“Daniel Milnor is a professional photographer who specializes in documentaries and creates visual stories. He shares his insights on how to become a better photographer.”

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Read more about Visual Storytelling here.

Learn more in my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

 

Ira Glass of “This American Life” talks about the building blocks of a great story.

View more Creativity Videos here.

Read Creativity Quotes here.

ArrangingPDF

How you present your work may be almost as important as what work you present. It’s the art of sequencing or arranging. And it is an art, which involves specific techniques that can be learned. What are some of the guiding principles involved? Here are a few.

Sequence matters. Start strong. Finish strong. Make getting there interesting. Whether it’s a symphony, a novel, or an exhibit. It’s good advice for arranging any creative product. To sequence a project, you can use the metaphor of building a fence. The strongest pieces can be thought of as posts. The less strong pieces can be thought of as rails. You want to start and end with very strongest pieces to create a strong structure. You want to periodically reinforce runs of less strong units with one or more stronger units. You don’t want long runs of rails without posts or the structure may fail. A fence made only of posts becomes something else entirely, a wall with no variation or grace. The number of strong pieces you include determines how long a fence will be, though the number of other images you include may modify length somewhat.

Remember the golden rules of marketing; primacy (the first thing you see), recency (the last thing you see ), and frequency (the number of times you see the same or similar things). Frequency is rated first. Primacy is rated second. Recency is rated third. They’re all important. It’s all about effective memorable communication. So, the most important thing is to have a consistent body of work (frequency). The next most important thing is to start with your strongest work (primacy). The next most important thing is to finish strong (recency).

You can use classic story telling devices (like structure, proximity, pace, length, etc) to strengthen any image presentation and bring to light subtext in and connections between images that give work added depth and dimension.

In short, arranging matters.

Learn more about the art of Arranging in this free PDF.

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Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

 

PhotoEssayPDF

Every picture tells a story. Combine pictures to form an essay and your storytelling options expand. This is one way to tell a more complete story, add depth, complexity, counterpoint, nuance, show change over time, and so much more. A photo essay transcends a single lucky shot. It demonstrates committment, focus, versatility, and skills of another order. Photo essays have more definite structures, with a clear beginning, middle, and end – often with standard components that flesh out and advance a story in critical ways.

Identifying the necessary components of an essay is the first step. Once you know the types of images you need to tell your story, you’ll know what to shoot while you’re on location and maybe even when you need to be there. If you don’t identify these elements beforehand and make sure you come back with each of them, you may find you lack critical pieces. There will be holes in your story. And you may have to return to finish it – if you can.

Here’s are the classic shots used to structure a photo essay.

1            Introduction

2            Set the Stage

3            Identify the Main Character

4            Significant Detail

5            Human Interest

6            Decisive Moment

7            Outcome

8            Conclusion

You could say all other images included in an essay are just variations of these few types of images. I’d be surprised if exceptions couldn’t be found, but they would be exceptions.

Learn more about each shot in this free PDF.

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“Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling – starting at the end and working back to the beginning.”

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“In this fascinating talk Nancy Duarte explains the model that she developed for designing transformative presentations. She explains the essential qualities of an excellent presentation by analyzing the speeches of Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs. She reminds us that the only way to spread important ideas is to make sure that one is communicating his or her ideas effectively using strong presentation skills.”

I highly recommend Nancy Duarte’s books Slideology and Resonate.

Find more creativity videos here.


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