Beginners’ guide to composing a brief and simple photo story

//Beginners’ guide to composing a brief and simple photo story

Brief simple photo stories – Visualizing the story and accordingly shooting appropriate photos.

Photo stories till date remain one of the highest forms of story telling. Incidents portrayed in the form of a series of well composed, content rich photos, while aesthetically pleasing, continue to be one the most attractive and arresting form of documentary.

The power of illustrations, even when simplistic, is self evident.

I did this simple photo story on road layers as part of one of my projects. A common enough occurrence…..but several photos documenting the process of work and the people when strung together complete a short and simple story which can be interesting.



Forming a photo story starts with deciding upon a theme. 



A carefully chosen researched theme is almost immediately appealing. Even commonplace occurrences when presented well can be interesting.

Right mix of portraits, environment and activities.

A story needs to document snippets of a lot of things. People, environment and some of the important activities that these people engage in.




Some information regarding the protagonists is always welcome. Its better to ask around, to engage in conversations, to know the relevant details about the process being photographed. This kind of information can influence how you finally present the story.




One shoots a lot of photos while looking for a story. But proper curation to include the best and the most relevant photos is of utmost importance. Repeatedly view your photos to decide upon which appears to be the best.



Be sensitive to local customs and processes. If and when possible it’s always better to ask for permission from individuals before photographing them. Identify off limits areas.

Before being unduly insistent on gaining access to forbidden and restricted areas, be patient for a while. Utilize that time to build up a rapport with people who frequent such areas. Recklessness almost never pays.




I personally prefer to carry two camera bodies, one with a mid zoom fast lens usually a 24-70mm and the other with a telephoto lens usually 70-200mm.

If the situation warrants so a wide or ultra wide might be necessary to take in the environment.

By |2019-02-22T06:59:35-08:00February 22nd, 2019|Categories: How-to Tips|2 Comments

About the Author:

I have always believed photographs tell stories in a way nothing else does. This has drawn me to explore photography as a visual story telling medium. I started off as a hobbyist shooting on the streets and freezing daily urban life in my city Kolkata, India. Over time my work expanded to include documentary photography and photo-stories. Eventually I went on to complete a diploma in photojournalism and a course on commercial photography. My capacity as a photojournalist allows me to cover events, festivals and public gatherings. Though I regularly do food and portrait photography as part of my commercial engagements, street and human interest continue to be closest to my heart.