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How to Create an Engaging Photo Essay (with Examples)

Photo essays tell a story in pictures. They're a great way to improve at photography and story-telling skills at once. Learn how to do create a great one.

Learn | Photography Guides | By Ana Mireles

Photography is a medium used to tell stories – sometimes they are told in one picture, sometimes you need a whole series. Those series can be photo essays.

If you’ve never done a photo essay before, or you’re simply struggling to find your next project, this article will be of help. I’ll be showing you what a photo essay is and how to go about doing one.

You’ll also find plenty of photo essay ideas and some famous photo essay examples from recent times that will serve you as inspiration.

If you’re ready to get started, let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

What is a Photo Essay?

A photo essay is a series of images that share an overarching theme as well as a visual and technical coherence to tell a story. Some people refer to a photo essay as a photo series or a photo story – this often happens in photography competitions.

Photographic history is full of famous photo essays. Think about The Great Depression by Dorothea Lange, Like Brother Like Sister by Wolfgang Tillmans, Gandhi’s funeral by Henri Cartier Bresson, amongst others.

What are the types of photo essay?

Despite popular belief, the type of photo essay doesn’t depend on the type of photography that you do – in other words, journalism, documentary, fine art, or any other photographic genre is not a type of photo essay.

Instead, there are two main types of photo essays: narrative and thematic .

As you have probably already guessed, the thematic one presents images pulled together by a topic – for example, global warming. The images can be about animals and nature as well as natural disasters devastating cities. They can happen all over the world or in the same location, and they can be captured in different moments in time – there’s a lot of flexibility.

A narrative photo essa y, on the other hand, tells the story of a character (human or not), portraying a place or an event. For example, a narrative photo essay on coffee would document the process from the planting and harvesting – to the roasting and grinding until it reaches your morning cup.

What are some of the key elements of a photo essay?

  • Tell a unique story – A unique story doesn’t mean that you have to photograph something that nobody has done before – that would be almost impossible! It means that you should consider what you’re bringing to the table on a particular topic.
  • Put yourself into the work – One of the best ways to make a compelling photo essay is by adding your point of view, which can only be done with your life experiences and the way you see the world.
  • Add depth to the concept – The best photo essays are the ones that go past the obvious and dig deeper in the story, going behind the scenes, or examining a day in the life of the subject matter – that’s what pulls in the spectator.
  • Nail the technique – Even if the concept and the story are the most important part of a photo essay, it won’t have the same success if it’s poorly executed.
  • Build a structure – A photo essay is about telling a thought-provoking story – so, think about it in a narrative way. Which images are going to introduce the topic? Which ones represent a climax? How is it going to end – how do you want the viewer to feel after seeing your photo series?
  • Make strong choices – If you really want to convey an emotion and a unique point of view, you’re going to need to make some hard decisions. Which light are you using? Which lens? How many images will there be in the series? etc., and most importantly for a great photo essay is the why behind those choices.

9 Tips for Creating a Photo Essay

photo essay lettering

Credit: Laura James

1. Choose something you know

To make a good photo essay, you don’t need to travel to an exotic location or document a civil war – I mean, it’s great if you can, but you can start close to home.

Depending on the type of photography you do and the topic you’re looking for in your photographic essay, you can photograph a local event or visit an abandoned building outside your town.

It will be much easier for you to find a unique perspective and tell a better story if you’re already familiar with the subject. Also, consider that you might have to return a few times to the same location to get all the photos you need.

2. Follow your passion

Most photo essays take dedication and passion. If you choose a subject that might be easy, but you’re not really into it – the results won’t be as exciting. Taking photos will always be easier and more fun if you’re covering something you’re passionate about.

3. Take your time

A great photo essay is not done in a few hours. You need to put in the time to research it, conceptualizing it, editing, etc. That’s why I previously recommended following your passion because it takes a lot of dedication, and if you’re not passionate about it – it’s difficult to push through.

4. Write a summary or statement

Photo essays are always accompanied by some text. You can do this in the form of an introduction, write captions for each photo or write it as a conclusion. That’s up to you and how you want to present the work.

5. Learn from the masters

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Making a photographic essay takes a lot of practice and knowledge. A great way to become a better photographer and improve your storytelling skills is by studying the work of others. You can go to art shows, review books and magazines and look at the winners in photo contests – most of the time, there’s a category for photo series.

6. Get a wide variety of photos

Think about a story – a literary one. It usually tells you where the story is happening, who is the main character, and it gives you a few details to make you engage with it, right?

The same thing happens with a visual story in a photo essay – you can do some wide-angle shots to establish the scenes and some close-ups to show the details. Make a shot list to ensure you cover all the different angles.

Some of your pictures should guide the viewer in, while others are more climatic and regard the experience they are taking out of your photos.

7. Follow a consistent look

Both in style and aesthetics, all the images in your series need to be coherent. You can achieve this in different ways, from the choice of lighting, the mood, the post-processing, etc.

8. Be self-critical

Once you have all the photos, make sure you edit them with a good dose of self-criticism. Not all the pictures that you took belong in the photo essay. Choose only the best ones and make sure they tell the full story.

9. Ask for constructive feedback

Often, when we’re working on a photo essay project for a long time, everything makes perfect sense in our heads. However, someone outside the project might not be getting the idea. It’s important that you get honest and constructive criticism to improve your photography.

How to Create a Photo Essay in 5 Steps

photo essay lettering

Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh

1. Choose your topic

This is the first step that you need to take to decide if your photo essay is going to be narrative or thematic. Then, choose what is it going to be about?

Ideally, it should be something that you’re interested in, that you have something to say about it, and it can connect with other people.

2. Research your topic

To tell a good story about something, you need to be familiar with that something. This is especially true when you want to go deeper and make a compelling photo essay. Day in the life photo essays are a popular choice, since often, these can be performed with friends and family, whom you already should know well.

3. Plan your photoshoot

Depending on what you’re photographing, this step can be very different from one project to the next. For a fine art project, you might need to find a location, props, models, a shot list, etc., while a documentary photo essay is about planning the best time to do the photos, what gear to bring with you, finding a local guide, etc.

Every photo essay will need different planning, so before taking pictures, put in the required time to get things right.

4. Experiment

It’s one thing to plan your photo shoot and having a shot list that you have to get, or else the photo essay won’t be complete. It’s another thing to miss out on some amazing photo opportunities that you couldn’t foresee.

So, be prepared but also stay open-minded and experiment with different settings, different perspectives, etc.

5. Make a final selection

Editing your work can be one of the hardest parts of doing a photo essay. Sometimes we can be overly critical, and others, we get attached to bad photos because we put a lot of effort into them or we had a great time doing them.

Try to be as objective as possible, don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and make various revisions before settling down on a final cut.

7 Photo Essay Topics, Ideas & Examples

photo essay lettering

Credit: Michelle Leman

  • Architectural photo essay

Using architecture as your main subject, there are tons of photo essay ideas that you can do. For some inspiration, you can check out the work of Francisco Marin – who was trained as an architect and then turned to photography to “explore a different way to perceive things”.

You can also lookup Luisa Lambri. Amongst her series, you’ll find many photo essay examples in which architecture is the subject she uses to explore the relationship between photography and space.

  • Process and transformation photo essay

This is one of the best photo essay topics for beginners because the story tells itself. Pick something that has a beginning and an end, for example, pregnancy, the metamorphosis of a butterfly, the life-cycle of a plant, etc.

Keep in mind that these topics are linear and give you an easy way into the narrative flow – however, it might be difficult to find an interesting perspective and a unique point of view.

  • A day in the life of ‘X’ photo essay

There are tons of interesting photo essay ideas in this category – you can follow around a celebrity, a worker, your child, etc. You don’t even have to do it about a human subject – think about doing a photo essay about a day in the life of a racing horse, for example – find something that’s interesting for you.

  • Time passing by photo essay

It can be a natural site or a landmark photo essay – whatever is close to you will work best as you’ll need to come back multiple times to capture time passing by. For example, how this place changes throughout the seasons or maybe even over the years.

A fun option if you live with family is to document a birthday party each year, seeing how the subject changes over time. This can be combined with a transformation essay or sorts, documenting the changes in interpersonal relationships over time.

  • Travel photo essay

Do you want to make the jump from tourist snapshots into a travel photo essay? Research the place you’re going to be travelling to. Then, choose a topic.

If you’re having trouble with how to do this, check out any travel magazine – National Geographic, for example. They won’t do a generic article about Texas – they do an article about the beach life on the Texas Gulf Coast and another one about the diverse flavors of Texas.

The more specific you get, the deeper you can go with the story.

  • Socio-political issues photo essay

This is one of the most popular photo essay examples – it falls under the category of photojournalism or documental photography. They are usually thematic, although it’s also possible to do a narrative one.

Depending on your topic of interest, you can choose topics that involve nature – for example, document the effects of global warming. Another idea is to photograph protests or make an education photo essay.

It doesn’t have to be a big global issue; you can choose something specific to your community – are there too many stray dogs? Make a photo essay about a local animal shelter. The topics are endless.

  • Behind the scenes photo essay

A behind-the-scenes always make for a good photo story – people are curious to know what happens and how everything comes together before a show.

Depending on your own interests, this can be a photo essay about a fashion show, a theatre play, a concert, and so on. You’ll probably need to get some permissions, though, not only to shoot but also to showcase or publish those images.

4 Best Photo Essays in Recent times

Now that you know all the techniques about it, it might be helpful to look at some photo essay examples to see how you can put the concept into practice. Here are some famous photo essays from recent times to give you some inspiration.

Habibi by Antonio Faccilongo

This photo essay wan the World Press Photo Story of the Year in 2021. Faccilongo explores a very big conflict from a very specific and intimate point of view – how the Israeli-Palestinian war affects the families.

He chose to use a square format because it allows him to give order to things and eliminate unnecessary elements in his pictures.

With this long-term photo essay, he wanted to highlight the sense of absence and melancholy women and families feel towards their husbands away at war.

The project then became a book edited by Sarah Leen and the graphics of Ramon Pez.

photo essay lettering

Picture This: New Orleans by Mary Ellen Mark

The last assignment before her passing, Mary Ellen Mark travelled to New Orleans to register the city after a decade after Hurricane Katrina.

The images of the project “bring to life the rebirth and resilience of the people at the heart of this tale”, – says CNNMoney, commissioner of the work.

Each survivor of the hurricane has a story, and Mary Ellen Mark was there to record it. Some of them have heartbreaking stories about everything they had to leave behind.

Others have a story of hope – like Sam and Ben, two eight-year-olds born from frozen embryos kept in a hospital that lost power supply during the hurricane, yet they managed to survive.

photo essay lettering

Selfie by Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is an American photographer whose work is mainly done through self-portraits. With them, she explores the concept of identity, gender stereotypes, as well as visual and cultural codes.

One of her latest photo essays was a collaboration with W Magazine entitled Selfie. In it, the author explores the concept of planned candid photos (‘plandid’).

The work was made for Instagram, as the platform is well known for the conflict between the ‘real self’ and the one people present online. Sherman started using Facetune, Perfect365 and YouCam to alter her appearance on selfies – in Photoshop, you can modify everything, but these apps were designed specifically to “make things prettier”- she says, and that’s what she wants to explore in this photo essay.

Tokyo Compression by Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf has an interest in the broad-gauge topic Life in Cities. From there, many photo essays have been derived – amongst them – Tokyo Compression .

He was horrified by the way people in Tokyo are forced to move to the suburbs because of the high prices of the city. Therefore, they are required to make long commutes facing 1,5 hours of train to start their 8+ hour workday followed by another 1,5 hours to get back home.

To portray this way of life, he photographed the people inside the train pressed against the windows looking exhausted, angry or simply absent due to this way of life.

You can visit his website to see other photo essays that revolve around the topic of life in megacities.

Final Words

It’s not easy to make photo essays, so don’t expect to be great at it right from your first project.

Start off small by choosing a specific subject that’s interesting to you –  that will come from an honest place, and it will be a great practice for some bigger projects along the line.

Whether you like to shoot still life or you’re a travel photographer, I hope these photo essay tips and photo essay examples can help you get started and grow in your photography.

Let us know which topics you are working on right now – we’ll love to hear from you!

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Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

Penelope G. To Ana Mireles Such a well written and helpful article for an writer who wants to inclue photo essay in her memoir. Thank you. I will get to work on this new skill. Penelope G.

