One of the best bit of writing advice I’ve ever heard is that when writing you should
show don’t tell.
It means don’t tell your readers how a character is feeling or what a place is like, instead describe the place and show your reader instead. To give a very practical example, compare the two sentences.
“When I heard the news, I felt very excited.”
“When I heard the news, my heart started pounding in my chest as the adrenalin kicked in.”
Show Don’t Tell in Photography
It’s great advice for a writer but absolutely vital for a photographer. Two of the key take aways from my weekend workshop with Eric Kim were “look for emotions” and “make sure the photo stands on its own”. These both remind me of making sure you “show don’t tell”.
Too often I have relied on telling people while my photo matters rather than showing people a photo which matters. Maybe you’d like to call it the “Human’s of New York” approach. Don’t get me wrong, I find humans of new york as interesting as the next person but if you took away all the accompling text to those photos, most of them wouldn’t really be that interesting. The one’s which would be interesting without the text (and usually the ones which catch my attention) are the ones where the subject has an interesting action or emotion and they are in an interesting location.
Show don’t tell in your photos.
If you want people to appriciate your photos more and make sure that you focus on getting the most out of your photos, you need to show but not tell. there are some very easy things you can do to be certain that you show but not tell.
- Don’t give your photos fancy titles. Just the location and date.
- Focus on emotions in your photos
- Look at gestures, they help convey emotions.
- Watch your background and surroundings, they help to set a scene.
- Cutting out information can add more mystery to a photo.
Are you guilty of telling people too much about your photos?