In the past couple of years, media has taken over our lives. From the usual TV channels to the traditional movies we are now standing in a place where anything can happen. Our world has advanced technologically in many ways. We can now do anything just by sitting at home and having the right equipment. This equipment which was thought to be very expensive before can be easily bought now with a little saving. You can do anything that interests you. There are so many fields and options to choose from. Some people have an interest in photography. In the past, getting famous for photography was very rare as people did not get to witness the magic that photography is. But now that social media has grown and people can easily post their work of art on internet one can get popular really easily. There are many different ways you can use photography. One of these ways is called a photo essay. A photo essay is not as complicated as it sounds. It is actually a collection of images and photographs designed and put together in a way that a brilliant story is being told through them. It can be any happening or any feeling being expressed from the beginning to the end. It is used by many famous journalists in their writings. To give you a clearer idea, it can be said that a photo essay is just like any other normal essay, just that instead of words you use pictures to describe the scene. The characters, the settings, the actions- everything is depicted by photographs. The verbs and the nouns and the adjectives are all the colors in the pictures. If you are new to creating photo essays then you must read on to understand how to write them and make them perfect.
The first and foremost point to remember before starting your photo essay is to do your research. You have a topic- what do you know about the topic? Is it something common or is it something unusual? You must answer these questions before starting your work. Take a paper and write down all the points that come to your mind related to your topic. Make up a story first so that you know what things you have to include in your essay. Just like the normal essays you write this essay will also have an introduction, a main body and a perfect conclusion. For example if the topic is “Sweet Sixteen” you should spend time with the birthday girl/boy before the actual party day. Document their shopping and preparation days. Then document the whole birthday from the morning to the last person leaving the party. After that take one or two photographs of the day after the birthday. You must be well researched so that you can produce an excellent story and photo essay.
You are a photographer. The only thing you have is a camera. This camera will make your photo essay. The only thing you can do wrong here is to take very less pictures of the things you need to add in your photo essay. That is why we appreciate shooting everything. You can never go wrong if you have extra pictures but if you do not have enough pictures then your work will be left incomplete and will be very abrupt. An abrupt essay is no fun to read. Everything is jumbled up in it and nothing makes sense. Similarly in a photo essay if the story is abrupt then your reader will not understand the main story clearly and a beautiful thing will be destroyed. Do not be shy when taking pictures. It is your work and right to take pictures. The people you are shooting might get tired by the end of you work but that only means you are doing your job well and that the photo essay will be exceptional. Trust me, the people will not complain once they see what you have produced. You need supporting images to compliment your real story. Keep this in mind too so that you do not focus only on the main things. The sidelines can sometimes make great stories too.
What most photo essay writers do not do is add emotions. They have perfect pictures but those pictures do not really have any feel to them. They just show images of the things that everyone can already see. You as a photographer and as a writer need to take shots which show emotion.
Anger, joy, guilt, remorse- depict these feelings using colors and angles. Of course, the people in the picture play a main part in showing these emotions too, but you cannot guide them all the time. Leave them to their natural habits. You should capture the scene in a way that shows all and communicates with the audience.[caption id="attachment_28" align="alignnone" width="750"] Clarence Chew, Ning Gao, Hu Li, Zi Yang, and Jian Zhan of Team Singapore celebrate with their Gold Medals after winning the Gold Medal in the Men's Team Table Tennis Final between Singapore and England at Scotstoun Sports Campus during day five of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on July 28, 2014 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_31" align="alignnone" width="750"] Victims of a Japanese bombing raid over Singapore sit suffering in the street next to a rickshaw.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_33" align="alignnone" width="750"] A sorrowful Freba Memon, center, wife of Singapore airlines crash victim Fuad Memon, of Aliso Viejo, is comforted by her brother Najib Yakob (Cq), right, during the burial at Melrose Abbey cemetery in Anaheim. Freba holds a container of holy water called Zamzam which she earlier sprinkled on the grave of her husband.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_34" align="alignnone" width="750"] A shoe cobbler works along the pavement at the Raffles Place financial disctrict in Singapore on March 24, 2016. Singapore's finance minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver his first Budget statement in Parliament on March 24. / AFP / ROSLAN RAHMAN[/caption] [caption id="attachment_35" align="alignnone" width="750"] People play at a programmable water play features on March 19, 2016 in Singapore. Singapore is expected to experience a drier and warmer weather in the coming fortnight where temperatures could reach a high of around 36 degrees Celsius due to El Nino and the occurrence of the equinox according to the advisory issued by the National Environment Agency.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_36" align="alignnone" width="750"] A surrender party from the British forces is escorted by a Japanese soldier to their Headquarters in Singapore. They carry the white flag as well as the Union Jack. Lieutenant-General A E Percival (1887 - 1966) is the figure on the extreme right of the picture.[/caption]
Just like you write a first draft in any English essay, you must also make up a first draft of your photo essay. This first draft does not have to be perfect. It should however tell the main story and should have a sequence to it. When you are done with this first draft, go through it and find the things you think are perfect in it and the things that can be improved. Write them down. Edit your work. Show this new work to a friend or some senior who can analyze your work. They can better judge it and will tell you further if things can be improved. You should show them the other images that can be used too so that if a better replacement can be found then use that. Once you have done this, move on to finalizing your work. Edit it properly. Retouch it and you are good to go. Your photo essay is ready.