– Posted by Mark

Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling and exactly how we do that (or try to do that). If you look at our wedding portfolio (and many those of many other wedding photographers) – you’ll see a collection ofepic/amazing/highlight shots – and not a storytelling series of anyone’s wedding day.

In one of our newsletters from a few years ago we wrote this:

As photographers we tell stories in a few single frames. Nothing does this better than a comic book. You want dramatic angles? Great composition? Strong images? Comic Books.

Comics rarely show everything all at once. They piece everything together in 5-6 frames per page. The better wedding photographers know this already – whether they make the connection with comic books – they already work in this fashion. Their compositions are strong and varied with many, many different perspectives – the same way comic book artists will draw – because the illustrator isn’t restricted by things such as height, or chairs, not being able to get back far enough, or low enough.

Illustrators can take whatever perspective they wish. Photographers are bound by physical barriers – but most of them are also bound by how they’ve seen the world for most of their lives – a standing or sitting position – and not closeup zooms of objects and actions – especially actions and movement.

And so our measuring stick, our test – is how well would a series of our photographs hold up as a comic book. And then from there – as a film narrative. Of course – that’s a small leap since we’d be missing some frames but our photos in a series should make a sensible storyboard of what’s going, using multiple angles, reaction shots, smash zooms, close ups, and any other compositional tools we can pull from video/film technique. Of course – within those series we need to make sure that there are some iconic/epic photos that fully stand on their own and hit the viewer like a punch in the face (in a good way.)

Because movies are just 24 frames per second strung together right?


One Reply to “Photographing Stories

  1. I love the sequence of shots. I think presentation is a lost art for a lot of photographers. One of the resounding comic artists that I really loved the look and feel of was Jim Lee. He was able to mix frames with full blown covers without missing a beat. His angles and attention to detail were second to none. I normally try to take that approach when I shoot but drawing is very different from photography. Sometimes physics limit us to what we can do.

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