Why Is It Important to Make Your Photo Essay Your Own?

A photo essay is the perfect answer to your graduation or wedding scrapbook. It requires effort and some thought but can be a lot of fun as well. These examples will walk you through how to write a photo essay. I hope they inspire you to get started on your own.

Old churches, cemeteries, old houses and monuments are great photo essay subjects because you can take so many different elements into them. Try to find permission before walking on these structures; however, keep in mind these locations are often far from being completely safe. Bring multiple lenses: the long lens for big background elements and the micro lens for small, tight detail.

Try not to use too much light in a photo essay. The light has a tendency to wash out colors and lessen contrast so it is a good idea to experiment with different lighting levels and areas of the photo essay to find the right combination. You can also use silhouette effects to catch the best parts of the architectural features. Using the flash tool is a great way to create these moody or dramatic moments. Make sure your photographs are unprocessed images so you don’t have to worry about color grading or cropping.

Your photo essay should have a clear thesis statement at the beginning. This can be something like, “A series of shots were taken of my grandkids while I was pregnant. The result is a photo essay about my beautiful grandkids.” Another common thesis statement is something like, “The colors in my photography helped me to express myself.” These statements make it easier to relate to your photos and have a clear call to action.

To get more personalized photo essays, ask your photographer to take several pictures of you while you’re doing different activities. Then, edit each photo to reflect your personality. Consider using a theme to help identify which pictures will go in each chapter. For example, the first chapter could include one of you as a baby, one while you are an adult, and one more while you are older. You could then use those same pictures as the background for each particular theme throughout your photo essay.

You’ll also want to have a few dissolves where you are actually relaxing with that special someone. While there may be many that you could capture with the appropriate camera, it may be difficult to get a clear subject shot when the environment is chaotic. You can try to set up the surroundings so there is an element of calmness. A fireplace, a lake or even a peaceful bench can provide the perfect subject to create a photo essay that truly showcases your personality.

In addition to creating a unique image for each chapter of your photo essay, consider an establishing shot. The establishing shot is typically shown immediately in the text. However, in some cases you may need to demonstrate the action the camera is set up to take just before the text appears. Creating this moment in time, as well as a clear foreground, can make a photo essay seem even more personal and impressive. This example is particularly effective when it comes to parents introducing their children to the world of photography.

Other than the ability to be unique and capture something memorable, another important reason why your essay should be unique is because it should be your own work. When you submit your photo essay, ensure that you provide the photographer with a copy of the finished product. Ask that they give you permission to print it and have a copy distributed to the rest of the class or the entire school. If you are asked to give a critique of your essay, ensure that you provide the name of the instructor and a copy of your student ID. Most professional photographers will be happy to help you with constructive criticism of your essay, which will help you build personally on your photography skills.