The adage that we are our own worst critics is often true.It can be difficult to objectively select your strongest images when creating a photo essay.Other well-made photo essays offer a new way to look at the everyday, such as Peter Funch’s much-reposted photo series for which Funch photographed the same street corner for nine years.
Strong photo essays can give voice to marginalized individuals and shine a spotlight on previously overlooked experiences.
You don’t necessarily need to be a documentary photographer to create a powerful photo essay.
These initial photos will function in a similar way to the introductory paragraph in a written essay or news article.
From there, you should consider further developing your narrative by introducing elements like portraiture, close ups, detail shots, and a carefully selected final photo to leave the viewer with the feeling you set out to produce in your photos.
Consider your opening and closing images to be the most important elements of your photo essay, and choose them accordingly.
You want your first images to hook the viewer, and you also want your final images to leave a lasting impression and perhaps offer a conclusion to the narrative you’ve developed.
Your projects can involve people you know or people you’ve only just met.
“Most projects I work on involve shooting portraits of strangers, so there’s always a tension in approaching someone for a portrait,” says photographer Taylor Dorrell.
A man sits alone on a chair on the side of the road.
We see him from above, surrounded by grey cobblestones neatly placed, a broken plastic chair, and some pylons scattered along the curb.