Herman Krieger Photo essays in black and white

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How to Create a Photo Essay in 9 Steps (with Examples)

Photo Editing , Tutorials

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What is a photo essay?

  • Photo essays vs photo stories
  • How photo essays help you
  • 9 Steps to create photo essays

How to share your photo essays

Read Time: 11 minutes

Gather up a handful of images that seem to go together, and voila! It’s a photo essay, right? Well… no. Though, this is a common misconception.

In reality, a photo essay is much more thoughtful and structured than that. When you take the time to craft one, you’re using skills from all facets of our craft – from composition to curation.

In this guide, you’ll learn what makes a photo essay an amazing project that stretches your skills. You'll also learn exactly how to make one step by step.

  • Photo essay vs photo story

A photo essay is a collection of images based around a theme, a topic, a creative approach, or an exploration of an idea. Photo essays balance visual variety with a cohesive style and concept.

What's the difference between a photo essay and a photo story?

The terms photo essay and photo story are often used interchangeably. Even the dictionary definition of “photo essay” includes using images to convey either a theme or a story.

But in my experience, a photo essay and a photo story are two different things. As you delve into the field of visual storytelling, distinguishing between the two helps you to take a purposeful approach to what you’re making .

The differences ultimately lie in the distinctions between theme, topic and story.

Themes are big-picture concepts. Example: Wildness

Topics are more specific than themes, but still overarching. Example : Wild bears of Yellowstone National Park

Stories are specific instances or experiences that happen within, or provide an example for, a topic or theme. Example: A certain wild bear became habituated to tourists and was relocated to maintain its wildness

Unlike a theme or topic, a story has particular elements that make it a story. They include leading characters, a setting, a narrative arc, conflict, and (usually) resolution.

With that in mind, we can distingush between a photo essay and a photo story.

Themes and Topics vs Stories

A photo essay revolves around a topic, theme, idea, or concept. It visually explores a big-picture something .

This allows a good deal of artistic leeway where a photographer can express their vision, philosophies, opinions, or artistic expression as they create their images.

A photo story  is a portfolio of images that illustrate – you guessed it – a story.

Because of this, there are distinct types of images that a photo story uses that add to the understanding, insight, clarity and meaning to the story for viewers. While they can certainly be artistically crafted and visually stunning, photo stories document something happening, and rely on visual variety for capturing the full experience.

A photo essay doesn’t need to have the same level of structured variety that a photo story requires. It can have images that overlap or are similar, as they each explore various aspects of a theme.

An urban coyote walks across a road near an apartment building

Photo essays can be about any topic. If you live in a city, consider using your nature photography to make an essay about the wildlife that lives in your neighborhood . 

The role of text with photos

A photo story typically runs alongside text that narrates the story. We're a visual species, and the images help us feel like we are there, experiencing what's happening. So, the images add significant power to the text, but they're often a partner to it.

This isn’t always the case, of course. Sometimes photo stories don’t need or use text. It’s like reading a graphic novel that doesn’t use text. Moving through the different images that build on each other ultimately unveils the narrative.

Photo essays don’t need to rely on text to illuminate the images' theme or topic. The photographer may use captions (or even a text essay), or they may let the images speak for themselves.

Definitions are helpful guidelines (not strict rules)

Some people categorize photo essays as either narrative or thematic. That's essentially just calling photo stories “narrative photo essays” and photo essays “thematic photo essays.”

But, a story is a defined thing, and any writer/editor will tell you themes and topics are not the same as stories. And we use the word “story” in our daily lives as it’s defined. So, it makes far more sense to name the difference between a photo essay and a photo story, and bask in the same clarity writers enjoy .

Photo stories illustrate a particular experience, event, narrative, something that happened or is happening.

Photo essays explore an idea, concept, topic, theme, creative approach, big-picture something .

Both photo essays and photo stories are immensely powerful visual tools. And yes, the differences between them can certainly be blurred, as is always the case with art.

Simply use this distinction as a general guideline, providing extra clarity around what you’re making and why you're making it.

To dig into specific types of images used to create powerful photo stories, check out this training: 6 Must-Have Shots for a Photo Story. 

Meanwhile, let’s dig deeper into photo essays.

A sea nettle jellyfish floats alone on a white surface

Photo essays are a chance to try new styles or techniques that stretch your skills and creativity. This image was part of an essay exploring simplicity and shape, and helped me learn new skills in black and white post-processing.

How photo essays improve your photography

Creating photo essays is an amazing antidote if you’ve ever felt a lack of direction or purpose in your photography. Photo essays help build your photographic skills in at least 3 important ways.

1. You become more strategic in creating a body of work

It's easy to get stuck in a rut of photographing whatever pops up in front of you. And when you do, you end up with a collection of stand-alone shots.

These singles may work fine as a print, a quick Instagram post, or an addition to your gallery of shots on your website. But amassing a bunch of one-off shots limits your opportunities as a photographer for everything from exhibits to getting your work published.

Building photo essays pushes you to think strategically about what you photograph, why, and how. You're working toward a particular deliverable – a cohesive visual essay – with the images you create.

This elevates your skills in crafting your photo essay, and in how you curate the rest of your work, from galleries on your website to selecting images to sell as prints .

2. You become more purposeful in your composition skills

Composition is so much more than just following the rule of thirds, golden spirals, or thinking about the angle of light in a shot.

Composition is also about thinking ahead in what you’re trying to accomplish with a photograph – from what you’re saying through it to its emotional impact on a viewer – and where it fits within a larger body of work.

Photo essays push you to think critically about each shot – from coming up with fresh compositions for familiar subjects, to devising surprising compositions to fit within a collection, to creating compositions that expand on what’s already in a photo essay.

You’re pushed beyond creating a single pleasing frame, which leads you to shoot more thoughtfully and proactively than ever.

(Here’s a podcast episode on switching from reactive shooting to proactive shooting.)

3. You develop strong editing and curation skills

Selecting which images stay, and which get left behind is one of the hardest jobs on a photographer’s to-do list. Mostly, it’s because of emotional attachment.

You might think it’s an amazing shot because you know the effort that went into capturing it. Or perhaps when you look at it, you get a twinge of the joy or exhilaration you felt the moment you captured it. There’s also the second-guessing that goes into which of two similar images is the best – which will people like more? So you’re tempted to just show both.

Ultimately, great photographers appear all the more skilled because they only show their best work. That in and of itself is a skill they’ve developed through years of ruthlessly editing their own work.

Because the most powerful photo essays only show a handful of extraordinary images, you’re bound to develop the very same critical skill (and look all the more talented because of it).

Photo essays are also a great stepping stone to creating photo stories. If you’re interested in moving beyond stand-alone shots and building stories, shooting photo essays will get your creative brain limbered up and ready for the adventure of photo stories.

An american dipper looks into the water of a stream on a cold morning

A photo essay exploring the natural history of a favorite species is an exciting opportunity for an in-depth study. For me, that was a photo essay on emotive images of the American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) as it hunts in streams. 

9 Simple steps to create your photo essays

1. clarify your theme.

Choose a theme, topic, or concept you want to explore. Spend some time getting crystal clear on what you want to focus on. It helps to write out a few sentences, or even a few paragraphs noting:

  • What you want the essay to be about
  • What kinds of images you want to create as part of it
  • How you’ll photograph the images
  • The style, techniques, or gear you might use to create your images
  • What “success” looks like when you’re done with your photo essay

You don’t have to stick to what you write down, of course. It can change during the image creation process. But fleshing your idea out on paper goes a long way in clarifying your photo essay theme and how you’ll go about creating it.

2. Create your images

Grab your camera and head outside!

As you’re photographing your essay, allow yourself some freedom to experiment. Try unusual compositions or techniques that are new to you.

Stretch your style a little, or “try on” the style of other photographers you admire who have photographed similar subjects.

Photo essays are wonderful opportunities to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and grow as a photographer.

Remember that a photo essay is a visually cohesive collection of images that make sense together. So, while you might stretch yourself into new terrain as you shoot, try to keep that approach, style, or strategy consistent.

Don’t be afraid to create lots of images. It’s great to have lots to choose from in the editing process, which comes up next.

3. Pull together your wide edit

Once you’ve created your images, pull together all the images that might make the cut. This could be as many as 40-60 images. Include anything you want to consider for the final essay in the wide edit.

From here, start weeding out images that:

  • are weaker in composition or subject matter
  • stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the collection
  • Are similar to other stronger images in the collection

It's helpful to review the images at thumbnail size. You make more instinctive decisions and can more easily see the body of work as a whole. If an image is strong even at thumbnail size to stand out from similar frames while also partnering well with other images in the collection, that's a good sign it's strong enough for the essay.

4. Post-process your images for a cohesive look

Now it’s time to post-process the images. Use whatever editing software you’re comfortable with to polish your images.

Again, a photo essay has a cohesive visual look. If you use presets, filters, or other tools, use them across all the images.

5. Finalize your selection

It’s time to make the tough decisions. Select only the strongest for your photo essay from your group of images.

Each image should be strong enough to stand on its own and make sense as part of the whole group.

Many photo essays range from 8-12 images. But of course, it varies based on the essay. The number of images you have in your final photo essay is up to you.

Remember, less is more. A photo essay is most powerful when each image deserves to be included.

6. Put your images in a purposeful order

Create a visual flow with your images. Decide which image is first, and build from there. Use compositions, colors, and subject matter to decide which image goes next, then next, then next in the order.

Think of it like music: notes are arranged in a way that builds energy, or slows it down, surprise listeners with a new refrain, or drop into a familiar chorus. How the notes are ordered creates emotional arcs for listeners.

How you order your images is similar.

Think of the experience a viewer will have as they look at one image, then the next, and the next. Order your images so they create the experience you want your audience to have.

7. Get feedback

The best photographers make space for feedback, even when it’s tough to hear. Your work benefits from not just hearing feedback, but listening to it and applying what you learn from it.

Show your photo essay to people who have different sensibilities or tastes. Friends, family members, fellow photographers – anyone you trust to give you honest feedback.

Watch their reactions and hear what they say about what they’re seeing. Use their feedback to guide you in the next step.

8. Refine, revise, and finalize

Let your photo essay marinate for a little while. Take a day or two away from it. Then use your freshened eyes and the feedback you received from the previous step to refine your essay.

Swap out any selects you might want to change and reorder the images if needed.

9. Add captions

Even if you don’t plan on displaying captions with your images, captioning your images is a great practice to get into. It gives context, story, and important information to each image. And, more than likely, you will want to use these captions at some point when you share your photo essay, which we dive into later in this article.

Add captions to the image files using Lightroom, Bridge, or other software programs.

Create a document, such as a Google or Word doc, with captions for each image.

In your captions, share a bit about the story behind the image, or the creation process. Add whatever makes sense to share that provides a greater understanding of the image and its purpose.

Two rocks sit near each other on a wind-blown beach with long lines of texture in the sand

Photo essays allow you to explore deliberate style choices, such as a focus on shapes, patterns, textures, and lines. Since each photo is part of a larger essay, it encourages you to be bold with choices you might not otherwise make. 

5 Examples of amazing nature photo essays

1. “how the water shapes us” from the nature conservancy.

Screenshot of the landing page of photo essay how the water shapes us from nature conservancy

This gorgeous essay, crafted with the work of multiple photographers, explores the people and places within the Mississippi River basin. Through the images, we gain a sense of how the water influences life from the headwater all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Notice how each photographer is tasked with the same theme, yet approaches it with their own distinct style and vision. It is a wonderful example of the sheer level of visual variety you can have while maintaining a consistent style or theme.

View it here

2. “A Cyclist on the English Landscape” from New York Times’ The World Through A Lens series

Screenshot of the landing page of photo essay a cyclist on the english landscape from new york times

This photo essay is a series of self-portraits by travel photographer Roff Smith while “stuck” at home during the pandemic. As he peddled the roads making portraits, the project evolved into a “celebration of traveling at home”. It’s a great example of how visually consistent you can be inside a theme while making each image completely unique.

3. “Vermont, Dressed In Snow” from New York Times’ The World Through A Lens series

Screenshot of the landing page of photo essay vermont, dressed in snow from new york times

This essay by aerial photographer Caleb Kenna uses a very common photo essay theme: snow. Because all images are aerial photographs, there’s a consistency to them. Yet, the compositions are utterly unique from one another. It’s a great example of keeping viewers surprised as they move from one image to the next while still maintaining a clear focus on the theme.

