Telling Stories Through Pictures – Wedding Photography
Being able to tell a story through images is one of the best things about photography.
That storytelling is one of the reasons why I really enjoy wedding photography. The industry has changed over the past few decades to include a more journalistic and storytelling approach to wedding coverage, and I think it is a wonderful way to capture all the emotions and beauty of a wedding day.
How do you tell the story of a wedding through photos though? Let’s take a case example to explore.
The image above shows an invitation. It let's us read the time and place, which allows us to create a setting.
Once the setting is created, I want to see some of the details. What does the Wine Cellar look like? A few select details will help flesh everything out.
The stage is set, and now we can see our stars move through the story. The beginning of our wedding starts with the bride as she gets ready for her big day.
After getting ready, we head to the cellar and the procession starts. The ceremony is happy and beautiful, and emotions are high.
After the ceremony, everyone congregates in the wine cellar for food, fun, and dancing!
The night ends with fireworks as well, quite literally and an appropriate ending to a beautiful day.
Without even being there, photography lets you experience a beautiful story.
Now we certainly could have added more photos to this story or left it to only two or three. There are a few points you should consider when deciding how long of a photo story you want to make:
First, consider how you plan on displaying your photo story. Will it be online, perhaps in a print album, or maybe in an art gallery hung on walls? Photos are viewed for a different amount of time in different settings. Someone may be fine with spending 3-5 minutes in front of a photo at an art gallery, but they are not likely to spend that much time looking at a photo on their phone or computer screen.
After you have decided how you want your photo story to be displayed, consider how long you want your story to be. Try to keep things on the shorter side for digital mediums. Photos can convey a lot of meaning and information very quickly.
A wedding might be appropriate for about 5 minutes on a computer or TV screen. I used 20 images in the above example. This puts a 5 minutes story at about 15 seconds per photo. That may sound short, but it is plenty of time for readers to explore all the details of the photos without boring them.
Telling stories through photography is exhilarating! Try it yourself sometime. Find an event that you can cover or come up with a story you want to tell. Stick to shooting details and consider how long you want your story to be so you know you can take enough photos.
For a challenge, try and see if you can tell a story with different numbers of photos. If you want to check out some high quality stories, check Time Magazine puts together a list of the best recent photo stories every month.