I’ve been trying to mix in some posts now and then that relate to storytelling as opposed to picture taking. The great photographers of our time are all good storytellers. But this word storytellers stumps or scares some of you. You’re looking for a definition you can apply to photography. It’s not quite that easy, […]

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A few weeks ago at ReFrame San Francisco, I had a chance to listen to Kevin Shahinian. I was very impressed with his ability to talk about storytelling in a meanful way. His films are fantastic. My favorite is his Bollywood wedding video which I guarantee you will stick with you after you watch it. […]

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Yes – that is the strangest title for a blog post I have ever written. But stay with me. There’s a genuine point here. When I talk about “storytelling” instead of picture taking, I am trying to convey the concept in a way that causes photographers to stop, slow down and think about what they […]

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Jeff Greenfield wrote a piece last week for the show “CBS Sunday Morning:” “Whether on a TV screen or computer or cell phone or toaster, the fundamental things still apply (or should). A love of story-telling, a love of clear, vivid language, a respect for history – the world didn’t start five years ago, even […]

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I look at a great deal of photography. I like to look at photos for many of the same reasons that writers like to read. It helps me get better at my craft.

I encounter lots of vision-related photography problems (and I am NOT talking about the fact that I now need both driving AND reading glasses!) I see photos where I am not sure what the photographer was trying to accomplish. In those cases I like to play doctor and I have a simple prescription: Become a storyteller rather than a photographer.

Why tell stories with your camera? Well, for one thing, people who look at pictures will enjoy looking at a story over a snapshot any day. Telling stories with your camera forces you to slow down and think about what you are doing. What is it about this scene that makes you want to make a photograph? What moves you or attracts your eye? Is there a point of view that you want to capture and preserve?

Asking these types of questions will almost always lead to a better photograph. In fact, if you just want to do ONE thing THIS YEAR that will significantly improve your photography, do this – tell stories rather than take snapshots.

If you need help getting to the point where you are a storyteller, you can use a vision exercise that I talked about in episode one of our show called SAS – which stands for Subject, Attention, Simplify.

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