I had a client say, “I don’t know how much to write about each picture.” Pictures can be worth a thousand words… or nothing, if you don’t know something about the people, place or time. So how do you capture the stories that the photos tell without just duplicating what’s already in the picture? Start with captions and move to cameos.
Captions are a short phrase to one sentence describing what you don’t see, hear, smell, or feel in the photograph. Captions tell you more of the story or give you information that you can’t discern by just looking at the image. They give voice to the joke you don’t hear, but see the response to. I love doing the “Caption this” photos people put up on FaceBook. You have no idea what was really going on, but the image evokes so many different responses. The fact that different people see different things in a photo means that putting your thoughts in the captions of your photos will help others know that moment as you experienced it.
Captions can’t capture everything. In fact, your photos won’t capture everything about a day or an event. You might miss that magic moment due to technical difficulties with your camera, or not having it right with you. This is where cameos let you write a paragraph or two that connect your pictures of an event and tell the background, the in-between activity or conversation. You don’t need to write a long article, just enough to connect one picture to another. Think of your words as the string and the photos as the pearls. You need the string to make the pearls a necklace.
Sometimes I like to write first and then look for the pictures that help tell the story. I will admit that I often will have an idea of what story I want to tell and will look at the photos I have of that event or person. This sometimes helps me write, but not always. I took a challenge to create a photo book of ten stories in two hours. I’m always up for a challenge, just like this blogathon! I was given ten topic starters that I could use or not, and found most of them to be helpful. I could write the ten stories in two hours. I could find the photos that went with and helped tell those stories in two hours. I could even create the photo book in two hours. That was a total of six hours! Oh well, I got a finished book and found that most of the stories I told only scratched the surface. As I looked at that book, most of the individual stories could be expanded into their own books.
We take photos to remember and celebrate our lives. Telling our story with those pictures is easier than you think and is such an easy and powerful way to connect with others. What stories do you want to share with family and friends now? What stories will you leave for future generations?