Sunday, July 18, 2010

Photo Storytelling

How do you capture and convey the essence of a place with still photographs?
Text & Photography By Mark Edward Harris Published in Shooting
Photo Storytelling


While my photographic interests are people-oriented, there are countless other opportunities for photographic exploration in the Caribbean. Divers can document their underwater experiences. Those with an interest in architecture can explore the vast array of structures, from majestic hotels such as Jade Mountain in St. Lucia to the adult playground of the Casino Royale on St. Maarten. The Caribbean flora and fauna is still another option.


We’re so fortunate to be photographers at a time when we can design a book on our computers using a variety of templates and then upload our images, and for less than $50, create a professional-looking book.

Imagine having a set of books containing your photo essays. In terms of preserving memories, as well as leaving behind a visual legacy, there’s simply nothing better. Your photo essay isn’t complete until the images are put in a form that you and others can appreciate.

Keep in mind that it’s not just the quality of the printing; it’s what goes between the covers that will determine the quality of the book. Be a good editor, put your best work in, and don’t use similar images. No one needs to see the Sphinx from three slightly different angles. It will hurt the flow of a book and bore your viewers/readers.

Printing horizontals sideways to fit in the book also will disrupt the flow. Either print them as a double page or put them on a single page, which leaves plenty of room for captions.

Speaking of text, include an introduction (one page is usually plenty). Chapters can be created if it helps the flow. For example, if I wanted to have photo essays on the people, the architecture, and the flora and fauna of the Caribbean in the same book, I could separate them by chapters and begin each of those divisions with an establishing shot and one page of text. My introduction then would link together the photo essays.

What you don’t want is a critique like the one delivered by American satirist Ambrose Bierce: “The covers of this book are too far apart.”

View more of Mark Edward Harris’ photo essays at

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