Picture Black and White: Storytelling

Let’s finish this black and white exhibition, shall we? The power of black and white is perhaps most evident in documentary photography.  The important part of this type of work is telling an entire story in a single shot. Theme six for Picture Black & White was storytelling.  I have again included some of the lovely compliments my classmates left for me on my photos.

Shoot a Documentary: Documenting a moment in a single shot is one thing, telling the whole story is another. The trademark of the most widely recognized documentary shots is using a wide angle lens and including a lot of what’s going on around your subject.

I come back to this image from Italy last summer again and again. I don’t know them, but I feel as if I do!

  • So cute!
  • This looks like it should be in a travel brochure! Wonderful!
  • What a great capture! Love your processing!
  • Great capture of a great moment!
  • I just love their expression.  So happy it’s contagious.
  • I like the soft B&W! They look so happy and you captured that.
  • Great slice of life moment!
  • So fun! I love the reflections in their sunglasses.
  • This shows the great time this couple is having – and you were right there enjoying it too.


A Detailed Study: Storytelling truly lives in the details.  Find a way to capture a shot that might communicate something you may have never thought of.

My daughter giving her doll “a bath.”

In Context: Including the big picture in your image can help you tell a larger story than you could tell by zooming in on your subject. Be sure to include the context that you feel makes your shot today so that we know exactly how you want us to feel today when we “see” your story.

When in doubt, pull out the Italy photos. We came upon this street performance in Rome, and I have many photos of the musicians and singers but only this one of the entire scene.

Expression: Today, your job is to capture someone or something as they express themselves.

“I am so not amused.”

  • classic.  great perspective.
  • Great expression! Nice light and angle.
  • Fun!
  • Oh yeah, the expressions a cat can give… 🙂
  • oh this kitty is not happy  🙂
  • Priceless!
  • This is the best! Love how huge his feet look in this shot! No, he doesn’t look pleased, that’s for sure!
  • love this – cats certainly do give us some great expressions!

See previous Picture Black & White posts: graphic elements and lighttexturemessages, and nature.


5 thoughts on “Picture Black and White: Storytelling

  1. great photo, they fit the definition you were looking for, and your storytellinlg is wonderful, as always. I am planning a trip so your post is great advise for taking photos and storytelling, very helpful!

  2. What wonderful information you give here…and lovely images! I need to try more black and white photos…it’s something I rarely think to do because I love color so much.

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