaves all add variety and interest to my market photo essay.

If you’re photographing a birthday party your close-up shots may be of the detail on the cake, some of the wrapped or unwrapped gifts, or tightly cropped happy children’s faces.Find a good location where the lighting and background are pleasing and you will not be obstructing anyone, and shoot a lot. Watch and see the flow of what’s happening and anticipate the best time to shoot.If your chosen subject is more static you might want to include a single prominent feature in some of your wide shots.Think about the five “W” questions – who, what, where, when, and why.Answering them with your photos will build up a very good impression for someone viewing your photo essay or picture story.You may like to choose a narrative structure and tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end.To follow a narrative storyline at the markets I could choose to follow someone who arrives to do the buying for their restaurant, follow one of the porters who haul produce for shoppers or spend time with a vendor documenting their daily routine.By shooting these three image types you will build up a broader perspective on your subject.At a market, I’m always looking to capture a great wide shot showing the lively hustle and bustle and feel of the overall vibe of the market.I frequently encourage people who attend my photography workshops to approach the day as though they have been assigned to shoot for a magazine editor and need to provide a strong series of images for a photo essay.One of the locations we visit is the local fresh market here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, so I’ll use images from this market to illustrate the point in this article.


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