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Ideas For Narrative Photography


Ideas For Narrative Photography

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Narrative photography uses images to tell a story, allowing you to capture a moment in time, evoke emotion, and create a narrative that speaks to its viewers. For those looking to explore this creative form of image-making, here are some ideas for creating memorable narrative photographs. From utilizing props and funny poses to experimenting with different lighting setups and exploring unconventional perspectives, these tips will help you create unique and interesting shots that will leave an impact on your audience.


Narrative photography is a way to visually tell a story. It captures a sequence of events or moments in time, allowing the viewer to see and experience them for themselves. Here are some ideas for narrative photography.

Candid Moments

Candid moments capture natural emotions and expressions, allowing the viewer to connect with the subject on a personal level. These moments can be found anywhere, from public streets to family gatherings.

One example is the work of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who was known for his “decisive moment” style of photography that captured candid moments in everyday life. He said, “To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart.”

Another example is street photographer Vivian Maier, who captured candid shots of people going about their daily lives in Chicago and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits capture a person in their natural environment, giving insight into their personality and livelihood. They can be used to tell a person’s story or highlight an occupation or lifestyle.

Photographer Dorothea Lange’s work during the Great Depression is an example of environmental portraiture. Her photographs captured migrant workers during their daily lives, highlighting their struggles and hardships.

Another example is National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry’s portrait series “Faces of Asia,” which features individuals from various Asian countries in their natural environments.

Documentary Photography

Documentary photography captures real-life events as they occur, serving as a historical record. It can be used to raise awareness about social issues or highlight cultural traditions.

One example is photographer Lewis Hine’s work during the early 1900s, where he photographed child laborers in factories and mines to raise awareness about the issue.

Another example is photographer Sebastião Salgado’s documentary work on migration and displacement, which captures the lives of those affected by these global issues.

Narrative Series

A narrative series tells a story through a sequence of photographs. They can be used to tell a personal story or highlight a social issue.

One example is photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier’s series “The Notion of Family,” which documents her family’s struggles in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and serves as a commentary on issues such as racism and poverty.

Another example is photographer Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” series, which features portraits and stories from everyday people on the streets of New York City.

Conceptual Photography

Conceptual photography uses symbolism and visual metaphors to tell a story. It can be used to express emotions or convey deeper meaning.

One example is photographer Brooke Shaden’s work, which often features surreal imagery that explores themes such as identity and mortality.

Another example is photographer Cindy Sherman’s self-portrait series, where she uses costumes and makeup to transform herself into various characters that challenge societal norms.

In Conclusion

Narrative photography can be used in many ways to tell different types of stories. By utilizing candid moments, environmental portraits, documentary photography, narrative series, and conceptual photography techniques, photographers can express their unique perspectives on the world around them.

15 Narrative Photography Ideas & Tips

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How to Tell Stories With Your Camera
The best images do two things at once: deliver information and evoke emotion. The best way to achieve both is to make sure your image tells a story. ️ Save 10% on your Squarespace Website: I love embedding ambiguous narratives into my photographs – pulling the viewer into a story, but leaving them with …

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