4. “Starling-Studded Skies” from bioGraphic Magazine

Screenshot of the landing page of photo essay starling-studded-skies from biographic magazine

This beautiful essay is by Kathryn Cooper, a physicist trained in bioinformatics, and a talented photographer. She used a 19th century photographic technique, chronophotography, to create images that give us a look at the art and science of starling murmurations. She states: “I’m interested in the transient moments when chaos briefly changes to order, and thousands of individual bodies appear to move as one.” This essay is a great example of deep exploration of a concept using a specific photographic technique.

View it here   (Note: must be viewed on desktop)

5. “These Scrappy Photos Capture the Action-Packed World Beneath a Bird Feeder” from Audubon Magazine

Screenshot of the landing page of photo essay by carla rhodes from audubon online

This photo essay from conservation photographer Carla Rhodes explores the wildlife that takes advantage of the bounty of food waiting under bird feeders . Using remote camera photography , Rhodes gives viewers a unique ground-level perspective and captures moments that make us feel like we’re in conversation with friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. This essay is a great example of how perspective, personality, and chance can all come into play as you explore both an idea and a technique.

25 Ideas for creative photo essays you can make

The possibilities for photo essays are truly endless – from the concepts you explore to the techniques you use and styles you apply.

Choose an idea, hone your unique perspective on it, then start applying the 9 simple steps from above. 

  • The life of a plant or animal (your favorite species, a species living in your yard, etc)
  • The many shapes of a single species (a tree species, a bird species, etc)
  • How a place changes over time
  • The various moods of a place
  • A conservation issue you care about
  • Math in nature
  • Urban nature
  • Seasonal changes
  • Your yard as a space for nature
  • Shifting climate and its impacts
  • Human impacts on environments
  • Elements: Water, wind, fire, earth
  • Day in the life (of a person, a place, a stream, a tree…)
  • Outdoor recreation (birding, kayaking, hiking, naturalist journaling…)
  • Wildlife rehabilitation
  • Lunar cycles
  • Sunlight and shadows
  • Your local watershed
  • Coexistence

A pacific wren sings from a branch in a sun dappled forest

As you zero in on a photo essay theme, consider two things: what most excites you about an idea, and what about it pushes you out of your comfort zone. The heady mix of joy and challenge will ensure you stick with it. 

Your photo essay is ready for the world! Decide how you’d like to make an impact with your work. You might use one or several of the options below.

1. Share it on your website

Create a gallery or a scrollytelling page on your website. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website where people can peruse your photo essay and the rest of the photography you have.

Putting it on your website and optimizing your images for SEO helps you build organic traffic and potentially be discovered by a broader audience, including photo editors.

2. Create a scrollytelling web page

If you enjoy the experience of immersive visual experiences, consider making one using your essay. And no, you don’t have to be a whiz at code to make it happen.

Shorthand helps you build web pages with scrollytelling techniques that make a big impression on viewers. Their free plan allows you to publish 3 essays or stories.

3. Create a Medium post

If you don’t have a website and want to keep things simple, a post on Medium is a great option.

Though it’s known for being a platform for bloggers, it’s also possible to add images to a post for a simple scroll.

And, because readers can discover and share posts, it’s a good place for your photos to get the attention of people who might not otherwise come across it.

4. Share it on Instagram

Instagram has changed a lot over the last couple of years, but it’s still a place for photographers to share their work thoughtfully.

There are at least 3 great ways to share your photo essay on the platform.

– Create a single post for each image. Add a caption. Publish one post per day until the full essay is on your feed. Share each post via Instagram Stories to bring more attention and interaction to your photo essay.

– Create a carousel post. You can add up 10 photos to a carousel post, so you may need to create two of them for your full photo essay. Or you might create a series of carousel posts using 3-4 images in each.

– Create a Reel featuring your images as a video.  The algorithm heavily favors reels, so turning your photo essay into a video experience can get it out to a larger audience.

I ran a “create a reel” challenge in my membership community. One member created a reel with her still images around a serious conservation issue. It gathered a ton of attention and landed her opportunities to share her message through YouTube and podcast interviews and publishing opportunities. Watch it here.

5. Exhibit it locally

Reach out to local galleries, cafes, pubs, or even the public library to see if they’re interested in hanging your photo essay for display. Many local businesses and organizations happily support the work of local artists.

6. Pitch your photo essay to publications

One of the best ways to reach an audience with your work is to get it published. Find publications that are a great fit for the theme and style of your photo essay, then pitch your essay for consideration. You gain a fantastic opportunity to share your work widely and can earn a paycheck at the same time.

Remember that if you want to get your photo essay published, you may want to hold back from sharing it publicly before you pitch it to publications.

PIN THIS FOR LATER

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Jaymi Heimbuch

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Ten examples of immersive photo essays

Camera sitting on a tripod, overlooking a mountain scene

By Marissa Sapega — Contributing Writer

Photo essays are one of the most powerful forms of storytelling in the last century. From the great depression photographer W. Eugene Smith to the photojournalism of National Geographic or Life Magazine , the best photo essays entertain, educate, and move readers more than words alone ever could. 

But photo essays have changed. Over the last decade, web publishing technologies — including web browsers and file formats — have improved by leaps and bounds. A good photo essays today is more than a collection of images. It’s a truly interactive, immersive, and multimedia experiences.

In this guide, we introduce 10 stunning examples of visually arresting interactive photo essays to fuel your creative juices.

Now, let's set the scene with a short introduction to immersive, interactive photo essays on the web.

What do the BBC, Tripadvisor, and Penguin have in common? They craft stunning, interactive web content with Shorthand. And so can you! Publish your first story for free — no code or web design skills required. Sign up now.

The rise of immersive, interactive photo essays

What is an immersive, interactive photo essay? Let's take these terms one at a time. 

An immersive photo essay uses rich media and story design to capture and keep the reader's attention. Immersive content is typically free of the most distracting elements of the web, such as pop-ups, skyscrapers, and other intrusions on the reading experience.

As a basic rule of thumb, immersive content respects the reader's attention. 

An interactive photo essay is one that allows the reader to control how the content appears. It may include interactive elements, like maps and embedded applications.

More commonly, modern interactive photo stories use a technique known as scrollytelling . Scrollytelling stories allow the reader to trigger animations and other visual effects as they scroll. Many of the examples in this guide use scrollytelling techniques. Read more scrollytelling examples .

Until relatively recently, immersive, interactive photo essays could only be created with the help of a designer or web developer. But with the rise of digital storytelling platforms , anyone can create compelling, dynamic stories without writing a single line of code.

If you're looking to learn more about how to create a photo essay — or are looking for more photo essay ideas  — check out our introduction to photo essays . 

Photo essay topics

If you’re looking for photo essay examples, chances are you’re looking to create a photo essay for yourself. If you’re just getting started, you might want some guidance on exactly what kinds of topics make for great photo essays.

More experienced photographers — feel free to skip this section. But for those who are just starting out, here’s a quick list of classic photo essay subject matter, for all types of photo essays.

  • Local events. A great way to start out is photograph local events in your community, such as a high school fundraiser. A bonus is that you’ll have a ready
  • Historic sites. Another classic photo essay topic is an exploration of a historic site. This could be a building, a monument, or even just a specific location that has significance.
  • Profile of a person. A great way to get to know someone is to profile them in a photo essay. This could be a family member, friend, or even just someone you’ve met.
  • Animals in captivity. Another popular subject matter for photo essays is animals in captivity, whether that’s at a zoo or elsewhere.
  • A day in the life. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live someone else’s life for a day? Why not find out and document it in a photo essay?
  • Street photography. Another great way to practice your photography skills is to head out into the streets and photograph the everyday lives of people around you. The world has plenty of photo essays of cities like New York and London. But what about street photography in your own backyard?
  • Still life photography. Still life photography is all about capturing inanimate objects on film. This could be anything from flowers to furniture to food. It’s a great way to practice your photography skills and learn about composition
  • Landscapes . Landscape photography is one of the most popular genres, and for good reason. There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding interesting subjects to shoot. So get out there and start exploring!
  • Abandoned buildings. There’s something fascinating about abandoned buildings. They offer a glimpse into the past, and can be eerily beautiful. If you have any in your area, they make for great photo essay subjects.
  • Lifestyles. Document someone who lives a lifestyle that’s different from your own. This could be a portrayal of an everyday person, or it could be someone with an unusual job or hobby.
  • Social issues. Take photos depicting significant social issues in your community, remembering to respect your subjects.

Ten inspiring photo essay examples

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Pink lagoon and peculiar galaxies — July’s best science images

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In Pink lagoon and peculiar galaxies , Nature present a mesmerising series of images from the natural world. Highlights include:

  • a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it photo of rare albino orcas performing feats of synchronized swimming;
  • an arresting aerial view of the aftermath of the flash floods in Germany; and,
  • a scarlet gawping Venus flytrap sea anemone. 

The best part? Nature publishes similarly powerful photo essays every month, showcasing some of the best and most creative photography of the natural world anywhere on the web.

Pink lagoon and peculiar galaxies — July’s best science images

Vanishing Lands

A plain, with a lake and mountains in the distance, from Vanishing lands — an ominously interesting photo essay from media company Stuff

Vanishing lands — an ominously interesting photo essay from media company Stuff — opens with a bucolic visual featuring meandering sheep flanked by breathtaking mountains that blur into obscurity.

Soon, more awe-inspiring photos of breathtaking New Zealand farmland appear, accompanied by expressive prose whose tone matches the visuals’ stark beauty.

In this unflinchingly honest photographic essay, Stuff takes the viewer behind the scenes with a day in the life of a high country sheep farmer facing an uncertain future. One stunning photo fades into the next as you scroll through, broken only by the occasional noteworthy quote and accompanying narrative.

Screenshots from Vanishing lands — an ominously interesting photo essay from media company Stuff

Olympic photos: Emotion runs high

An athlete is a karate uniform lying flat on the ground

This emotionally wrought sports story from NBC begins with a close-up of an anxious Simone Biles, her expression exemplifying the tension and frustration echoed on so many of her fellow athletes’ faces.

The subtitle puts it perfectly: “The agony—and thrill—of competition at the Olympics is written all over their faces.”

Devastation, disappointment, and defeat take centre stage in this piece — but not all the subjects of the photos in this compelling photography essay depict misery. Some of the images, like that taken of the gold medal-winning Russian artistic gymnasts, manage to project the athletes’ joy almost beyond the edges of the screen.

The NBC editors who created this visual story chose to display the series of photos using the entire screen width and limit the copy to simple captions, letting the visuals speak for themselves. The result is a riveting montage of photographs that manage to capture the overarching sentiment of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Screenshots from an NBC story on the agony—and thrill—of competition at the Olympics

James Epp: A Twist of the Hand

Photo of a various sculptures in a museum

In A Twist of the Hand , the Museum of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cambridge have produced a gorgeous photo essay. This online art show showcases artist James Epp’s installation, combining photographs of the exhibit with images of museum prints and authentic artefacts.

As you scroll down, close-up shots of the installation make you feel like you’re physically wandering among the ancient sculptures, able to examine hairline spider cracks and tiny divots marking the surface of every antiquated figure. In between the photos—and often flanked by museum prints—are James Epp's musings about what inspired him to create the pieces. It’s an absorbing virtual gallery that will no doubt inspire real life visits to the exhibition.

Screenshots from the University of Cambridge photo essay that showcases artist James Epson’s installation in the Museum of Classical Archaeology

The Café Racer Revolution

A helmeted man standing beside a motorbike

Though it’s a cleverly built piece of interactive content marketing , Honda’s “ Café Racer Revolution ” is also a great photo essay. Alongside information about the latest and greatest motorcycles Honda has to offer, it details the history of the bikers who sought to employ motorcycles (specifically “café racers”) as a way to forge an identity for themselves and project a “statement of individuality.”

Scroll down, and nostalgic black-and-white photos give way to contemporary action shots featuring fully decked-out motorcyclists on various Honda models.

Dynamic photos of bikes rotate them 360 degrees when you mouse over them, and text superimposed over flashy shots rolls smoothly down the screen as you scroll. This photo essay will stir a longing to hit the open road for anyone who has ever dreamed of owning one of Honda’s zippy bikes.

