120 — How to Create Interesting Stories Through Your Photography

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #120 pro­vides tips on how to cre­ate, craft and tell more inter­est­ing sto­ries through pho­tog­ra­phy.  Some of the aspects we talk about include being active with fram­ing, hunt­ing down the ges­tures and watch­ing the edges.

I’m super-pleased to wel­come  The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  as a spon­sor of The Photography.ca pod­cast! I’ve been buy­ing my own gear there and rec­om­mend­ing them for a few years now, and I’m a fussy bug­ger when it comes to both gear and rec­om­men­da­tions. Their cus­tomer ser­vice is sim­ply awe­some and I often find that they have the best prices in Canada. They ship all over Canada.


Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bottom image however, tells a stronger story due to the dramatic gesture of the axe in the air.

Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bot­tom image how­ever, tells a stronger story due to the dra­matic ges­ture of the axe in the air, the smoke com­ing from the side of the roof and the fire­man on the right of the roof that’s fac­ing the cam­era. The top image isn’t bad, but it eas­ily loses in a poker match when it goes head to head with the bot­tom image.


Meeting - I waited in my window and actively composed this scene last winter. There is a strong suggestion of story here because the person in the background appears to be waiting for the foreground woman. I clicked the shutter only when I felt the timing was right compositionally.

Winter’s Meet­ing — I waited in a win­dow and actively com­posed this scene last win­ter. There is a strong sug­ges­tion of story here because the per­son in the back­ground appears to be wait­ing for the fore­ground woman. I clicked the shut­ter only when I felt the tim­ing was right compositionally.


Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Long expo­sure images — Photography.ca forum’s reg­u­lar assign­ment — July 2013
Macro pho­tog­ra­phy — Photography.ca forum’s level 2 assign­ment — June 2013
Lay­er­ing images with inter­est­ing ele­ments — Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #102
Shoot in any light - Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #100

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Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!


  1. Great pod­cast, Marko! I really echo your com­ments on look­ing out for ges­tures and ges­tur­ing. They bring a dynamic to an image that can really enhance story-telling. When pho­tograph­ing peo­ple, for exam­ple, I try to watch faces, hands and feet in par­tic­u­lar, and get ready to cap­ture a defin­i­tive motion or ges­ture that’s related to what that per­son is doing.

  2. marko says:

    Thanks for the com­ments Alvin and Ken — Great tips Ken, many thx!

  3. Ken Wolter says:

    I have sev­eral tech­niques I use when I find myself strug­gling with com­po­si­tion. First, I switch eyes. I am nat­u­rally a left-eyed shooter. If I switch to my right eye, I see the sub­ject dif­fer­ently and maybe find a bet­ter com­po­si­tion. Sec­ond, I press the depth of field pre­view but­ton on my cam­era. Espe­cially at small aper­a­tures, this can dra­mat­i­cally change the pre­view of the image and guide me to bet­ter com­po­si­tion. Finally, I will set my cam­era at 2 sec­ond delay before tak­ing the pic­ture. In the two sec­onds before the shut­ter actu­ates, I make last instant tiny changes in com­po­si­tion. Nat­u­rally, I would rather see the best com­po­si­tion of an image instinc­tively. But on days when this doesn’t work, these three tricks often guide me to the best shot.

  4. Alvin says:

    Impres­sive image of the fire­man with the ax and thank for the tips espe­cially on ges­tures being gold.


  1. […] our ques­tions about telling sto­ries with our images, and he answered our ques­tions on his show. In episode 120 – How to Cre­ate Inter­est­ing Sto­ries Through Your Pho­tog­ra­phy  , Marko explains the process very well.  Have a lis­ten, I’m sure it will […]

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