I’ve been talking to a lot of photographers lately about photo projects, so I thought I would do a multi-part series blog post on the subject. By no means will I cover every aspect, but here are a few things to consider.
There are so many aspects to doing a photo story, but let’s start out with why do you want to shoot one? What do you want to say? Is it a trend story? Does it have a news angle? Or is it something you want to shine a light on? If you don’t have a story in mind, I always think the more personal the more universal. Pick a topic that you care about. You will probably be more invested in the story.
I’m not trying to be funny, but ask this of yourself honestly. Are you doing a story because really successful photographers do stories and you think you should too? As I’ve said before, there is a place for all types of photography in this world, so be true to yourself.
How long should you spend on a story? I know people who spend years, and I know people who spend a week. Think about the way you shoot, and ask yourself if you’re the kind of person who gets bored after a week. There’s nothing wrong with that, but maybe a really long-term project isn’t right for you. If you don’t spend 2 years on a massive and complex story, are you a bad photographer? Goodness no. Depending on the topic, a well-shot and well-planned one-week story can be just as hard-hitting as a year-long story.
As both a photographer and photo editor, I’ve always been drawn to longer term projects. I like getting completely immersed in a story, the same reason I choose novels over short stories. I never read short stories. They lack the intimacy I require to be immersed in a topic, but that’s just me.
Set yourself up for success! You don’t want to start a story, and then after a month, you are no longer interested and quit. You might feel like a failure, so be mindful of who you are and what you can accomplish. With the success of completing a task comes confidence in yourself.
Next week, finding a story subject.