Am I too literal in my story telling?

At a recent camera club meeting, we were invited to submit images for critique from on of the judges who does high level competitions.  Was a very interesting experience hearing his comments and feedback, but one of the things that he kept talking about was “whats the story behind this image”  or “what story is it telling us”.

I found this concept a bit challenging, some images (esp those with people) are actively telling a story, its obvious like the roller derby shot below.

Roller Derby

When it comes to nature or landscape images I find it harder to concieve of what the story is.  So many of my shots are taken because “I went there and saw this and it was pretty so I took a photo”  and I wonder if that literal approach is evident in my work?

Should I be looking for more of a story? Does it make an image have more appeal in some way?

I wonder perhaps instead of a telling story, maybe it could be sharing a feeling or emotion instead? Certainly a lot of my images are taken because they make *me* feel a certain way, but I have never asked this question before, and not really sure what the answer will be.

Do these images tell you a story or make you feel something when you look at them?

It snowed, and my cat walked in the soft snow and left these paw prints behind. Usually it is quite rare for us to have snow this deep but two years in a row we had a couple of good snow falls and I worked from home and lots of camera opportunities

Toi Toi grass in flower at sunset

Paradise ducklings on warm gravel having a nap, I had never seen one do this with its legs before

Early morning light on an old graveyard, highlighted the white oamaru headstone and caught my eye as I drove down the hill on the way out

I had no idea swans could do this with their necks!



About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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13 Responses to Am I too literal in my story telling?

  1. loisajay says:

    I’m with you: sometimes the emotion does tell the story. Or lets the viewer decide what they want the story to be for them. Either way, I think to just appreciate the beauty of the photo (like the downy fuzz and weird legs of the ducklings) is very pleasing to me w/o knowing the entire story. Is his leg broken? I don’t want to know that story! 🙂

    • lensaddiction says:

      No both his legs worked ok, he just stretched them out like that when he was resting and then went to sleep like that. Did you know Ducks had eyelids?

      • loisajay says:

        Not a clue! I know consider you my authority on ducks. 🙂

      • lensaddiction says:

        They can jump too, these are all things I learnt while photographing them 🙂 I find ducks oddly compelling subjects, I think its the serious way they waddle about 🙂

    • lensaddiction says:

      Here is another duckling taken at the same shoot, with his leg out and you can see other webbed feet on the LH side of the image but all blurry, so it seems to be their thing


      • loisajay says:

        I’ll be darned! Who knew, right? This photo is so clear and beautiful, you just want to pet him!

      • lensaddiction says:

        the joys of lying flat on the ground with a long lens – that way I got a close up image while staying physically far enough away that they werent too disturbed by my presence

  2. Great questions to ponder and perhaps to try to answer sometimes. But, like you, I think the emotion that a photo prompts is a story all by itself. In each of your images, I can relate on my own emotional level, either pulling from my own experiences or sharing in new ones you presented. All fantastic images!

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks Stacy, I think I will not worry about the storytelling so much and focus more on the emotion, appreciate the feedback 🙂

  3. John says:

    They are captivating! The gravestones are mysterious, the ducklings adorable and I’d love to watch the roller derby.

    • lensaddiction says:

      oooh mysterious! Like that a lot 🙂 Yes ducklings are adorable and the roller derby was my first time and loads of fun, I recommend it as a fun photographic opportunity and a great way to practice your panning technique.

  4. These images are really beautiful 🙂

    Composing an image with people in it, really helps to tell a story, but as you said, we can’t do it every time.

    Anything and everything that interests me is a subject and I shoot.

    A pleasing composition and good use of light really catches people’s attention, I felt.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thankyou, I struggle with adding people into my images, and many times the only one around is me 🙂

      I agree, good use of light is so important!

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