Screenshots from Honda's photo essay, a Café Racer Revolution

Built to keep Black from white

Four children standing against a white wall

In Built to keep Black from white , NBC News and BridgeDetroit have built a stunning narrative photo essay that encapsulates the history of Detroit’s Birwood Wall — a literal dividing line intended to separate neighborhoods inhabited by people of different races. 

The piece begins with a brief history of the concrete barrier. Between paragraphs of text, it weaves in quotes from residents who grew up as the wall was erected and a short video. Animated maps highlighting the affected neighborhoods unspool across the screen as you scroll down, accompanied by brief explanations of what the maps represent.

In the series of photographs that follow, contemporary images transition into decades-old shots of the wall when it was newly constructed. This is followed by images of original real estate documents, resident portraits, and additional animated maps — each considering the issue from different angles.

The piece ends with an interactive display of how Detroit’s racial makeup has changed over the past several decades, from majority white to black, and how the wall has impacted the lives of its residents who lived (and died) within its borders.

Screenshots from NBC's 'Built to keep Black from white,' a stunning narrative photo essay that encapsulates the history of Detroit’s Birwood Wall

The story of Black Lives Matter in sport

A footballer with 'Black Lives Matter' on his shirt.

The BBC pairs illustrations and bold imagery in this photo essay on how athletes participated in the Black Lives Matter movement . At the start, a narrow column of text leads into an iconic image of American football players kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in a solemn protest against police brutality. 

The first excerpt, a summary of Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012, draws you in with piercing prose capped off with photographs that bleed into one another. Every account in the photo essay follows this layout.

Screenshots from a BBC story on the Black Lives Matter movement in sport.

WaterAid Climate Stories

Dozens of boats sitting in a shallow harbour

Climate change affects everyone on the planet, but some people are feeling the effects more than others. WaterAid’s scrollytelling photo essay illuminates the plight of individuals living in areas where extreme weather conditions — caused by climate change — have drastically impacted the water supply and environment, endangering their livelihoods and ability to survive.

This climate change story starts with an engrossing video that provides an up-close and personal look at the devastation that climate change-induced droughts have wreaked on people and the environment. As you scroll down, images of massively depleted bodies of water with superimposed text and quotes unfold before your eyes. It’s an efficient way to drive home the critical message WaterAid wants to convey: climate change is real, and it’s harming real people.

Each extreme weather story focuses on an individual to help viewers empathise and understand that climate change has real, drastic consequences for millions of people worldwide. The piece ends with a call to action to learn more about and financially support WaterAid’s fight to assist people living in the desperate situations depicted in the essay.

Screenshots from WaterAid’s scrollytelling photo essay

28 Days in Afghanistan

A bike, a bus, and car in the thick smoke of Kabul

In this piece, Australian photo-journalist Andrew Quilty tells the story of the four weeks he spent in Afghanistan . He captures daily events ranging from the mundane—like a casual visit to his barber—to jarring. More than one photo documents blood-spattered victims of violence.

Viewers must scroll through the piece to follow Andrew’s daily musings and the striking photos that accompany them. His photo essay is a powerful example of how scrollytelling is transforming the art of long-form journalism .

Australian photo-journalist Andrew Quilty tells the story of the four weeks he spent in Afghanistan

La carrera lunática de Musk y Bezos (Musk and Bezos' lunatic careers)

An illustration of a SpaceX rocket careening away from Earth

Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are angling to conquer the final frontier: space.

El Periódico captures their story via a whimsically illustrated photo essay, filled with neon line drawings and bold photos of the massive spaceships, the hangars that house them, and footprints on the moon. La carrera lunática de Musk y Bezos describes the battle between the two titans’ space companies (Blue Origin and SpaceX) for the honor of partially funding NASA’s next mission to the moon.

As you scroll down, white and fluorescent yellow words on a black background roll smoothly over images. The team at El Periódico slips in stylistic animations to break up the text—such as rocket ships with shimmering “vapour trails”—then ups the ante with a series of moon images that transition into portraits of the 12 U.S. astronauts who visited the celestial body.

The photo essay ends with the question: “Who will be the next to leave their footprints on the dusty lunar soil?” At the time of publishing, NASA had not yet decided between the two companies. (Spoiler alert: SpaceX won .)

Screenshots from El Periódico's story on the lunatic attempts by tech billionaires to go to space.

Marissa Sapega is a seasoned writer, editor, and digital marketer with a background in web and graphic design.

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How to create a photo essay

  • Author Picfair
  • Level Intermediate
  • Reading Time 8 minutes

Cover images by James Gourley

Create a meaningful set of images by producing a photo essay or story

A photographic essay is a deeper and more meaningful way to use your photography than a single image tends to be. Typically associated with documentary and news-gathering, a photo essay doesn’t necessarily have to follow those genres, but can be used as a way to tell a longer or more in-depth story about all manner of subjects. Creating a photo essay however is about more than just taking a set of images and presenting them as one package. They require more forethought, planning and editing than many other forms of photography, but the results are often more rewarding, too. Follow our guide below if it’s something you’d like to consider putting together. ‍ ‍

1 Find a story

The first thing you will need to do is to figure out what you want to do your photo essay on.

"Inspiration can come from anywhere, but a good starting to place is to look at news sources to see if something catches your eye."

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but a good starting to place is to look at news sources to see if something catches your eye. If you’re not sure where to begin, you could start by looking at what’s going on in your local area - if nothing else, it’ll make the practicalities easier. Start jotting down ideas that you can explore and figure out exactly why you want to do it. Try to be as active as you can in discovering what’s going on in the world and eventually something will keep your attention for long enough that it will seem like the right idea.

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‍ 2 Do your research

‍ Next, try and find out as much as you can about whatever it is you want to create your photo story on.

"If you find that others have done photo essays on the same or similar subject, then that’s something you should be aware of."

Importantly, you’ll need to see what else already exists out there - if anything - on your story. If you find that others have done photo essays on the same or similar subject, then that’s something you should be aware of. That’s not to say that you can’t also do one, but it pays to be prepared so that you can perhaps approach it in a different way. You’ll also need to do some research into the practicalities that will be required to help you along the way. You’ll need to look into people you should be contacting, how you will get to the destination (if it’s not local), any requirements you need for visiting the location, any restrictions on what you can and cannot shoot and so on. Doing as much research ahead of time as possible will make the project run smoothly when it comes to actually shooting it. ‍

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3 Make a structured plan  

Once your research is complete, it’s time to make a detailed and structured plan about how you’re going to go about shooting your photo essay. It doesn’t have to be completely rigid so as to disallow flexibility, but sorting out shoot times, shoot dates, shoot locations will give you something to work with, even if things eventually go off plan. Some photo essays can be shot in an afternoon, others might take several months or even years to complete. Having an idea of how long you want to spend on a particular project can help focus your mind and give you an end date for when you might want to publish the essay. It’s also useful to tell subjects and those involved with the shoot a rough timeline of events. You might find it helpful to organise everything together in one easily accessible place - such as online calendars and spreadsheets, so you can quickly refer to anything you need to.

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4 Tell a story

Your photo essay needs to be more than just a set of images on a similar theme.

"...including some introductory or contextualising shots before you get into the heart of the subject matter is a good approach."

Think of it exactly like a story, which usually requires a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s a very simplistic way of putting it, but photographically, including some introductory or contextualising shots before you get into the heart of the subject matter is a good approach. There might not necessarily be a neat “resolution” to whatever story you’re trying to tell, and it might not always be a happy ending, but having that at least in your mind as you go along can help to create a neatly-packaged story that has a definite and well-constructed narrative.

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5 Stick with a cohesive style

Exactly how you’re going to shoot your photo essay is entirely up to you, but in order for your story to have a cohesive look, it’s usually best if you stick to the same style throughout.

"With a photo essay, you want the images to hang extremely well together as a set, so keeping things consistent will help you do that..."

That could be as simple as not mixing black and white and colour, always using a particular lens, always shooting in a particular way, or even applying the same post-processing techniques to the finished shots. With a photo essay, you want the images to hang extremely well together as a set, so keeping things consistent will help you do that - that is, unless you’re actively trying to use disparate styles as an artistic or storytelling technique. ‍

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5 Create a strong edit

The chances are that in the process of creating your photo essay, you will have shot dozens, if not hundreds of images.

"It can help to step away from your essay for at least a few days if you can to give yourself some distance and perspective - don’t be afraid to be brutal and keep your final selection down to only those that are the strongest or the best."

For the final edit of your photo story, you need to make sure that the images selected to appear are the strongest of the set, with each adding something unique to the finished story. Try to avoid “padding out” your story with too many fillers, even if you think they are strong images on their own. It’s a good idea to avoid too much repetition, and here again you should look to include images that create a strong story arc with a defined beginning, middle and end. It can help to step away from your essay for at least a few days if you can to give yourself some distance and perspective - don’t be afraid to be brutal and keep your final selection down to only those that are the strongest or the best. There’s no defined number for how many images should be included in a final story, but as a general rule, you’ll probably want it to be under 20 for the most impact.  ‍

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6 Ask for input

It’s very easy to get so close to your subject and your images that you become blind to any flaws in them, or the structure of your story. Asking for advice and input from somebody you trust can help to tighten up your story even further.

"Asking for advice and input from somebody you trust can help to tighten up your story even further."

In certain situations, it can be helpful to ask the subject of the photographs themselves what they think, to make it more of a collaborative process - but you should be able to determine whether that’s appropriate on a case-by-case basis. If you have any contacts who are photographers, editors or publishers, asking them to cast an eye over your finished story is a good idea, too. ‍

7 Add some text  

It can be a good idea to add some text or individual captions for a photo essay, to give some background information and context to whatever is shown in the pictures. If you’re not a writer, try to keep it as basic as possible - including things such as names, locations and dates. A short introduction to the piece to give some background information is useful, too. Ask somebody you trust to check it over for sense, clarity and mistakes.

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8 Get the story seen

Once your story is complete and you’re happy with it, the next stage is to get it seen - also known as, the hard part.

"Once your story is complete and you’re happy with it, the next stage is to get it seen - also known as, the hard part."

A sensible first step is to create an album on your Picfair store which is dedicated to your photo essay. That way, anybody who is looking for that particular piece won’t have to wade through all of your other work to find it. ‍ You can then start sending out information about the work to editors and publishers, including a link to the album on your Picfair page as an easy way for them to look at it.

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Editor's tip: ‍ If you're not sure where to begin with pitching to publishers, be sure to check our how to pitch guide .

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How to create an outstanding Photo Essay

how to create a photo essay

If you are working on your photo essay and would wish to know how to create a successful one, we have some tips, tricks, and techniques outlined in this article. With the sophistication of digital publishing, you need to be on your A-game when creating digital photos that tell a story.

As a custom essay writing service , our ultimate goal in this article is to guide you on creating a photo essay without straining. We like it when writing, and creativity is fun altogether. Therefore, we have outlined examples, classifications, and a framework that you can use when creating your photo essay.

This article also bears the definition of what a photo essay is. And although you could use this as a professional or a student, you can pay someone to do your essay on our website. When you do so, a polished essay writer will work with you in creating a good photo essay,

We have creatives with expertise, a knack for experimentation, critical thinking and creativity, and an insatiable urge to produce top content. If it sounds like you could use our help, let us know the best way we can assist you in creating a perfect photography essay.

If, however, all you need is insights to point you in the right direction, here is how to create a good photo essay without straining. Let’s explore!

What is a Photo Essay?

Visual storytelling appeals to everyone who has a sense of sight.

Unlike your typical essay in college, a photo essay is a project where you present a series of photographs or images to tell a story, share a narrative, or push a theme/agenda. Thus, a photo essay facilitates picture-led storytelling , which is a creative innovation in photojournalism.

It is also known as a photographic or picture essay. A great photo essay powerfully evokes emotions and appeals to the understanding of its intended audience without using words or with minimal words alongside the series of images.

A perfectly-created photo essay narrates a story using many photographs that take the viewer along your narrative journey. Indeed, it proves that a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, since there are many pictures/images, you could say a photo essay is rich in words, flavor, and content, yet it does not have words.

Talking of photo essays, Ansel Adams is one of the revered and famous photo essayists. Other photo essayists include James Nachtwey, Eugene Smith, and Nancy Borowick .

