How To Use Storytelling To Make More Powerful Photographs

One of the most common pieces of advice for photographers? Tell a story! It’ll make your photographs better! It can, and powerfully. But the advice seldom goes farther than that. What does “telling a story” photographically really mean? What are the elements of story? How do they translate that to the photograph? And, perhaps most importantly, why?

While it’s true that not every photograph has to tell a story, the photographic story is an emotional hook like no other to better connect to the heart and mind of those who read your images, whether they’re landscapes, wildlife, portraits, sports, or weddings. 

For thousands of years, stories have been one of the most direct paths to our imaginations and emotions. And in those two most human places is where our photographs must connect if they are to have power at all. Stories engage the imagination and emotion by placing us in the photograph by asking questions we can’t tidily resolve, and by turning on our empathy. Stories make us care.

The Photographic Story: How To Use Storytelling To Make More Powerful Photographs from David duChemin is an extended discussion that includes creative exercises and case studies about the elements of great storytelling and how to incorporate those elements into your photographs. And to explore further thoughts about storytelling, this 45-page PDF eBook comes with a 40-minute companion video where David discusses several additional images in detail. 

When used right, the elements of story can do so much more than convey information: they can make your photographs unforgettable. 

*The companion video link is immediately accessible on the first page of the eBook.

"I wanted my photographs to tell better stories, and David's book and accompanying video showed me the components to consider to give my photographs the voice and impact they deserve. Highly recommended.” ~ Steven Denfeld

"I love this book. David succinctly and practically unpacks an often overused and misunderstood term in photography: storytelling. The clever combination of video and the written word illustrate this topic in a refreshing and easily digested manner. It has changed how I look at my photography and adds an important dimension in my quest for making deeper and more intentional photographs. Well worth my time.” ~ Ian Enright

"The Photographic Story is a book that any photographer interested in telling a stronger story needs to read. Thought provoking, introspective, and comprehensive, it's made me think more deeply about story in relation to my photographs." ~ Kate Densmore

"This was a great book! The Photographic Story gave me easy to incorporate tools and strategies to make my future images speak more clearly and tell their stories more elegantly. I have long struggled with how to tell compelling stories with my photographs, and David’s book helped me take some needed next steps." ~ Erica Everhart