The best photo essays are created when the author cares passionately about the subject to be addressed. There is no substitute for the consequential driving force that leads to the revelation of all sorts of interesting aspects of a subject and their portrayal in a telling manner. As with many areas of photography, an author reveals much about himself or herself in the process of constructing an essay.
- Several sequential steps should be followed:
- Identify a subject about which you feel strongly;
- Do some research and establish the area to be investigated or revealed;
- Decide on a suitable aspect or angle which allows viewers to be led in the required direction, and identify the central values and emotions;
- Plan a sequence of images to tell the story and evoke the required response from the audience. If necessary, write a sequential list of shots and plan each one before attempting to capture images.
When relating real-world or factual stories always adhere strictly to the simple truth. Life is often stranger than fiction, and stories typically have unexpected twists and turns. Don't be afraid of these even when they tend in an awkward direction - it all helps to keep the story real. However, fictional stories can also be told, and truth is obviously not then a priority. In other cases, where a real-world story is embellished or exaggerated, the extent to which truth is bent is a matter for the author.