What Is Photo Essay?
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Today, photo essay is becoming more and more popular not onlyamong journalists, bloggers, and advertisers, but also amongstudents who want to prepare a creative project at college.Whether you try to demonstrate the emotional component of anynews story or tell about your hobby, photos can interestinglyreveal the chosen topic from a special individual and emotionalperspective. Preparation of the photo essay requires you tochoose a specific topic, photo process, and organization ofphotographs in the right sequence.

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Choosing a Story

If you want to tell an interesting story with photos, check outthe current events and news. They can be an amazing foundationfor your project. People, who know the topic chosen by you atleast a little bit, are of great significance because thanks tothem you will have an audience that will be interested in seeingyour pictures and learning more about the story. The theme can besimple such as holiday shopping or complex such as the pollutionproblem in the world. If you are interested in learning moreabout the topic you have chosen, then probably there are otherpeople who want the same.

The other option in finding an interesting theme is to check thecalendar of upcoming local events. School events, charitygatherings, annual open festivals – all this can become aninteresting topic for the project. If you talk with theorganizers of the event in advance telling them about yourproject, you may even get their agreement to publish your work ontheir official website or in a local newspaper.

You may also want to dedicate your essay to your work or yourfavorite hobby. You know these topics well enough so it will beeasier for you to plan a thoughtful paper. Take pictures of yourworkplace and the people you work with. This will not only helpyou get to know your colleagues better and the work process butit can also lead to the fact that the essay will become a goodpromotional material for your company.

Hobby is another great topic. Such an essay will interest yourfellow hobbyists and those who are still dreaming of doing it.With the help of photos, you will tell others interested in yourhobby about your hard work and the pleasure that you get from it.

  • Try to prepare a training photo essay on the productionprocess at your workplace.
  • Use the essay about your company as a sales tool orpromotional material by publishing it on your website or on asocial networking page.
  • Create an essay about the sequence of actions to be performedso that other people can learn your hobby and also get carriedaway by it.

Another important point is to find an interesting object forshooting. When you have several ideas ready, think about how theycan be expressed in photographs to present them to the public.Think about such objects of shooting, which will be easy to shootand present from the most interesting point of view. Moreimportantly is to choose objects that will inspire you. There isa chance that the object that interests you will be interestingto the others.

Understand the target audience. Ask yourself: “Who wants to seeyour project?” When it comes to choosing objects for photography,it is very important to consider the audience. If you know whowill see your project, then you will be able to choose suchobjects that are of interest to these people. Even if you do notyet have your own audience or a specific place for publishing aphoto essay, it is important to try to consider the interests ofthe potential audience when choosing the objects of photography.Many photographers believe that for in order to do this it isnecessary to touch on such topics as poverty and inequality, butin most cases the more personal the topic, the deeper it willtouch people.

Style of Your Essay

It is better to stick to a thematic or narrative style. Both ofthe styles can be very effective, but it’s important to decidewhich of them suits your chosen theme best even before taking apicture. This will allow you to think through specific shots thatwill fit the task.

The basis for thematic essays is a large depiction of the mainidea accompanied with concrete examples, whereas narrative essaystell the whole story with its beginning, development, and end.Thematic photo essays are often used to emphasize certain events,but when preparing them, you should avoid accidental selection ofphotographs. Each of the selected images should report somethingof their own. Narrative photo essays are usually easier toorganize, but it may be difficult to select optimal shoots.

  • Thematic essays often address, for example, such importanttopics as the federal law On Arms, modern youth, or the positionof war veterans.
  • Narrative essays can talk about everyday life, serve asstep-by-step guides or a sequence of time-spaced frames thatreflect a gradual change in the object of photography (forexample, show the progress of building construction).
  • If you work for a reward or have received a specific job forpublication, you can be initially asked to prepare a thematic ornarrative style of disclosing a particular topic. Be sure tocheck in advance with the existing requirements for theimplementation and publication of your work.

Preparation for Photo Shooting

Get permission to take pictures and publish them. If you plan topublish your photo essay in the media, then you may need to getthe written consent of the people who acted as the objects ofphotography. Even if you are not going to use the photo essay forcommercial purposes, but simply post pictures in your personalblog or on your own website, it will not be superfluous, at leastverbally, to ask people for their prior consent. The publicationof photographs of children requires the consent of their parents.Do not create additional difficulties and problems for those whodo not want to give consent to photography.

  • Think about how difficult it is to get permission to performthe planned photo shooting. If you have already had goodrelations with interested people, it will be easier to solve theproblem. Otherwise, do not forget to consider the additional timeit might take to obtain permission to take photographs and/or awritten consent to transfer to you the rights to use thephotographed materials.
  • Schools, kindergartens, and other children’s institutionshave their own rules about who can be photographed there and forwhat purposes. In addition to authorizing the leadership of suchinstitutions, parents’ consent is also required for thephotographing of children.

Comprehensively study the chosen theme. Before moving to thephoto shooting, conduct your own online research, read articleson the topic you chose, make additional calls or contact somepeople by e-mail to find out more. The better you understand thetopic before the appointed day of photography, the more you willbe ready to take the photos that reflect the very essence of thequestion.

  • Think about taking preliminary interviews from people of yourinterest. Ask them questions about what attracted them mostduring the event or how long they have been working for thecompany that you are preparing an essay about.
  • Such interviews will be an excellent opportunity forobtaining permits for photography and further use of photographs.
  • If you are going to visit a production site, a charity eventor some major event, contact the organizers in advance to explaintheir plans and intentions to them before their arrival.
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General structure

Think about the general structure of the future essay. Having atheme and permission to take pictures, take some time to considera general outline what photos you will need to take. Most essaysrequire a variety of shoots to demonstrate different aspects ofthe topic. At a minimum, you will need a main focus frame, abasic shot of a wide plan, a few detailed photographs, and thelast decisive frame.

  • Select an object for the focus shoot. The focal frame is alsocalled the main frame since it must contain an image thatreflects the very essence of your theme.
  • Think about the basic snapshot. It should be shot with awide-angle lens and, in general, include at once your entirestory. If you are going to talk about a working day at theoffice, then a basic shot of a broad plan can be a frame on whichyou will see a string of workers hurrying to enter the officebuilding in the morning.
  • Plan the shooting of detailed frames. These photographsshould contain a variety of portraits, approximate shots, showingindividual operations, and actions. For example, you can make aportrait photo of the main character of your essay at work in theoffice at the computer. You can also include photos where thisperson interacts with other employees. Approximated frames canclose-up show the typing hands on a computer keyboard or displaythe image in detail on a computer monitor.
  • Do not forget to think about the final frame. At the verybeginning of the essay, you still cannot imagine how it shouldlook. But most photographers agree that as soon as such a pictureappears before the eyes, awareness will come by itself. Thisimage should contain the conclusion of your project. Thephotograph should seem to pronounce the phrase “The end,” callfor action, or show the final result of the sequence of actionsor the past day.