If you are a photographer and intend on building an audience for your brand on social media, storytelling photographically will get people's attention. It is well documented that in today's market, a strong online presence is important for visual brands to succeed. Start telling stories with your camera and art and watch your business grow.
Stories are very important to me as an artist and photographer (these are one in the same to me). Writing or capturing stories are not just what I do behind the scenes. Storytelling is my living and my future. It is important and my personal human journey. To create a story via a photo, keyboard or with paint is a joy. For me it is about expression and sharing these ideas to the world. My success relies on the creative power within the story.
There are so many image related professions that I could have chosen. My choice was to create visually. I have been a professional photographer for many years and have found success in creating a brand where storytelling is the foundation. Social media marketing has assisted in spreading my brand globally, which has resulted in fantastic exposure to the world.
We all were told stories as a child. Storytelling connects with all people, young, old, rich or poor. Life is about the connection of endless stories. Behind the scenes you will find countless creative people in all countries inventing the next story to tell their children. It is the inner child within all humans, who can tell when a story is well told.
Stories that are from the heart and well presented by a mother or father will capture the imagination of every child. There is a soulful beauty when I visualize the image of a mother reading stories to a child by a bedside light. The country, culture nor color of skin matters. Stories are about love and the connection of imagination and wonder. It is opening the door to creativity for a child. We all relate to the light of wonder the same way when given the chance.
For me, when creating a visual story, love and passion are key. But what exactly does that mean? Stories for me must come from my heart, for that is also a part of "my" personal creative brand. The stories can be varied in scope and theme. Here are a few great examples of the creation of visual stories within a picture that could provide tips and a window to why and how I bring stories to life.
This is a peak at my stories from behind the scenes. Details matter, so I hope you are listening to all of the nuances of the process of telling stories with your camera. Storytelling for your followers is an art, but what happens behind the scenes is where stories begin.
When I set out to capture a portrait of an elderly person, with a face full of wrinkles and a gleam in his or her eye, I simply want to listen and then create. This is far more than the making of a photo. The photo is the result, however what is left behind within the photo is what is most important.
For me when designing a photo portrait, the most important step is to listen. When I engage this person and listen to bits of their own life story, I also watch. There will be movement in their face as they tell their stories to me. This movement is their outward expression connecting to their own stories. It is this human nature that is visible from beginning to end. It happens in the course of telling stories.
When I photograph and or paint this person, I want the viewer to be able to see and read the beauty in their story. The image featured will provide a voice for that person. These stories will be left active for generations. It is not about profit, nor selling, nor business at this point. This goes beyond the logistics of business and touches human perspective. Their story and the image it creates in the mind of each viewer becomes my brand. The goal is to bring the movement and emotion of their story to the surface of the photo.
This method and interaction is not exclusive to visual storytelling for an individual. When creating for a family, hearing the stories of the mother becomes paramount in understanding the story of the family. Again, you must listen. Family is important and telling their life effectively brings hope and focus to what is important within their story. Making such an image is great service to a mother and family.
Storytelling by letting my own ideas be captured with my camera is also part of my brand. The stories are at the heart of what I am designing. This theme approach is quite different than the visual stories created with individuals. Here the story is the theme and the person or people within the story become part of the story. An example of this would be my Fine Art Santa images.
For me, the sense of wonder within a professional Fine Art Santa photo often defines my company, my business and me as an artist. These images and the creation of the images, come from my inner child. I have many more themes than Santa. You can find examples as I post on my Facebook page. I may be photographing with Santa, or a Fairy or a Halloween Witch. It is the stories told that hold the key. This sense of wonder in each picture is what connects with the viewer.
The theme image is complex in it's own way. One must listen and implement the rules of art including composition, color and tonal harmony, light, perspective and so on. There is a structure in play when laying out each idea or theme. This method of photo storytelling requires focus and human interaction. What happens in the set up behind the scenes is very important. Your brand depends on the story being told effectively. Magical storytelling images must look like they are real.
This is one of my favorite things to do, as my inner child has complete creative freedom to design and innovate as he sees fit. The story can unfold in all of it's wonder and exquisite detail. Your inner child will have full control of what happens behind the scene and be the director of the creation of the photo.
The stories can be then told and your followers will be thrilled. This is ultimately your brand at it's finest. It is both a person and company statement about who you are as an artist. This is how successful brands are built. Such brands garner followers as they feel the brands passion. The world can relate to the stories portrayed by such brands.
Your company and the photos created within your company can then enter into the licensing world. When brands connect visually with the world, you have found that common thread that connects us all. This happens through how accurate and realistic you can convey your stories to your ever growing followers.
Photos come and go, but images that tell a story and touch a viewer's inner child are not only worth marketing, these photos link with other brands. The power behind this storytelling ability will become the life blood and set the stage for the events of your future. Where this talent and attention to detail could lead should be your personal call to action.
