Photography Essays: Do’s and Dont’s

Tips for your photography essay

Photography essays
Photography essays are a series or set of photos which can either be telling a story through the images, or evoking a certain emotion in the viewer. This kind of essay can include text captions as well. A photography essay is the ideal task for those who don’t like writing!
Here we will provide you some tips on how to (and how not to) prepare your essay. Say cheese!


Pick a good topic: Choosing the right essay topic will always make your life simplier, also in photography essays. Topic ideas for photography include feelings –anger, fear, joy, etc.- as well as abstract concepts –such as racism, time, democracy, etc.-. In both cases it is up to your imagination to figure out the best way to catch the concept in images.
Take plenty of pictures: Maybe you just need ten photographs in your essay. It doesn’t matter: take lots and lots of pictures, so you have more chances to pick the best ones.
Choose original perspectives: Take photographs from different angles in order to produce unique images. For example, if you want your photographs framed by something, you may use a door, a window, trees, etc. Choosing an unusual viewpoint is quite more challenging: why not taking a photograph through a glass of sparkling water, or under a crystal table? Close ups and light and shade are popular perspectives that allow you to play with your camera and its effects.
Plan your photographs: As some shots may be quite difficult to get, don’t be afraid to explain to people in charge that you are a photography student. Another piece of advice is to previously sketch the shot you are trying to achieve. Then, you will have an idea when you actually get to the subject.
Ask for permission: Remember that certain situations require permissions to use a camera. Don’t play the spy.


Don’t just put any random photographs in the essay: Take into account that, while every photography essay is a collection of photographs, not every collection of photographs is itself an essay. There must be a sense of unity and coherence between the pictures you choose. The title you give to your work will be the key to interpret it the right way.
Don’t leave everything for the last minute: Prepare your essay in advance. If you take the photographs with little time left, you won’t have time to repeat the ones that don’t satisfy you. And what if you depend on the weather and it happens to be a rainy day?
Don’t take this essay for granted: Ok, so you don’t need to write. That doesn’t mean that preparing a photo essay is easier than writing other kind of essays, such as a definition essay. In fact, they take a lot of hard work, imagination and thought from the photographer. Because, even when a picture is worth a thousand words, it is not easy appealing to a stranger’s feelings.

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