Storytelling With Your Photos (Guest Post)

(Tamara here: I’m happy to welcome Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life as a guest poster today. I was very lucky to find Michelle in the SITS blogging community as we have connected on many levels in this crazy fun virtual world. She is a Social Media Manager, a Photo Management Specialist, a mother, a blogger and a fellow photographer, among other things.)

Hi! It’s Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life. I’m so excited to be guest posting here today for the Tamara Camera Blog! I live in Connecticut with my husband of 20 years, 3 children and 7 furry family members. I love photography and while I am not a professional, I enjoy my hobby immensely. For many years, I have worked with people and their photos to help them find ways to organize, share and enjoy their memories, and if you visit me on my blog, you are sure to find many more photo related posts! Today I’ll be sharing some tips on storytelling with your photos.

You don’t need a really nice camera to take great pictures. It really doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have. I’m not saying all cameras are created equal, because they’re not. But what makes a photo great has more to do with the story you’re telling. When you look back at old photos, those photos that evoke the strongest emotions are the ones that tell a story. And those are the ones that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Look through my friend Tamara’s blog…every post she writes are full of rich stories and beautiful photos. Obviously Tamara being a pro, her images are nicer than most of ours. But even if her photos weren’t so gorgeous, her family would still cherish them for generations because of the stories within the photos.

Your photos and stories are your legacy. If you’re queen (or king) of the posed shot, consider changing things up with these easy tips!

Remember to take the candids. So many times we take the posed shot and put the camera down. But some of your most wonderful photos are of moments when your subject isn’t paying attention. This is a picture I took of my son on a recent beach vacation. I have no idea what he is thinking about, but he looks deep in thought. There is something about this picture that speaks to me.

And here’s another one of him playing…water soccer? He loves the beach and can entertain himself endlessly with the water. It’s a lot of fun to watch him play because so often there is a look of pure glee on his face.

Show relationships. I love this picture of my husband and son walking down the beach together. My husband has always been a “hands-on” dad and so I have many pictures of him doing fun stuff with the kids. This picture reminds me of how special his relationship is with our children.

Here’s another of my two boys playing in the water together. There is something about the beach that melts away that “I am too cool for that” attitude of my oldest son. Even though there’s a big age gap, they had fun playing together for hours!

Capture the details. Whenever we go to the beach, I just can’t help but take pictures of the water rushing up on the sand. I’m a sucker for them. There’s something about it that is calming to me. Obviously I’m not going to keep them all, but I usually pick my two favorites and I’ll use them as backgrounds in my photo album.

Don’t forget the out of the ordinary. This is especially important when you are vacationing. This could include interesting street signs, old architecture, even your child peeking out of a cubby hole in a castle. On this particular trip, it was seeing the bullet holes at the military base at Pearl Harbor, a turtle mural painted on a roadside wall, colorful surfboards at a shop in town, and the Santa at the beach.

Don’t forget to include yourself. So many times we get caught up taking the pictures, we forget to make sure we’re in a few. Hand the camera over once in a while. You may have to work on getting your family to take more of the pictures when you are together, or you may find that you’re only in posed shots.
Regardless, it’s really important to make sure you include yourself…you’re part of this story you’re telling too!

Do you think about storytelling when you take photos?

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  1. Beautiful pictures. I love everything about the beach. I love the sounds of the waves crushing into the shores. I love the smell of salty water. The wind in my face and the gentle roar of the waves create a sense of peace and calm. 🙂 Love it!-Honeybee

  2. Great pictures – and great tips! It's so true – it's the pictures in between all the poses that are the ones I want to remember. My newest "storytelling" one is to include selfies – often of my husband and me, and then of our whole family. They are awkward and often turn out with a head cut off, or weird angle, but we are almost always hysterical and goofy— and that us truly how we are!!!! Great post! Will check out your blog. Already love Tamara's!