If you can design your art from your heart and listen to your inner child, you can tell stories with your camera for years to come. You can then add people into your stories, as you understand how to produce these stories and make them look as if they are actually happening. The stories will take on a life of their own and a reality in the mind of the viewer. It is this that then draws out your followers inner child.
When such images are shared on social media and linked with messages or photos from behind the scenes, you will find the impact on society to be immense. People need to see what happens behind the scenes to learn more about you as an artist. At this same time, you do not want to share your trade secrets. Just offer images that provoke thought and build your brand. Brands that feature storytelling are precious to the public.
You have a set to build with purpose and meaning. The colors and tones must work with the background, floor and subjects. Listen to what your set is telling you. Listen to your inner child when he or she says something just is not right. You must see your photos before they are created. What you miss or choose to ignore, the world will not. Flawed images in the world of storytelling will be called out on social media and not necessarily in a good way.
Again, listen to the rules of art and the old masters. They will provide great guidance. When you design a set with antique props of muted colors and mid tones, do not add that big white bear with the name April on it (no offence to any Aprils reading this). Your camera is not going to tell you something is incorrect. It is up to you to listen and make the necessary adjustments.
These are all great tips for making stories via your camera, however this one tip is key. If your inner child is not wowed by your set, ideas or digital photo art, do not expect your creation or events to wow the inner child of others. If you cut corners, even though you hear your inner child screaming not to do so, and proceed with your themed photo events, you will pay a price that could actually hurt your brand.
Now you must figure out the overall gestalt of the image prior to beginning. Recently, a photographer sent me a photo of their set for critique. They wanted me to tell them how good it was as they had put a great deal of work into the design. The reality was this. There was no color and tonal harmony and the props purchased only served to compete with the subject within her images.
Fortunately this person was willing to look beyond her ego and go to school on what she created. In short, she was willing to listen and learn from the critique. Thank goodness she had not used this image in social media posts. As a matter of fact she was not about to post anything until she felt comfortable with her work.
Therein lies the lesson. Her inner child knew something was wrong. Her adult self was just not willing to listen to her own inner child. That was her problem. But she would listen to my inner child who is kind but bold. He quickly told this photographer of all the things that stood out and bothered him. My adult self told her of the technical issues.
Metaphorically speaking, when school was over, the photographer who had asked for the critique said to me, "What was I thinking? These things you have pointed out are so obvious." My response to her was to listen to her inner child more often when it comes to storytelling. Learn more of the technical aspects of lighting and composition, then create again. The next time she sent me an image for critique, the image, although not where it could be in the future, was still excellent. I knew she could start selling to her local market and had become a professional storyteller.
A photo or image that tells no story will be quickly overlooked. Or perhaps it does not tell the intended story. It could even tell the story of poor knowledge or implementation of knowledge. Whatever the story the photo tells, the maker must listen in order to improve.
As an artist, you must understand the importance of the details. The details join the entire space within your inner child's design. The end user or buyer must not experience any feeling other than wonder when he or she sees your images. In the course of viewing posts for art, it is in people's nature to question or dissect an artist's work. Friends and family may be polite and click love, but that is not what I want to hear as an artist.
If you are going to make a living and profit as an artist, you want to hear the real local perspective of your work. Your inner child will already tell you if you are willing to listen. But your local audience and followers will also have their own inner child to critique your storytelling abilities. The behind the scene details, will be either glaring to each of your followers inner child or your followers will simply fall into the wonder of the image.
This is what a professional photographer who relies on stories to make a living wants to see and hear truth. This is what storytelling brands depend on to make a profit. When you post on a page, your stories must capture imaginations and provide examples of imagination and wonder. If done well stories told in your images will provide a wondrous power and the behind the scenes details will fade into imagination and leave scrutiny behind.
Can you imagine the storytelling that would be on your social media page if the stories could be viewed and read without viewer scrutiny? Can you imagine storytelling in a way that people simply felt the wonder of events when they were a child? Connecting to the events creates a nostalgic euphoria. This will set an example to not only your local market but the world itself. Your storytelling abilities state your brand.
Some may call this professionalism and the road to profit and this may be true. I also find it to be the road to your inner child. More profoundly, it is you allowing your own inner child to touch the inner child of the world. Call it storytelling out of school.
This is why I work so hard to the details of each and every piece. Yes, I want to please each and every client. I respect them for choosing me and my art. My goal as an artist is larger. It is on a global scale. I personally believe all people, when children, respected each other and would happily play and tell stories with each other. Children have no racism, nor bigotry and there is full acceptance.
Photographic storytelling reminds all adults that we are connected as children and through wonder and love. Respect is easy and can still be shared. The more stories that can be shared through photographs the better. The more adults can access their inner child, the better. The internet is a great tool for sharing these stories and allowing the continued connection of the global inner child.
