Storytelling Photography Part 7, Using Multiple photos.

In Parts 1-6 of Storytelling with Photos, we have covered style, motivation, inspiration, composition, and some technique tips.  If you want to catch up just use the blog link in the top menu of this page and go through the series.  I keep them short, so you will be up to speed in no time.

I’ll just hang out here watching the dawn against the Sierra Nevada range from amongst the Mono Lake Tufas… until you’re ready…


Okay, all onboard?  Let’s go…

Up to now our focus has been on single frames that move the viewer to see your story.  A big challenge that!  But how about telling a story by stringing a series of photos together to tell a larger story, one that spans just a single moment in time and space?  And how about a little video and music or narration thrown in?  Technically, that’s not as big a task as you might think. It is very easy to find an app that will create very cool videos for you.  In fact, it seems everyone is doing it. Just plug in the photos, select some music and let the app take over.  But going deeper, to be really effective, knowing your own story and what you want to say becomes entirely important.  Because beyond the technical solutions, you still need to link the slides and video together into a coherent whole that speaks to the viewer.

Let me start our with my first video, recorded just a few years ago.  I used my early work to narrate my first steps into telling story with photos.  I had a definite story to tell.  About how I discovered photography and saw the world around me almost for the first time.  So it was easy for me to join the pieces together, and using photo titles really cinched the deal. And the music track of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Suite really sets the mood. Check it out, it is nine minutes long, which I know in today’s world is rather lengthly.  But don’t worry, you will get it by the end of the first track, about three minutes in.  But be forewarned, you may be hooked into watching the entire story, so plan accordingly!  

Click on the photo below to view “Journey”


I hope you enjoyed “Journey”  It still moves me when I watch it, but then again it is my story.  

But here’s the cool part.  The first time I presented “Journey” to a public audience, I was surprised by the number of people that came up to me and said it was their story.  Even a few tears in the audience (of course they may have been bored to tears, but I choose to think not).  The bottom line for that audience was that the video inspired them to pursue their own passion with a bit of hope and expectation. No matter what that passion may be.  So when I tell story with photos, my first thought is that what I do inspires and moves the viewer.  And I am taking them on a journey…

The Golden Ruin

So, here are a few tips you can use for making effective slideshows that engage and move the viewer.

  • Keep in mind the audience you intend to watch your slideshow.

  • Use a great photo so begin your show.  Engage your viewers

  • Think about photo order.  This is very important to telling a coherent story.

  • Use an even greater photo to end your show.  Remember, you are taking your audience on a journey and the destination better be good.

  • Use high quality photos.  No bad photos allowed, so take out spots, throw away out of focus pics, and straighten those horizon lines.  Better yet, take great photos so no fixes are needed.

  • Keep videos short if you are planning to publish to the web.  No more than a couple of minutes. Remember that time has become a commodity and people dole it out sparingly.  Or, if your slideshow is for a specific group then use time according to the audience and subject matter.

  • Use photo titles to help the viewer understand your message. Or even better narrate.  That really creates and impact with people!

  • Select great music that supports the photo narrative. Family photos, then upbeat happy music.  Romantic photos need romantic music.  Beautiful landscapes deserve beautiful music to support them.  You get the idea!

  • Add a little video to your show.  Keep it consistent with your subject, but a little video really kicks the show up to another level.

  • Oh, and back up your work as you go along.  And organize your photos and music to separate folders on your hard drive or cloud so you can recreate the show if needed.

Bringing it home.


Tips for selecting a slideshow app.

  • Do I need a to pay for an app?  That really depends upon what you need from a slideshow.  A paid App should be feature rich and automate your task well easily and intuitively.  But it can be expensive and take up room on your hard drive.

  • My paid for slideshow app is Photodex, which includes extensive and creative themes and transitions.  It also includes a big library of all musical styles that I can use royalty free.  Which is a big deal since Youtube seeks out unauthorized music and will block your slideshow. Still, you may not need all of these features but no worries! There are still some powerful choices you can use for free, such as… 

  • Software you already have such as Google or Apple Photos, or presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote.  And Facebook is constantly creating slideshow automatically for you to share with your friends there. In fact, many social media sites including Instagram give you the ability to select a batch of photos and make quick slideshows.

  • How about some iPhone or Android apps for making shows on the fly?  Try Apps like Real Times or Animoto which allow you to make your slideshow and videos on the fly.  

I’ll leave you with a final video, about 2:27 long.  I have a bit of video narration to go along with my time at Mono Lake one very cold January evening and an even colder morning.  But what an extraordinarily productive time that was.  

Until next time, try putting a bit of story together, you may surprise yourself.

Watch “Tufa Song” here.

Sacred Starlight


As always, thank you so much for participating in this new blog.  And your comments are much appreciated!

Now… Go on out there and shoot!


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