Blogtog Journal #4: What's the Story?

January 21, 2012

By Katrice

I think I knew this in the back of my mind, but it took photographer John Stephens to say it for it to shift to the forefront: The story of a blogger photo is key. 

I know that we {bloggers} love a good outfit. But, how many times have you been scrolling through images in a post and started to wonder what the difference was in the shots after like four or five?  I'm definitely guilty of having a discovered a look that I love, having it photographed ... and getting so caught up in the shots that I don't want to edit the photo story that I'm constructing. And I'm an editor, for goodness sake ... I believe every story can use some editing. 

So, where do we begin with our blogtogging? According to John, the same way a writer conceptualizes his writing: 
Questions that the reader will ask while looking at your images are the same questions you should be asking yourself while trying to relay your message visually.
What does this image say and does it match up with what you had in mind for your blog?

I don't even know that I had ever asked myself these questions before he said I should. But, before telling me, he had me take a photo of him.

{My photo}

I was focused on lighting and composition {see Blogtog Journal #3}. Little did I know this was a lesson in Environment

"Your subject can be in place, your lighting could be spot on, but if your background is distracting it could ruin a potentially great photo," John said. And that's exactly what you see in my photo. I should note here that my class was held in his very industrial studio and so there was a lot to work with for environment. 

His tip: Looking around to find the best background is always a simple but under-used technique for finding the best angle. Know that everything can be considered: the walls, the ceiling and even the floor. Move around your subject and find the best perspective within your surroundings. There are also times when the environment can assist you in telling the story which connects your readers further to your written words. 

{John's photo}

When I saw John's photo -- I realized the strength of what he said about using the walls and ceiling. I could imagine this angle being used to depict a gallery owner. So, by the time I got to the photo at the top focusing on The Book of Photography, I understood that my camera was hardly ever the problem -- but all of the elements that go into executing a good photo. 

His parting words: Just as important as it is for your writing to be clear and concise, the same applies to your images. They are extensions to further connect your readers with your intended focus. Incorporating good composition, {*an engaged subject,} proper lighting, and good use of your environment can make for a great compliment to the actual written story. Look at it as if your blog were the pages of a magazine and the photos you take    the cover images that entice the reader to read it.

Happy blogtogging!

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