Photos with a Purpose: How to Create a Compelling Photo Essay


One photo has a story to tell, and you, as the photographer, is the author behind it. That said, taking pictures is not only something you do to preserve memories. It is also a powerful way to convey thoughts, elicit various emotions, and to provoke people’s minds. Photography is indeed an art form and requires training with a professional photographer in the Philippines if you want to enhance your picture-taking skills.

Telling a story through photo essays

Some people are effective in expressing their thoughts through public speaking. On the other hand, some people prefer using pen and paper (or the computer) as a way to speak their thoughts on their behalf. Meanwhile, some can express their concepts and ideas with the use of their trusty cameras.

Instead of composing fancy words, you make sure to get the right composition and exposure on your subject. If one photo is not enough, you can follow it up with other images.

These series of photos, called photo essays, can be a meaningful and compelling way to tell a story. Photo essays are meant to make you laugh, cry, hungry, angry, or anything that can elicit all sorts of emotions to the target audience.

Some photo essays might also contain one or two-liners that briefly describe what the photo is about. It’s up to you whether to add some texts on your pictures or leave the photo as is. But remember that your photo should be, as they say, the “star of the show.”

How to create a compelling photo essay

tutor with student

There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to creating a photo essay. You might be inspired by the current news or anything that is happening to your life right now. As mentioned, your series of stories should be compelling enough to elicit various emotions on your readers.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to create a photo essay. Think of it as if you are putting all of your photos in one album and then posting it on your social media page. Topics can range from family life, nature, weddings, and other issues that interest you and your readers as well. Here are some things to remember when composing your photo essay:

1. Think of a photo essay topic.

There should be no shortage of photo essay topics; you can be inspired by your own emotions or everything else around you, no matter how mundane it is.

2. Give your photo series a compelling title and brief description.

You should give your photo series an excellent title with a brief description of what these photos are all about. It will give your audience a better understanding of what you want to achieve in your photo essay series.

3. Choose your subjects.

It can be a homeless man on the street, a lone person sitting on the bench in the middle of the park, your sleeping dog in front of your garage, and so on.

4. Experiment with different subjects and angles.

Of course, you should still stick to your topic. But as you slide through the other photos, you can try changing angles and perspectives to add drama in every shot.

Pictures have a lot of stories to tell. They are not merely to capture memories. They are also about eliciting emotions and encouraging people to take action steps.

About the Author

Scroll to Top