Wide Medium Tight Shots to Tell a Story with Photography

Storytelling has always been a crucial ingredient of impactful images. By focusing on details big and small, you can take your audience on a journey that captures the scene and weaves a story through images. In today’s video, photographer Pye Jirsa with Adorama talks about some of the techniques you can use to tell compelling stories with your photographs.

It may not always be possible to tell a story using a single image. You may need multiple images to do so—and there’s no harm in that. In fact, many professionals use this technique quite often. In this context, Jirsa also talks about a storytelling technique where he takes three different images. The idea is to take a wide, medium and tight shot and let them tell a fuller story.

Jirsa demonstrates what he means with respect to landscape photography at a California beach; however, you can apply these same techniques to any other genre of photography.

To start with, use a wide shot to establish your scene. Set the context of your story by shooting with a short focal length, or by covering a wider portion of your scene even at a longer focal length. Next, the medium shot is where you tell the actual story. You can fill a major portion of your frame with critical subjects and make your point to the viewers. Finally, go tight and show the intimate details that you feel are important to complete your story.

An important thing to keep in mind is that you must have a storyboard ready in your head. Otherwise, you will not have a clear idea of what to photograph.

Beyond this technique, how you edit your photos and present them is also equally important when telling a story. To help you out on this aspect, Jirsa shares his workflow using Adobe Lightroom, including his editing process, how he decides to crop the images and the layout he chooses to create a wall-art setup. The important thing to keep in mind here is consistency. That’s because you want the images to appear cohesive and speak the common language.

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