What makes a good photo? Often the common answer is: It tells a story. Stories come in all shapes and sizes. Storytelling through photos can be done in one single image, or in a series of images. In newspapers you will find an abundance of storytelling via photos. It is the primary goal of journalism photography, one image to capture the essence of an accompanying written story. The same is true for stock photos, also needing to illustrate an accompanying magazine story, advertising campaign and other needs for a photo illustration. But they have one essential difference compared to journalism photography.
Leave Room for Interpretation
Storytelling photos focus the viewers attention and leads the viewer on a small journey inside the photo. Often the photo leaves room for interpretation, allowing the viewer to complete the story. For stock photography it is important to leave much room for interpretation, since the usage of the photo will need to suite a large variety of usage.
Create Multiple Expressions
Make the most out of one photo shoot. Can the same setting tell multiple stories? Experiment with different emotions, use different composition techniques and shoot from multiple angles. For example, shooting from below makes a person easily look confident, shooting from above can make them look vulnerable.
The website Feature Shoot is a great source of inspiration for photo series that tell stories.
The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography is a good book and starting point for developing your own approach and expression for telling stories through photos. It is considered one of the cornerstones in the world of art photography, and can help anyone (amateur, intermediate or advanced) find their personal approach for telling stories in photos.