How to Create a Photo Essay in a step-by-step format

Here is a step-by-step approach to follow to successfully create a compelling and engaging photo essay:

Step 1 – Do your Research

If you are to create an attractive and relevant photo essay, begin by researching the best framework to adopt. Look at what people are doing out there and find out how creatively you can do it better. There are inexhaustible ideas and concepts that you can explore when writing a photo essay. If you’ve not chosen a topic, thorough research can help you decide on a topic and handle it well.

Step 2 - Choose a theme for your photo essay

With the research, you can already identify a specific theme or narrative for your picture essay. Therefore, highlight the theme or narrative, write some notes about the direction you will tackle and how you will reach and satisfy your audience.

Step 2 – Choose a topic that aligns with the theme

Following the findings from your research, choose a great topic. You are not that lucky photo essayist who opportunistically happens upon a story and turns it into a brilliant photo essay. Therefore, you should choose an attractive, reasonable, short, and memorable topic. You are free to select any topic that interests you and one that you find fun to work on. Your chosen theme or narrative can help define the topic for your photo essay.

Step 3 – Pick your subjects

With the theme/narrative and the topic, you can then choose your subjects. These are the people, things, sceneries, or places of central focus in your photography essay.  

The subjects are the ones that give your photo essay a voice, strengthen your narrative, and engage the audience.

Step 4 – Select your top images

Define the appropriate number of images that you intend to use when telling the story. For example, if you intend to leave the audience under suspense, choose which images to use and their order of appearance.  Your photo essay project does not have to use all your images but the best.

The best way to integrate your theme, narrative, and subjects is to create a storyboard that helps you decide how to tell the story. Then, when you lay your ideas out, a storyboard helps you focus on what is essential, especially when you have little control over a given subject.

Step 5 – ask for insights and input from others

After creating the storyboard, choosing the photos, and writing a narrative or theme statement, you can share it with someone knowledgeable for critique. You should also invite views and comments from another person. Ensure that you give the entire photo cache to the person so that they can choose, then compare with your best photos and tweak your choice accordingly.

Step 6 – Write the captions and text

With everything set, write the accompanying content for your photo essay. As well, make sure you caption each photo to enhance your visual narrative. Nothing is cast in stone here because you can also drop using image captions. You can experiment with lighting, tone, color, composition, angles, and location so that the narrative flows. Also, don’t forget to create introductory messages and closing messages. You need to have your signature introductory and closing images well-decided.

Step 7 – Edit your work

Now that you have created a photo essay, it is now time to edit everything. You can ask for help or rest and do it when you are energetic and objective. If you want a skilled essay writer to write you an excellent narrative to post alongside your photo essay, you can always trust our essay website.  We can also edit the narrative to maintain a good flow.

Step 8 – Publish/submit your work

If everything else is okay, convert the photo essay to the correct format and submit or publish it. Remember, photo essays can be a portion of a webpage, a webpage, a document, fashion publication, photo editorial, collage of images, or mixed media.

Helpful Tips when compiling your Photographic Essay

If you are on track to become a photo essayist, you need to grasp the most critical photo essaying tips, techniques, and tricks. Here is some best advice you could use to find a subject for your photo essay.

1. Try to tell a diverse and confident story

When you get out there to tell a story, make sure you do it most awesomely. Understand your target audience, do anything that will resonate with their needs, appeal to their emotions, logic, and thoughts, and leave them musing over your narrative. It is, therefore, vital that you consider what your key message will be and be confident when handling it in your photo essay.

2.Storyboard before building

Architects, surgeons, artists, engineers, you name the profession, all begin with either a sketch, blueprint or a plan to visualize the entire concept or creation before its actualization. In the real of photo essays, you have to be invested right from the beginning. Therefore, you need to create a storyboard that helps you to convert your vision, abstract thoughts, and ideas to a concrete plan that you can execute to succeed in your project. A storyboard also doubles as a shortlist for your photography project.

When storyboarding, you will notice that you take an outsider view, which helps you evaluate how every element fits into the larger picture – your narrative/theme. When doing it, you can discard otherwise burdensome but irrelevant content, which saves you time and leaves you to focus more.

Storyboarding is a critical, creative step when building a perfect photo essay as it ensures the flow to your viewers.

3. Have a visual structure

A contemporary photo essay follows a simple or basic framework that gives your theme direction and scope. Therefore, having a visual structure, marker, or framework helps you transform the photo series into a narrative. For instance, this Growing up young photo essay published in the BBC chooses to have quotes from the subjects running alongside the photos. Likewise, the picture essay done by photojournalist Stefanie Glinski titled  One Month in Kabul Under Taliban rule – a photo essay has narrative and captions to further illustrate the themes, content, and narratives.

4. Have a variety of images

To write an exceptional photo essay, ensure that you have as many photos or images as possible. Assemble as much as you think you will need for the project, then use your ruthless photo editing skills to pick the best photos.

Although shedding content hurts, it’s the only best way to achieve the best piece. It is also better to be in a dilemma of which photos to use than wish that you included a specific shot. Having multiple shots ensures that everything is captured. Then compiling your photo series becomes easier.

5. Edit your photos well

When editing, do it ruthlessly. While you cannot be Annie Leibovitz, Stefanie Glinski, or Ansel Adams, you certainly have to up your game to be at par with them. You can either use a professional editor. Alternatively, you can edit your photos using Photoshop, Illustrator, or other image-editing software. Whatever you choose your struggle to be, ensure that you end up with high-quality photos that make sense to your theme or narrative. If you have to refine an image to remove blemish or flaws, use it as long as it ends up fine. Make sure that the focus of each photo is visible and that unwanted areas are cropped out. If you are editing on your own, edit the photos a few days after the shoot to have an objective mind when doing it.

6. Choose the top 10 images

You are not just going to lazily throw images and words all over a structure and have it for the best photo essay out there. Instead, you need to select quality photos that will tell your narrative. Be keen enough to ensure that any photo that makes it to the top 10 list is compelling and poignant. If you notice that you don’t have good equipment to produce or capture quality photos, don’t be afraid to pull in a professional photographer.

7. Use outside input to perfect your choice

When working on a photo essay project, you are not necessarily an island. The photo essayists we’ve mentioned work with teams. You equally need to get a trusted, visually active, and sophisticated individual, professional, or friend to help you.

Have them look at the photos you took and ask them to choose the best. As well, provide them with a written description of your narrative and ask them to select their 10 best photos.

Compare their choice with yours and if they differ, make a point of asking the reason. Listen keenly and tweak your narrative and choice as they most likely reflect what an audience would perceive from the photo essay.

8. Select the best photos from the best

Based on the reasons from your external source (friend, editor, or photographer), select the 10 best photographs to use in telling your story. As well, change the narration if there is a need to tweak it.

9. Write reasonable captions

For your final choice of 10 images, write a befitting caption that will help to enhance your visual narrative. You need to be concise, brief, and clear. If the photos have a strong or exciting background story you wish to run, have the narrative written as content alongside the photos.

However, if you feel like the images can stand alone without captions, don’t beat yourself over it; leave them out. After all, using captions is not a must.

Look at this example of Black Lives Matter Photo Essay (Link to external site).

Apart from the caption, you can add text that contains data, complex metrics, or maps to support your narrative. Using maps can help drive the point home.

10. Focus on the details

Yes, the devil is always in the details. When you eventually display your photo essay to an audience, everybody analyzes it their way. However, when you capture the details, you will take care of each perspective, judgment, and reasoning from your audience. Ensure that you place everything in context and that everything is up to date.

11. Make it fun

Unlike college essays that come with challenges, creating a photo essay should be fun. Therefore, enjoy every bit of the project. Doing so helps you to step up your game, inspire creativity, and relaxes your mind. There is nothing creative and innovative you cannot do in a photo essay with a let loose sort of spirit.

12. Set the scene

When telling a story through photography, you are equally writing your story. Therefore, ensure that you set a scene to capture the moment that appeals to your audience.

For the events that you have no control over, try as much as possible to take photos that match your narrative or theme.

13. Experiment more when taking photos

There is no single bullet to creating an outstanding photo essay. To achieve perfection, let your photo essay express your story in the best way it can. Therefore, you need to test filter effects, use fonts, adjust the visuals, check the contrast, adjust color, hue, and feel, and crop your photos well. With experimentation comes creativity and innovativeness, which birth perfection.

Classification of Photo Essays

In terms of classification, there are two general classes of photo essays where all the genres of photo essays fall. These classes are narrative and thematic.

1. Narrative Photo Essays

A narrative photo essay, as the name suggests, tells a specific story. But, mainly, these types of photo essays tend to tell a peculiar and more direct story.

Unlike thematic photo essays, narrative photo essays give less freedom to the photo essayist. The use of text is to have some sense of completion to the story.

For instance, the 28 Days in Afghanistan by Andrew Quilty published in the SBS is a narrative photo essay that documents the photographer’s experience in the war-torn nation using both text and unadulterated photos.

The picture essay by photojournalist Stefanie Glinski titled  One Month in Kabul Under Taliban rule – a photo essay also falls under this category as it highlights her one-month encounter in Kabul.

2. Thematic photo Essays

Thematic photo essays are topic-specific. For example, they can be on politics, pollution, police brutality, global pandemic, poverty, crime, etc.

You have the freedom of choosing the subjects, location, and you do not necessarily have to incorporate text.

An example of a thematic photo essay is the “ They call us bewitched ” picture essay published in the Guardian. We also bumped into the Olympics Photos: Emotion runs high by the NBC News, which we find as an excellent thematic photo essay. Next, look at this Hurricane Katrina photo essay. It is thematic in the sense that it focuses on a natural disaster. Finally, if you want more examples, this photo essay titled “ From Trayvon Martin to Colin Kaepernick ” details the theme of Black Lives Matter/ police brutality.

Typical Photo Essay Examples/Genres to inspire your creativity

  • The daily life photo essay – A Day-in-the-life photo essay tells a story about the day-to-day life of a given subject. It could be a lawyer, president, celebrity, farmer, industrialist, pope, student, etc. most of these photographic essays evoke emotions and help the audience enter into the subject's world.
  • Transitioning through life photo essay – These are essays that detail photos of how people transform through life. It can be a photo of a celebrity, president, farmer, or famous person since they were young to date.
  • Special events photo essays – As the name suggests, these are photo essays on special events, festivities, and occurrences. The events can be weddings, burials, art exhibitions, car shows, auction events, or celebrations. They have very elaborate and relatable background objects that connect to the main idea.
  • Family photo essays – These can be photo essays on family members. You can include photos that show how the family has grown or detailing the family tree. They can also be family business photos that detail the leaders assigned roles to family businesses.
  • Protest photo essays – These are thematic photo essays that detail how protests occurred and paint a clear picture of the theme of such protests as the Black Lives Matter protests. When creating a protest photo essay, you should have information about the particular protest. Focus on incidents and protests that occurred in history.
  • Sports photo essays – Sports essays can be on sports events such as Olympics, Wimbledon, football leagues, or about sportsmen and women. For instance, the Skysports’ picture essay on Diego Maradona titled Diego Maradona: Images of a football Icon .
  • Medical Photo Essays – Organizations such as WHO , Universities , or CDC have various examples of medical photo essays. These visual illustrations focus on medical research, medical practice, diseases, and medical breakthroughs.
  • Scientific Photo Essays – Like medical essays, these photo essays detail scientific encounters, breakthroughs, inventions, etc.
  • Celebrity photo essays – You can create a photo essay on a celebrity.
  • Political photo essays are photo essays that capture and narrate political events, history, and news in a series of photographs and narratives. It could be about leftist and rightist politics or geopolitics as well as policy-making.
  • War photo essays – Captures the critical and significant elements of conflict, war, and peace. There are many samples online.
  • Timelapse photo essays – These are transformational photo essays that capture the changes of a subject through time. They might take longer to develop and can be on buildings, estates, cities, trees, or landscapes.
  • Relationship photo essays – This photo essay genre captures the interaction between people, families, and loved ones. It is the most common assignment in journalism class. It offers an excellent chance to capture emotions like love, family, and friendship.
  • Poverty photo essays – This genre of photo essays captures poverty from the standpoint of the subject. They can contain infrastructure, housing, amenities, food, water, etc. They are very emotional and can use narratives. They are the same as drought photo essays that capture how the drought has ravaged a geographic region of interest.
  • City photo essays – These are photographic essays that capture a city's feel, life, and pleasures. They are thematic in nature and allow you to focus on specific areas, moods, and feeling that such places evoke.
  • Education photo essays – Details issues in education. For instance, it can be a photo essay showing the disparity in access, challenges in education, or infrastructure in education. An example is The Many Faces of Learning, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Another one is Embracing Education , published by the Lutheran World Federation.

