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There are two types of photo essays: the narrative and the thematic.Narrative photo essays focus on a story you’re telling the viewer, while thematic photo essays speak to a specific subject.
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.
Including different types of photos, shot at different ranges, angles, and perspectives, can help engage your viewer and add more texture to your series.
You don’t necessarily need to be a documentary photographer to create a powerful photo essay.
Photo essays can showcase any topic, from nature photography to portraiture to wedding shots.
He appears lonely, the only person inhabiting the place in which he seems so comfortably seated.
As the eye wanders throughout the frame, however, the viewer discovers more: a vast city cast beyond the street and behind the man’s chair.This image closes Sarah Pannell’s photo essay a quiet study of urban life.Possibilities, discovery, and stories: these are some of the most effective elements of a photo essay.While subjects and their interest factor are, well, subjective, when considering your subjects, you should ask yourself about your audience. Is my subject representative of the larger idea my photo essay is trying to convey?Your projects can involve people you know or people you’ve only just met.We see him from above, surrounded by grey cobblestones neatly placed, a broken plastic chair, and some pylons scattered along the curb.A street cat wanders out of the frame and away from the man.This gives me the opportunity to make them feel more comfortable and let them be themselves.I tend to have a certain idea in mind, but try to allow for organic moments to happen.” Depending on your theme, there are a few types of photos you’ll want to use to anchor your essay.The most natural method for choosing a topic or theme for your photo essay is to go with what you know. Whether that includes people, objects, or the things you think about throughout the day, accessibility is key here.Common topics or concepts to start with are emotions (depicting sadness or happiness) or experiences (everyday life, city living).