Storytelling: What's the real story?

How a photo can help or be deceiving in storytelling.

The storytelling photo above was taken in around 1991.  It’s me looking out into a glorious river in the middle of Uganda.

What does it convey to you?

The enjoyment of nature, beautiful scenery, contemplation?

If you wanted to do a post about one of those things this would work fine wouldn’t it (apart from the quality maybe)?

In reality, my left arm was broken, in a sling and extremely painful.  Mentally I was also getting through a horribly dark time and feeling pretty fragile.

So I guess my point in this instance is two fold:

  1. The reality of life is, as we know, often completely different to the image we portray.  Authenticity in using visual content in marketing is more important than ever.  There is so. much. fluff.
  2. When considering the content of a storytelling photograph, think of the main elements you need to illustrate.  If I wanted to use a photograph to talk about mental health then this may suffice as an image, though maybe more of my expression would’ve helped create an emotional connection?  If I was writing a piece about the dangers of slipping on the grass in Africa (yes reader, I wasn’t even being chased by a crocodile), then it’d be good to see my arm in it’s tropical sling (ouch), and be walking on or near said grass – the African landscape in view behind.

Your story, your brand, your charity’s cause, the differences you make – are yours and yours alone.  Photos and videos are a powerful and immediate way to make that clear to those you want to reach.

Take away:

People see an image and have an immediate reaction to it.  Make sure your images and visual content are properly planned out in order to ensure the impression they give, the emotions they evoke, lead to the actions you need people to take.