As long as you can think of any topic, there is always a picture or photo essay genre where it can fall under. Remember, you can be asked to create a photo essay on a Word Document or PDF for class, which is where you get the chance to display your prowess and creativity.

Common Photo Essay Examples

Here are the famous photo essays that you can draw inspiration from:

  • Various American Natural Sites by Ansel Adams
  • “Everyday” by Noah Kalina
  • “Signed, X” by Kate Ryan 
  • “The Vietnam War” by Philip Jones Griffiths
  • “The Great Depression” by Dorothea Lange

Structure/Anatomy of a Photo Essay

Here is a blueprint or skeleton of how a basic photo essay can look like

Introductory text/content

This is where you type the text that explains or introduces the photo essay to your audience.

Signature Image

This is the strongest image that has a visual impact on the story you are running. It should be an image that invites the viewers to your story to be interested in looking further. In simple terms, this is your window, attention grabber, or icon; make it count.

This is the picture of a key player or the main subject of your story. You must ensure that the foreground and background elements reinforce the theme or narrative.

Where the subject is caught in real moments, such as in environmental portraits, is reportedly more compelling. You can use a series of posed portraits as well.

Overall wider view

This is the photograph that gives the viewers a sense of the place or part of the place where the story happens. You use such images to create a scene. It can also be a series of detailed images bundled together to set the scene.

Here, you need to follow up with a photograph that explains the finer details. The photo can be abstract but eye-catching in the sense that it draws the attention of the audience. It should be an image that reveals to the audience some aspect that is otherwise missed in a wider shot. You are allowed to use series of small detail photos as a mosaic in one image .

When defining an action, look for a photograph that shows the main theme in your story. For instance, if it is a Black Lives Matter protest, focus on a photo that captures banners, police, and protesters.  Specifically, focus on the most poignant or dramatic images that capture people interacting with one another. You can as well capture gestures or moments that amplify the visual narrative you want to communicate.

Closing Photo and text

This is the powerful closing photograph that lets your audience ponder more about your visual narrative. You can follow it with a text highlighting the thoughts you want the audience to reason with as they come to the end of your photo essay.

photo essay lettering

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Pictures That Tell Stories: Photo Essay Examples

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Like any other type of artist, a photographer’s job is to tell a story through their pictures. While some of the most creative among us can invoke emotion or convey a thought with one single photo, the rest of us will rely on a photo essay.

In the following article, we’ll go into detail about what a photo essay is and how to craft one while providing some detailed photo essay examples.

What is a Photo Essay? 

A photo essay is a series of photographs that, when assembled in a particular order, tell a unique and compelling story. While some photographers choose only to use pictures in their presentations, others will incorporate captions, comments, or even full paragraphs of text to provide more exposition for the scene they are unfolding.

A photo essay is a well-established part of photojournalism and have been used for decades to present a variety of information to the reader. Some of the most famous photo essayists include Ansel Adams , W. Eugene Smith, and James Nachtwey. Of course, there are thousands of photo essay examples out there from which you can draw inspiration.

Why Consider Creating a Photo Essay?

As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth 1000 words.” This adage is, for many photographers, reason enough to hold a photo essay in particularly high regard.

For others, a photo essay allow them to take pictures that are already interesting and construct intricate, emotionally-charged tales out of them. For all photographers, it is yet another skill they can master to become better at their craft.

As you might expect, the photo essay have had a long history of being associated with photojournalism. From the Great Depression to Civil Rights Marches and beyond, many compelling stories have been told through a combination of images and text, or photos alone. A photo essay often evokes an intense reaction, whether artistic in nature or designed to prove a socio-political point.

Below, we’ll list some famous photo essay samples to further illustrate the subject.

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Famous Photo Essays

“The Great Depression” by Dorothea Lange – Shot and arranged in the 1930s, this famous photo essay still serves as a stark reminder of The Great Depression and Dust Bowl America . Beautifully photographed, the black and white images offer a bleak insight to one of the country’s most difficult times.

“The Vietnam War” by Philip Jones Griffiths – Many artists consider the Griffiths’ photo essay works to be some of the most important records of the war in Vietnam. His photographs and great photo essays are particularly well-remembered for going against public opinion and showing the suffering of the “other side,” a novel concept when it came to war photography.

Various American Natural Sites by Ansel Adams – Adams bought the beauty of nature home to millions, photographing the American Southwest and places like Yosemite National Park in a way that made the photos seem huge, imposing, and beautiful.

“Everyday” by Noah Kalina – Is a series of photographs arranged into a video. This photo essay features daily photographs of the artist himself, who began taking capturing the images when he was 19 and continued to do so for six years.

“Signed, X” by Kate Ryan – This is a powerful photo essay put together to show the long-term effects of sexual violence and assault. This photo essay is special in that it remains ongoing, with more subjects being added every year.

Common Types of Photo Essays

While a photo essay do not have to conform to any specific format or design, there are two “umbrella terms” under which almost all genres of photo essays tend to fall. A photo essay is thematic and narrative. In the following section, we’ll give some details about the differences between the two types, and then cover some common genres used by many artists.

⬥ Thematic 

A thematic photo essay speak on a specific subject. For instance, numerous photo essays were put together in the 1930s to capture the ruin of The Great Depression. Though some of these presentations followed specific people or families, they mostly told the “story” of the entire event. There is much more freedom with a thematic photo essay, and you can utilize numerous locations and subjects. Text is less common with these types of presentations.

⬥ Narrative 

A narrative photo essay is much more specific than thematic essays, and they tend to tell a much more direct story. For instance, rather than show a number of scenes from a Great Depression Era town, the photographer might show the daily life of a person living in Dust Bowl America. There are few rules about how broad or narrow the scope needs to be, so photographers have endless creative freedom. These types of works frequently utilize text.

Common Photo Essay Genres

Walk a City – This photo essay is when you schedule a time to walk around a city, neighborhood, or natural site with the sole goal of taking photos. Usually thematic in nature, this type of photo essay allows you to capture a specific place, it’s energy, and its moods and then pass them along to others.

The Relationship Photo Essay – The interaction between families and loved ones if often a fascinating topic for a photo essay. This photo essay genre, in particular, gives photographers an excellent opportunity to capture complex emotions like love and abstract concepts like friendship. When paired with introspective text, the results can be quite stunning. 

The Timelapse Transformation Photo Essay – The goal of a transformation photo essay is to capture the way a subject changes over time. Some people take years or even decades putting together a transformation photo essay, with subjects ranging from people to buildings to trees to particular areas of a city.

Going Behind The Scenes Photo Essay – Many people are fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes of big events. Providing the photographer can get access; to an education photo essay can tell a very unique and compelling story to their viewers with this photo essay.

Photo Essay of a Special Event – There are always events and occasions going on that would make an interesting subject for a photo essay. Ideas for this photo essay include concerts, block parties, graduations, marches, and protests. Images from some of the latter were integral to the popularity of great photo essays.

The Daily Life Photo Essay – This type of photo essay often focus on a single subject and attempt to show “a day in the life” of that person or object through the photographs. This type of photo essay can be quite powerful depending on the subject matter and invoke many feelings in the people who view them.

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Photo Essay Ideas and Examples

One of the best ways to gain a better understanding of photo essays is to view some photo essay samples. If you take the time to study these executions in detail, you’ll see just how photo essays can make you a better photographer and offer you a better “voice” with which to speak to your audience.

Some of these photo essay ideas we’ve already touched on briefly, while others will be completely new to you. 

Cover a Protest or March  

Some of the best photo essay examples come from marches, protests, and other events associated with movements or socio-political statements. Such events allow you to take pictures of angry, happy, or otherwise empowered individuals in high-energy settings. The photo essay narrative can also be further enhanced by arriving early or staying long after the protest has ended to catch contrasting images. 

Photograph a Local Event  

Whether you know it or not, countless unique and interesting events are happening in and around your town this year. Such events provide photographers new opportunities to put together a compelling photo essay. From ethnic festivals to historical events to food and beverage celebrations, there are many different ways to capture and celebrate local life.

Visit an Abandoned Site or Building  

Old homes and historical sites are rich with detail and can sometimes appear dilapidated, overgrown by weeds, or broken down by time. These qualities make them a dynamic and exciting subject. Many great photo essay works of abandoned homes use a mix of far-away shots, close-ups, weird angles, and unique lighting. Such techniques help set a mood that the audience can feel through the photographic essay.

Chronicle a Pregnancy

Few photo essay topics could be more personal than telling the story of a pregnancy. Though this photo essay example can require some preparation and will take a lot of time, the results of a photographic essay like this are usually extremely emotionally-charged and touching. In some cases, photographers will continue the photo essay project as the child grows as well.

Photograph Unique Lifestyles  

People all over the world are embracing society’s changes in different ways. People live in vans or in “tiny houses,” living in the woods miles away from everyone else, and others are growing food on self-sustaining farms. Some of the best photo essay works have been born out of these new, inspiring movements.

Photograph Animals or Pets  

If you have a favorite animal (or one that you know very little about), you might want to arrange a way to see it up close and tell its story through images. You can take photos like this in a zoo or the animal’s natural habitat, depending on the type of animal you choose. Pets are another great topic for a photo essay and are among the most popular subjects for many photographers.

Show Body Positive Themes  

So much of modern photography is about showing the best looking, prettiest, or sexiest people at all times. Choosing a photo essay theme like body positivity, however, allows you to film a wide range of interesting-looking people from all walks of life.

Such a photo essay theme doesn’t just apply to women, as beauty can be found everywhere. As a photo essay photographer, it’s your job to find it!

Bring Social Issues to Life  

Some of the most impactful social photo essay examples are those where the photographer focuses on social issues. From discrimination to domestic violence to the injustices of the prison system, there are many ways that a creative photographer can highlight what’s wrong with the world. This type of photo essay can be incredibly powerful when paired with compelling subjects and some basic text.

Photograph Style and Fashion

If you live in or know of a particularly stylish locale or area, you can put together an excellent thematic photo essay by capturing impromptu shots of well-dressed people as they pass by. As with culture, style is easily identifiable and is as unifying as it is divisive. Great photo essay examples include people who’ve covered fashion sub-genres from all over the world, like urban hip hop or Japanese Visual Kei. 

Photograph Native Cultures and Traditions  

If you’ve ever opened up a copy of National Geographic, you’ve probably seen photo essay photos that fit this category. To many, the traditions, dress, religious ceremonies, and celebrations of native peoples and foreign cultures can be utterly captivating. For travel photographers, this photo essay is considered one of the best ways to tell a story with or without text.

Capture Seasonal Or Time Changes In A Landmark Photo Essay

Time-lapse photography is very compelling to most viewers. What they do in a few hours, however, others are doing over months, years, and even decades. If you know of an exciting landscape or scene, you can try to capture the same image in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, and put that all together into one landmark photo essay.

Alternatively, you can photograph something being lost or ravaged by time or weather. The subject of your landmark photo essay can be as simple as the wall of an old building or as complex as an old house in the woods being taken over by nature. As always, there are countless transformation-based landmark photo essay works from which you can draw inspiration.

Photograph Humanitarian Efforts or Charity  

Humanitarian efforts by groups like Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders can invoke a powerful response through even the simplest of photos. While it can be hard to put yourself in a position to get the images, there are countless photo essay examples to serve as inspiration for your photo essay project.

How to Create a Photo Essay

There is no singular way to create a photo essay. As it is, ultimately, and artistic expression of the photographer, there is no right, wrong, good, or bad. However, like all stories, some tell them well and those who do not. Luckily, as with all things, practice does make perfect. Below, we’ve listed some basic steps outlining how to create a photo essay

Photo essay

Steps To Create A Photo Essay

Choose Your Topic – While some photo essayists will be able to “happen upon” a photo story and turn it into something compelling, most will want to choose their photo essay topics ahead of time. While the genres listed above should provide a great starting place, it’s essential to understand that photo essay topics can cover any event or occasion and any span of time

Do Some Research – The next step to creating a photo essay is to do some basic research. Examples could include learning the history of the area you’re shooting or the background of the person you photograph. If you’re photographing a new event, consider learning the story behind it. Doing so will give you ideas on what to look for when you’re shooting.  

