Storytelling: Photos that Capture the Heart and Soul

I often refer to myself as a storyteller photographer. But what does it mean?

Storytelling is the activity of telling or writing stories.

Usually, a story is something written or passed on. It has a beginning, a middle part and an ending. The middle is usually the most interesting part. The plot, where you can find the transformation, the achievement or the conflict that the character is going through. It’s where most of the story will be created.

In photography, you can’t have the whole story as you would in a movie, for example. In a movie or a book, the story can evolve and take different directions. A photo, however, is one captured moment. But in that one single frozen moment, you can surely create a little story and most importantly evoke emotions. So when you look at a photo, you can still ask the typical questions of a story who, what, where, when and why.

Photography has the power to evoke emotions and convey a story in a single image. Storytelling photography takes this one step further, capturing the essence of a subject, place, or event and weaving it into a visual tale. Whether it’s capturing the daily life of a rural community, the thrill of an adrenaline-fueled sport, or the love between a family, storytelling photography has the ability to transport the viewer into another world.

One of the keys to successful storytelling photography is finding a subject that you are passionate about and that resonates with you. This will give you the drive to capture images that truly tell the story. For me that drive is family photography.

Family photo that tells the story of the newborn joining the family

Newborn photography for me it’s all about storytelling.

During my newborn photoshoots there are so many stories I can tell. Like in this photo. You can breathe the love and joy of daddy while he’s holding her newborn baby. But he’s also grateful for the connection the older sister is showing to the baby.

Black and white portrait of dad and his girls during a newborn photoshoot in London. A storytelling image that speaks love and connection.

Another important aspect of storytelling photography is composition. A well-composed image will direct the viewer’s eye to the key elements in the scene and create a clear visual narrative. In the photos above is in the leading line of the gaze and the hands connection. But also in the clean background, that focus the attention on the subject.

I another photos composition is achieved through the use of blankets or other accessories and my favourite prop: parent’s hands.

Mum holding newborn hands during a newborn photoshoot with Valentina, London newborn photographer based in Richmond.

When I want to create a story in photography, to recreate it in an album for example, another aspect of storytelling is the sequence of images. A series of related images can be combined to create a visual story that unfolds over time. It could be images of baby stretching or crying.

ButI wanted to reconnect with the first photo and I chose the same dad and girls as an example.

Black and white portrait of dad and his girls during a newborn photoshoot in London.
Dad and his two girls. Big sister kidding newborn foot. Sweet moment of storytelling.
close up of big sister kissing newborn foot.

In the very first image, the story is all about the newborn baby. You can see both subjects are looking at the new baby and they are both connecting. In the series above is all about the big sister. Daddy is looking at her and she is kissing baby sister’s foot. The different angles and close up are there to tell the whole story. When a new baby arrives in a family, everything changes. And when there’s already a child in that family, who till that point was at the centre of attention, all the dynamics change again. That’s why during a newborn photoshoot I like to include the sibling as much as I can. I like to take some individual photo to make them feel important too. I ask them to help me if they are old enough. This will be part of their story and experience with me.

Little details make your story unique

Another key of storytelling in newborn photography is to capture the unique characteristics of each baby. Whether it’s their tiny fingers, delicate eyelashes, or precious pout, every newborn is different, and it’s important to capture those differences in your photos.

Related post: The Tiny Details that Reveal Big Stories – Newborn Macro Photography

Baby eyelashes: macro shot taken during a newborn shoot in London. Details in newborn photography are storytelling.

Storytelling photography is not just about taking great photos, but it’s also about connection. Both connection with the subject I’m photographing and connection between the subjects. Building trust and rapport with the subjects is essential to capturing their true personality and emotions. Having connection with the subject is what on the common language is called being photogenic, but maybe this is a topic for another interesting blog post.

The connection between the subjects is what transmit the emotions. I usually do this inviting parents to hold, hug the baby, or family members cuddling and interacting with the newborn. These images will help to create a visual story that captures the love and joy of a new family.

Family portrait: mum is holding her newborn on her chest while big sister is leaning on her baby sister and dad is looking at them with pride.

Storytelling in newborn photography is a beautiful and powerful way to capture the magic of those early days. If you would love me to create these visual tales that you can cherish for a lifetime, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch with you soon.

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  • Across The Great Planes3 July 2023 - 17:46

    This was such an interesting read! I’ve never thought of photos as a form of storytelling before but you’re completely right, and there really is a story behind every photo. You’ve definitely given me more to think about when composing my photos now! Thank you so much for sharing xReplyCancel

    • Valentina4 July 2023 - 09:25

      Glad you found it useful. Photos can definitely tell a story 🙂 Thanks for readingReplyCancel

  • Across The Great Planes3 July 2023 - 17:48

    This was such an interesting read! I’ve never thought of photos as a form of storytelling before but you’re right, there really is a story behind every photo. You’ve given me a lot to think about when composing photos in the future! Thank you so much for sharing xReplyCancel

    • Valentina4 July 2023 - 09:25

      Glad you found it useful. Photos can definitely tell a story 🙂 Thanks for readingReplyCancel

  • Winnie4 July 2023 - 11:39

    I’ve always admired photography as a form of storytelling, but also as a way to capture life’s fleeting moments before they go away forever. I love how you chose to do newborn photography; it’s like capturing those moments in time before the baby grows up 🙂 ReplyCancel

    • Valentina4 July 2023 - 12:49

      Exactly! Newborns especially are so small only for a few weeks and change so much too quickly! Thanks for stopping by WinnieReplyCancel

  • Neuro Brain Supplement Benefits3 February 2024 - 10:26

    Hi my loved one I wish to say that this post is amazing nice written and include approximately all vital infos Id like to peer more posts like thisReplyCancel

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