If you are a photographer and desire to be noticed in your community, you have work to do. As a master photographer and lifelong business person, I will offer you these tips. As I am writing this blog in April, 2021 there is importance to its contents. The world of image making has advanced and yet at the same time, due to the sheer volume of images and the internet, it has also taken a step back.
I have always viewed April as the beginning of spring. This is the time that hope springs eternal. Perhaps it is appropriate that I am writing this in April, for the contents of my writing are meant to inspire and share knowledge. They are to tell photographers that there is still a way to be professional and have a career doing what you love.
Clients however, have become more discerning. With the caliber of smartphone and the ability to photograph and delete until, combined with the knowledge available online, photographers must offer something outstanding. Storytelling provides an answer. It has in the past and still does today. The professional photographer who excels at storytelling cannot be duplicated with a smartphone camera. There is simply too much knowledge and implementation at play.
If you can add the ability to write poetry and offer children's story books to your clients you will get your client's attention even more. It will touch their inner child and certainly be something they cannot make on their own. Storytelling is more than a niche. It is more of a global relationship building among the inner children within your community. Touch the inner child of those in your area and you will get their attention quickly.
Be the artist in your community. Design breathtaking art that is from your heart. A great artist is passionate about their work. This comes with consistency, knowledge and application. There is always much thought, effort and work behind the scene that your clients will never know about.
Show your clients professionalism on a level and scale they have not seen before. Make the experience of working with you extraordinary. From creation to art, products and overall experience, be sure the client does not find any disconnect. The more polished your presentation, the more value your art will garner. The more attention to detail within your art, the more you will reach your client's inner child.
I cannot overstate the importance of professionalism, when it comes to making a career out of your art. To be an artist and not a starving artist, you will need to also understand and take care of the details of your business. Provide a structure for your art to be not only designed but beautifully presented.
Think of your business as a place or home for your art to be born, grow up and be a place to live until it makes it to a client's home. If you love your art, then you will want to provide an environment that is safe, practical and beautiful for your art to make it's journey to your client. This is all part of your brand and brand building.
People will buy your art if they love how it touches their inner child. They will come back to you time after time if they love and feel your brand. Your brand is YOU. It is the everything a client sees, hears, smells and feels about you, your presentation and your art. Your brand is a statement of who you are as an artist, business and a person.
Think of a brand you love. You feel that way because you respect the brand. Always ask yourself the question, "Do my clients respect and love my brand." You must be very honest with yourself. If the answer is yes, then your storytelling is not only working, the environment and ambiance around you is also touching and connecting with your clients.
Think about this article and your road as it relates to professionalism, art, photography and storytelling. How you make your art and show your brand will always be your choice. Standing out is very doable in today's marketplace. There is a place for artists who choose to create, allow stories to be told and properly touch the public's inner child.
As an artist, one of my goals is to attempt to remain relevant and impactful with my art. An example of relevant art comes with offering themes and storytelling in ways that foster imagination and memories of one's inner child. Think about your design strategy when storytelling. Could you provide more than one character throughout the year and relate to different holidays or times of year?
Another great use of storytelling is in the accuracy, detail and excellence with a portrait. The final art should simply capture the viewer's gaze and allow them to feel emotion. If this does not happen and they look at or feel the technical side of your art or photo, then the moment and emotion is lost.
You must be the judge of your own work and be honest about your ability when it comes to storytelling. If you do not feel the story, perhaps work with a mentor who shows consistency in their work. Work with a mentor who touches your inner child each time you see their work. What makes this person tick? How do they achieve this consistency time after time? Profound storytelling does not happen by accident. It is not guesswork on behalf of the artist or designer. There are always many things that have gone into their art and brand. Working with a mentor can help provide the key to unlock your artistic future.
Storytelling is the thread that links all people. It is what allows our inner child to live within us. Storytelling is the paramount to joy and happiness as it links directly to warm feelings from our past. It is nostalgia in its finest form. The more a photographer can provide this nostalgic warmth and joy in their art, the more society will understand each other.
Stories are at the heart of children, people and communities. Why do parents read stories to children at bedtime? These stories are there to teach, share and allow a child to grow. Stories open a child's imagination into a world of fascination and wonder. Many stories are there to teach specifics and are educational. Other stories are there for the child to soar into their imagination and all that is behind the scenes.
What is the storytelling power of photography and how does it affect people? The beauty of photos is the instant impact they have on a person. The photo can unveil feelings and emotions that may have lay dormant for years. The stories within a photo can be read quickly without words or sound playing a part. The photographer can share stories faster than a writer if they can convey the message effectively.
Become effective at storytelling and you will share with people and their inner child for a lifetime. As you hon your storytelling abilities, your brand will have the chance to be loved and revered. Let your inner child lead the way and tell his or her stories in a profound way. Allow your adult self to be the analytical element of supporting knowledge to help with the implementation of the stories. This will ensure they look like they are actually happening within the photos.