Make a Storyboard – Storyboards are incredibly useful tools when you’re still in the process of deciding what photo story you want to tell. By laying out your ideas shot by shot, or even doing rough illustrations of what you’re trying to capture, you can prepare your photo story before you head out to take your photos.

This process is especially important if you have little to no control over your chosen subject. People who are participating in a march or protest, for instance, aren’t going to wait for you to get in position before offering up the perfect shot. You need to know what you’re looking for and be prepared to get it.

Get the Right Images – If you have a shot list or storyboard, you’ll be well-prepared to take on your photo essay. Make sure you give yourself enough time (where applicable) and take plenty of photos, so you have a lot from which to choose. It would also be a good idea to explore the area, show up early, and stay late. You never know when an idea might strike you.

Assemble Your Story – Once you develop or organize your photos on your computer, you need to choose the pictures that tell the most compelling photo story or stories. You might also find some great images that don’t fit your photo story These can still find a place in your portfolio, however, or perhaps a completely different photo essay you create later.

Depending on the type of photographer you are, you might choose to crop or digitally edit some of your photos to enhance the emotions they invoke. Doing so is completely at your discretion, but worth considering if you feel you can improve upon the naked image.

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Best Photo Essays Tips And Tricks

Before you approach the art of photo essaying for the first time, you might want to consider with these photo essay examples some techniques, tips, and tricks that can make your session more fun and your final results more interesting. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best advice we could find on the subject of photo essays. 

Guy taking a photo

⬥ Experiment All You Want 

You can, and should, plan your topic and your theme with as much attention to detail as possible. That said, some of the best photo essay examples come to us from photographers that got caught up in the moment and decided to experiment in different ways. Ideas for experimentation include the following: 

Angles – Citizen Kane is still revered today for the unique, dramatic angles used in the film. Though that was a motion picture and not photography, the same basic principles still apply. Don’t be afraid to photograph some different angles to see how they bring your subject to life in different ways.

Color – Some images have more gravitas in black in white or sepia tone. You can say the same for images that use color in an engaging, dynamic way. You always have room to experiment with color, both before and after the shoot.

Contrast – Dark and light, happy and sad, rich and poor – contrast is an instantly recognizable form of tension that you can easily include in your photo essay. In some cases, you can plan for dramatic contrasts. In other cases, you simply need to keep your eyes open.

Exposure Settings – You can play with light in terms of exposure as well, setting a number of different moods in the resulting photos. Some photographers even do random double exposures to create a photo essay that’s original.

Filters – There are endless post-production options available to photographers, particularly if they use digital cameras. Using different programs and apps, you can completely alter the look and feel of your image, changing it from warm to cool or altering dozens of different settings.

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If you’re using traditional film instead of a digital camera, you’re going to want to stock up. Getting the right shots for a photo essay usually involves taking hundreds of images that will end up in the rubbish bin. Taking extra pictures you won’t use is just the nature of the photography process. Luckily, there’s nothing better than coming home to realize that you managed to capture that one, perfect photograph. 

⬥ Set the Scene 

You’re not just telling a story to your audience – you’re writing it as well. If the scene you want to capture doesn’t have the look you want, don’t be afraid to move things around until it does. While this doesn’t often apply to photographing events that you have no control over, you shouldn’t be afraid to take a second to make an OK shot a great shot. 

⬥ Capture Now, Edit Later 

Editing, cropping, and digital effects can add a lot of drama and artistic flair to your photos. That said, you shouldn’t waste time on a shoot, thinking about how you can edit it later. Instead, make sure you’re capturing everything that you want and not missing out on any unique pictures. If you need to make changes later, you’ll have plenty of time! 

⬥ Make It Fun 

As photographers, we know that taking pictures is part art, part skill, and part performance. If you want to take the best photo essays, you need to loosen up and have fun. Again, you’ll want to plan for your topic as best as you can, but don’t be afraid to lose yourself in the experience. Once you let yourself relax, both the ideas and the opportunities will manifest.

⬥ It’s All in The Details 

When someone puts out a photographic essay for an audience, that work usually gets analyzed with great attention to detail. You need to apply this same level of scrutiny to the shots you choose to include in your photo essay. If something is out of place or (in the case of historical work) out of time, you can bet the audience will notice.

⬥ Consider Adding Text

While it isn’t necessary, a photographic essay can be more powerful by the addition of text. This is especially true of images with an interesting background story that can’t be conveyed through the image alone. If you don’t feel up to the task of writing content, consider partnering with another artist and allowing them tor bring your work to life.

Final Thoughts 

The world is waiting to tell us story after story. Through the best photo essays, we can capture the elements of those stories and create a photo essay that can invoke a variety of emotions in our audience.

No matter the type of cameras we choose, the techniques we embrace, or the topics we select, what really matters is that the photos say something about the people, objects, and events that make our world wonderful.

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Teaching the Photo Essay

A picture is worth 1,000 words.

photo essay lettering

Your students, if they’re anything like mine, love to communicate through images—photos on Instagram , GIFs shared in a text, photo stories on Snapchat. And yet, so much of our conversation in school revolves around words. Understanding text is critical to students’ success now and in the future. But do we also help students identify, read and understand images in order to become literate in the visual language that is all around us? The photo essay can be a great middle or high school assignment that will have strong appeal and grow your students’ writing skills.

What Is a Photo Essay?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “photo essay,” have no fear. A photo essay, in its simplest form, is a series of pictures that evokes an emotion, presents an idea or helps tell a story. You’ve been exposed to photo essays for your entire life—possibly without even knowing it. For example, you may have seen Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother:

teachingphotoessay

An iconic image of the Great Depression, this picture, along with Lange’s other gripping photos, helped Americans better understand the effects of poverty in California as well as across the nation. Migrant Mother is one of countless photographs that helped persuade, influence or engage viewers in ways that text alone could not.

Photo essays can feature text through articles and descriptions, or they can stand alone with simple captions to give context. The versatility of photo essays has helped the medium become a part of our culture for centuries, from the American Civil War to modern environmental disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. This versatility is also what makes the photo essay a great educational asset in classrooms today; teachers can use them in any content area. Math students can use them to show a geometric concept in real life. Science students can document a chemistry process at home. Auto students can photograph the technique—and joys and frustrations—of learning a new procedure.

So, where does a teacher begin? Read further for tips and ideas for making photo essays a part of your teaching toolbox.

Start With Photos

Introducing photo essays as a means of changing lives and changing society can hook student interest in the medium. Begin by simply showing pictures and letting students discuss their reactions. Consider this famous photo of the field at Antietam during the Civil War. Share some of the photos from this collection from CNN of 25 of the Most Iconic Photograph s or this list of 50 Influential Photographs That Changed Our World .

Each of these photographs stirs emotion and sends our minds searching for answers. As a warm-up assignment or series of assignments, have students choose (or assign randomly) a photograph to write about. What’s the story? Why did this happen? Who was involved?

DIY Photographs

Before giving a formal photo essay assignment, give students an opportunity to practice and receive feedback. Consider presenting students with several open-ended, ungraded challenges like “For class tomorrow, take a photo that depicts ‘Struggle.’” Other possible photo topics: chaos, frustration, friendship, school. Have students email you their photo homework and share it as a slideshow. Talk about the images. Do they convey the theme?

You can give examples or suggestions; however, giving too many examples and requirements can narrow students’ creativity. The purpose of this trial run is to generate conversation and introduce students to thinking like photographers, so don’t worry if the photos aren’t what you had in mind; it’s about getting feedback on what the student had in mind.

Technique 101

Even though the goal of a photo essay is to influence and create discussion, there is still benefit in giving students a crash course on simple photography concepts. Don’t feel like you have to teach a master-level course on dark-room development. Even a simple overview on the “Rule of Thirds” and the importance of perspective can be enough to help students create intentional, visually stirring photographs.

You can teach these ideas directly or have students do the work by researching on their own. They have most likely seen hundreds of movies, advertisements and photos, so these lessons are simply labeling what they’ve already experienced. Having some knowledge of composition will not only help students improve their visual literacy, it will also help empower them to take photos of their own.

Choose Your Purpose

Are students telling their own stories of their neighborhoods or their families? Are they addressing a social issue or making an argument through their images and text? A photo essay could be a great assignment in science to document a process or focus on nature.

If you are just getting started, start out small: Have students create a short photo essay (two to five images) to present a topic, process or idea you have been focusing on in class. Here’s a Photo Essay Planning Guide to share with your students.

Photo Essay Planning Guide Image

With pictures becoming a dominant medium in our image-filled world, it’s not a question of if we should give students practice and feedback with visual literacy, it’s a question of how . Photo essays are a simple, engaging way to start. So, what’s your plan?

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Examples

Photo Essay

photo essay lettering

We all know that photographs tell a story. These still images may be seen from various perspectives and are interpreted in different ways. Oftentimes, photographers like to give dramatic meaning to various scenarios. For instance, a blooming flower signifies a new life. Photographs always hold a deeper meaning than what they actually are.

In essay writing , photographs along with its supporting texts, play a significant role in conveying a message. Here are some examples of these kinds of photo-text combinations.

What is Photo Essay? A photo essay is a visual storytelling method that utilizes a sequence of carefully curated photographs to convey a narrative, explore a theme, or evoke specific emotions. It goes beyond individual images, aiming to tell a cohesive and impactful story through the arrangement and combination of pictures.

Photo Essay Format

A photo essay is a series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. It is a powerful way to convey messages without the need for many words. Here is a format to guide you in creating an effective photo essay:

1. Choose a Compelling Topic

Select a subject that you are passionate about or that you find intriguing. Ensure the topic has a clear narrative that can be expressed visually.

2. Plan Your Shots

Outline the story you wish to tell. This could involve a beginning, middle, and end or a thematic approach. Decide on the types of shots you need (e.g., wide shots, close-ups, portraits, action shots) to best tell the story.

3. Take Your Photographs

Capture a variety of images to have a wide selection when editing your essay. Focus on images that convey emotion, tell a story, or highlight your theme.

4. Edit Your Photos

Select the strongest images that best convey your message or story. Edit for consistency in style, color, and lighting to ensure the essay flows smoothly.

5. Arrange Your Photos

Order your images in a way that makes sense narratively or thematically. Consider transitions between photos to ensure they lead the viewer naturally through the story.

6. Include Captions or Text (Optional)

Write captions to provide context, add depth, or explain the significance of each photo. Keep text concise and impactful, letting the images remain the focus.

7. Present Your Photo Essay

Choose a platform for presentation, whether online, in a gallery, or as a printed booklet. Consider the layout and design, ensuring that it complements and enhances the visual narrative.

8. Conclude with Impact

End with a strong image or a conclusion that encapsulates the essence of your essay. Leave the viewer with something to ponder , reflecting on the message or emotions you aimed to convey.

Best Photo Essay Example?

One notable example of a powerful photo essay is “The Photographic Essay: Paul Fusco’s ‘RFK Funeral Train'” by Paul Fusco. This photo essay captures the emotional journey of the train carrying the body of Robert F. Kennedy from New York to Washington, D.C., after his assassination in 1968. Fusco’s images beautifully and poignantly document the mourning and respect shown by people along the train route. The series is a moving portrayal of grief, unity, and the impact of a historical moment on the lives of ordinary individuals. The photographs are both artistically compelling and deeply human, making it a notable example of the potential for photo essays to convey complex emotions and historical narratives.

Photo Essay Examples and Ideas to Edit & Download

  • A Day in the Life Photo Essay
  • Behind the scenes Photo Essay
  • Event Photo Essay
  • Photo Essay on Meal
  • Photo Essay on Photo walking
  • Photo Essay on Protest
  • Photo Essay on Abandoned building
  • Education photo essay
  • Photo Essay on Events
  • Follow the change Photo Essay
  • Photo Essay on Personal experiences

Photo Essay Examples & Templates

1. narrative photo essay format example.