    1. Will be glad to have you visit at my blog too. I actually write a lot about photos over there as well, but mostly about how to organize and ideas on what to do with them. I love Tamara's blog because of her stories and gorgeous pics!! I love that you include the selfies…too often we forget about ourselves!!

  3. Thanks so much for having me as a guest blogger today, Tamara!! I love your amazing pictures and stories! It's truly been a blessing to get to know you…so glad for the SITS community! I've met so many great people!

  4. Oh my Gosh, LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! 2 of our favorite people in the same spot…yay, what a treat! Great points Michelle about candids…they always wind up being the best pictures! :)-The Dose Girls

    1. Thank you! You just made my day!! I love candids…the posed shots, forget it. You should see what I get when I try to do posed shots. You'd think I'd asked my oldest son to eat liver or something. It's like its pure torture!!

  5. I just adore every single thing about this post. The pictures, the language, the guest poster 🙂 Such great points. As a newbie photographer, I am noticing that the candids are my absolute favorite!! Fantastic post 🙂

  6. Wonderful tips, Michelle. I have always love taking pictures, but I find that I appreciate the stories behind them more now that I am a mom. And since I have started blogging, I appreciate the unwritten, unspoken words of photographs even more.

  7. You make me want to take pictures! I'm awful about it, because I don't have a camera, and my phone camera's memory is chock full of shots my 8-year-old takes. The candid shots are the best, I must say.

    1. Oh yes, my phone used to be like that too! Our camera phones take pretty good pictures these days…perhaps time to download the keepers on your phone and make some room so you can start using it!

  8. Michelle, my sister and I are notorious for jacking up candids, lol! My uncle and father are always screaming on us for smiling for the camera at the last minute. They have to really catch us off guard for those candids. I am not of fan of being in them, but I love snapping them of others. I have to remember to include myself…that's an often mistake the photographer usually makes.

    1. I wrote a post on that a while back after I realized that I was in hardly any of our pictures! What if my kids forget me?! Seriously though, candids are the best…it really is about the stories and that is what we will remember down the road. None of us are going to look at the posed shots and say "I remember when mom and dad made us sit there for 10 min straight while they tried to get the best shot." NOT. 🙂

  9. Yay! I am so happy Michelle is here today! Especially given that you and Tamara are two of my newer favorite blog finds! Thank you for the great advice, Michelle. I love candid shots and I also love showing relationships. One of my favorite all time photos is one that I took at the beach of my mom holding my daughter when she was a baby, both of them facing the ocean.

    1. Thanks Ilene, I'm so glad I met you and Tamara as well!! I'm with you…one of my favorite things about photos is showing relationships. Sometimes you can show something that you can't say with words!

  10. Love this post! I'm working on that last one myself. Though I have completely thrown myself into the photography world and love capturing those little moments and expressions of my kids, I often forget to come out from behind the lens myself.

  11. Hi Tamara & Michelle, cool post.most of my photos are posed & I'm only in about 5% of them – lolI've got to work on this. Thanks for the tips.Love all your beach shots 🙂

  12. I thought I commented on this one but I don't see it so I'll just comment again. I said that I love these pictures so much that they make me want to get out and take some candids right now! And I really need to ask someone else to take the camera once in a while.

    1. Oh me too Ann Marie!! I have been in so few pictures over the last few years that its not even funny! I am working on that though…and I was in some pictures on this last trip!

    1. So glad you found them helpful! I am always trying to improve my skills too! Since Tamara and I posted for each other, you can find lots of great tips on improving your photography from Tamara over at my place!

  13. Oh these are just so beautiful Michelle!!! You have such a gift!!! I love those tips- I will focus more on those important ideas next time I actually have a camera with me. It truly is art.

  14. Can someone please tell me why Santa is thin, on the beach (well I guess he's thin because he's sweating inside that hot outfit while on the beach – Answered!), playing the violin? These pics definitely tell a story…lol. #sitssharefest

  15. this was a great guest post, I liked all her tips, especially the last one. I find i'm never in pics unless my bf is around because no one seems to know how to use a dslr!!!

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