Narrative Photo Essay

nytimes.com

2. Student Photo Essay Example

Student Photo Example

3. Great Depression Essay Example

Great Depression Essay

thshistory.files.wordpress.com

4. Example of Photo Essay

Example of Photo Essay

weresearchit.co.uk

5. Photo Essay Examples About Nature

Photo Essay Examples About Nature

cge-media-library.s3.ca-central-1.amazonaws.com

6. Travel Photo Example

Travel Photo Example2

theguardian.com

7. Free Photo Essay Example

Free Photo Essay

vasantvalley.org

Most Interesting Photo Essays of 2019

Now that you are educated with the fundamentals of photo essays, why not lay eyes on some great photo essays for inspiration. To give you a glimpse of a few epitomes, we collected the best and fascinating photo essays for you. The handpicked samples are as follows:

8. Toys and Us

Toys and Us

journals.openedition.org

This photo essay presents its subject which is the latest genre of photography, toy photography. In this type of picture taking, the photographer aims to give life on the toys and treat them as his/her model. This photography follows the idea of a toy researcher, Katrina Heljakka, who states that also adults and not only children are interested in reimagining and preserving the characters of their toys with the means of roleplay and creating a story about these toys. This photo essay is based on the self-reflection of the author on a friend’s toys in their home environment.

9. The Faces of Nature Example

The Faces of Nature

godandnature.asa3.org

This photo essay and collection caters the creativity of the author’s mind in seeing the world. In her composition, she justified that there are millions of faces that are naturally made that some of us have not noticed. She also presented tons of photos showing different natural objects that form patterns of faces. Though it was not mentioned in the essay itself, the author has unconsciously showcased the psychological phenomenon, pareidolia. This is the tendency to translate an obscure stimulus that let the observer see faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or even hearing concealed messages in music.

10. The Country Doctor Example

The Country Doctor

us1.campaign-archive.com

This photo essay depicts the medical hardships in a small rural town in Colorado called Kremling. For 23 days, Smith shadowed Dr. Ernest Ceriani, witnessing the dramatic life of the small town and capturing the woeful crisis of the region. The picture in this photographic essay was photographed by Smith himself for Life magazine in 1948 but remained as fascinating as it was posted weeks ago.

11. New York City Coffeehouses

New York City Coffeehouses

lens.blogs.nytimes.com

Café Latte, cappuccino, espresso, or flat white—of course, you know these if you have visited a coffee shop at least once. However, the photographer of this photo essay took it to a whole new level of experience. Within two to three days of visiting various coffee places, Mr. Gavrysh stayed most of his day observing at the finest details such as the source of the coffee, the procedure of delivering them, and the process of roasting and grounding them. He also watched how did the baristas perfect the drinks and the reaction of the customers as they received their ordered coffee with delights in their faces. Gavrysh did not mean to compose a coffeehouse guide, but to make a composition that describes modern, local places where coffee is sipped and treated with respect.

12. Hungry Planet: What The World Eats

Hungry Planet What The World Eats

13. Photo Essay Example

Photo Essay Example

cah.utexas.edu

14. Photo Essay in PDF

Photo Essay in PDF

condor.depaul.edu

15. Sample Photo Essay Example

Sample Photo Essay

colorado.edu

16. Basic Photo Essay Example

Basic Photo Essay

adaptation-undp.org

17. Printable Photo Essay Example

Printable Photo Essay

One of the basic necessity of a person to live according to his/her will is food. In this photo essay, you will see how these necessities vary in several ways. In 2005, a pair of Peter Menzel and Faith D’ Aluisio released a book that showcased the meals of an average family in 24 countries. Ecuador, south-central Mali, China, Mexico, Kuwait, Norway, and Greenland are among the nations they visited.  This photo essay is written to raise awareness about the influence of environment and culture to the cost and calories of the foods laid on the various dining tables across the globe.

Photo essays are not just about photographic aesthetics but also the stories that authors built behind those pictures. In this collection of captivating photo essays, reflect on how to write your own. If you are allured and still can’t get enough, there’s no need for you to be frantic about. Besides, there are thousands of samples and templates on our website to browse. Visit us to check them all out.

What are good topics for a photo essay?

  • Urban Exploration: Document the unique architecture, street life, and cultural diversity of urban environments.
  • Environmental Conservation: Capture the beauty of natural landscapes or document environmental issues, showcasing the impact of climate change or conservation efforts.
  • Everyday Life in Your Community: Showcase the daily lives, traditions, and activities of people in your local community.
  • Family Traditions: Document the customs, rituals, and special moments within your own family or another family.
  • Youth Culture: Explore the lifestyle, challenges, and aspirations of young people in your community or around the world.
  • Behind-the-Scenes at an Event: Provide a backstage look at the preparation and execution of an event, such as a concert, festival, or sports competition.
  • A Day in the Life of a Profession: Follow a professional in their daily activities, offering insights into their work, challenges, and routines.
  • Social Issues: Address important social issues like homelessness, poverty, immigration, or healthcare, raising awareness through visual storytelling.
  • Cultural Celebrations: Document cultural festivals, ceremonies, or celebrations that showcase the diversity of traditions in your region or beyond.
  • Education Around the World: Explore the various facets of education globally, from classrooms to the challenges students face in different cultures.
  • Workplace Dynamics: Capture the atmosphere, interactions, and diversity within different workplaces or industries.
  • Street Art and Graffiti: Document the vibrant and dynamic world of street art, capturing the expressions of local artists.
  • Animal Rescues or Shelters: Focus on the efforts of organizations or individuals dedicated to rescuing and caring for animals.
  • Migration Stories: Explore the experiences and challenges of individuals or communities affected by migration.
  • Global Food Culture: Document the diversity of food cultures, from local markets to family meals, showcasing the role of food in different societies.

How to Write a Photo Essay

First of all, you would need to find a topic that you are interested in. With this, you can conduct thorough research on the topic that goes beyond what is common. This would mean that it would be necessary to look for facts that not a lot of people know about. Not only will this make your essay interesting, but this may also help you capture the necessary elements for your images.

Remember, the ability to manipulate the emotions of your audience will allow you to build a strong connection with them. Knowing this, you need to plan out your shots. With the different emotions and concepts in mind, your images should tell a story along with the essay outline .

1. Choose Your Topic

  • Select a compelling subject that interests you and can be explored visually.
  • Consider the story or message you want to convey. It should be something that can be expressed through images.

2. Plan Your Essay

  • Outline your narrative. Decide if your photo essay will tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end, or if it will explore a theme or concept.
  • Research your subject if necessary, especially if you’re covering a complex or unfamiliar topic.

3. Capture Your Images

  • Take a variety of photos. Include wide shots to establish the setting, close-ups to show details, and medium shots to focus on subjects.
  • Consider different angles and perspectives to add depth and interest to your essay.
  • Shoot more than you need. Having a large selection of images to choose from will make the editing process easier.

4. Select Your Images

  • Choose photos that best tell your story or convey your theme.
  • Look for images that evoke emotion or provoke thought.
  • Ensure there’s a mix of compositions to keep the viewer engaged.
  • Sequence your images in a way that makes narrative or thematic sense.
  • Consider the flow and how each image transitions to the next.
  • Use juxtaposition to highlight contrasts or similarities.

6. Add Captions or Text (Optional)

  • Write captions to provide context or additional information about each photo. Keep them brief and impactful.
  • Consider including an introduction or conclusion to frame your essay. This can be helpful in setting the stage or offering a final reflection.

7. Edit and Refine

  • Review the sequence of your photos. Make sure they flow smoothly and clearly convey your intended story or theme.
  • Adjust the layout as needed, ensuring that the visual arrangement is aesthetically pleasing and supports the narrative.

8. Share Your Essay

  • Choose the right platform for your photo essay, whether it’s a blog, online publication, exhibition, or print.
  • Consider your audience and tailor the presentation of your essay to suit their preferences and expectations.

Types of Photo Essay

Photo essays are a compelling medium to tell a story, convey emotions, or present a perspective through a series of photographs. Understanding the different types of photo essays can help photographers and storytellers choose the best approach for their project. Here are the main types of photo essays:

1. Narrative Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To tell a story or narrate an event in a chronological sequence.
  • Characteristics: Follows a clear storyline with a beginning, middle, and end. It often includes characters, a setting, and a plot.
  • Examples: A day in the life of a firefighter, the process of crafting traditional pottery.

2. Thematic Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To explore a specific theme, concept, or issue without being bound to a chronological sequence.
  • Characteristics: Centers around a unified theme, with each photo contributing to the overall concept.
  • Examples: The impact of urbanization on the environment, the beauty of natural landscapes.

3. Conceptual Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To convey an idea or evoke a series of emotions through abstract or metaphorical images.
  • Characteristics: Focuses on delivering a conceptual message or emotional response, often using symbolism.
  • Examples: Loneliness in the digital age, the concept of freedom.

4. Expository or Informative Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To inform or educate the viewer about a subject with a neutral viewpoint.
  • Characteristics: Presents factual information on a topic, often accompanied by captions or brief texts to provide context.
  • Examples: The process of coffee production, a day at an animal rescue center.

5. Persuasive Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To convince the viewer of a particular viewpoint or to highlight social issues.
  • Characteristics: Designed to persuade or elicit action, these essays may focus on social, environmental, or political issues.
  • Examples: The effects of plastic pollution, the importance of historical preservation.

6. Personal Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To express the photographer’s personal experiences, emotions, or journeys.
  • Characteristics: Highly subjective and personal, often reflecting the photographer’s intimate feelings or experiences.
  • Examples: A personal journey through grief, documenting one’s own home during quarantine.

7. Environmental Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To showcase landscapes, wildlife, and environmental issues.
  • Characteristics: Focuses on the natural world or environmental challenges, aiming to raise awareness or appreciation.
  • Examples: The melting ice caps, wildlife in urban settings.

8. Travel Photo Essays

  • Purpose: To explore and present the culture, landscapes, people, and experiences of different places.
  • Characteristics: Captures the essence of a location, showcasing its uniqueness and the experiences of traveling.
  • Examples: A road trip across the American Southwest, the vibrant streets of a bustling city.

How do you start a picture essay?

1. choose a compelling theme or topic:.

Select a theme or topic that resonates with you and has visual storytelling potential. It could be a personal project, an exploration of a social issue, or a visual journey through a specific place or event.

2. Research and Conceptualize:

Conduct research on your chosen theme to understand its nuances, context, and potential visual elements. Develop a conceptual framework for your photo essay, outlining the key aspects you want to capture.

3. Define Your Storytelling Approach:

Determine how you want to convey your narrative. Consider whether your photo essay will follow a chronological sequence, a thematic structure, or a more abstract and conceptual approach.

4. Create a Shot List:

Develop a list of specific shots you want to include in your essay. This can help guide your photography and ensure you capture a diverse range of images that contribute to your overall narrative.

5. Plan the Introduction:

Think about how you want to introduce your photo essay. The first image or series of images should grab the viewer’s attention and set the tone for the narrative.

6. Consider the Flow:

Plan the flow of your photo essay, ensuring a logical progression of images that tells a cohesive and engaging story. Consider the emotional impact and visual variety as you sequence your photographs.

7. Shoot with Purpose:

Start capturing images with your conceptual framework in mind. Focus on images that align with your theme and contribute to the overall narrative. Look for moments that convey emotion, tell a story, or reveal aspects of your chosen subject.

8. Experiment with Perspectives and Techniques:

Explore different perspectives, compositions, and photographic techniques to add visual interest and depth to your essay. Consider using a variety of shots, including wide-angle, close-ups, and detail shots.

9. Write Descriptive Captions:

As you capture images, think about the accompanying captions. Captions should provide context, additional information, or insights that enhance the viewer’s understanding of each photograph.

What are the key elements of a photo essay?

1. Theme or Topic:

Clearly defined subject matter or theme that unifies the photographs and tells a cohesive story.

2. Narrative Structure:

An intentional narrative structure that guides the viewer through the photo essay, whether chronological, thematic, or conceptual.

3. Introduction:

A strong introduction that captures the viewer’s attention and sets the tone for the photo essay.

4. Captivating Images:

A series of high-quality and visually compelling images that effectively convey the chosen theme or story.

5. Variety of Shots:

A variety of shots, including wide-angle, close-ups, detail shots, and different perspectives, to add visual interest and depth.

6. Sequencing:

Careful sequencing of images to create a logical flow and emotional impact, guiding the viewer through the narrative.

7. Captions and Text:

Thoughtful captions or accompanying text that provide context, additional information, or insights, enhancing the viewer’s understanding.

8. Conclusion:

A concluding section that brings the photo essay to a satisfying close, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

Purpose of a Photo Essay

With good writing skills , a person is able to tell a story through words. However, adding images for your essay will give it the dramatic effect it needs. The photographs and the text work hand in hand to create something compelling enough to attract an audience.

This connection goes beyond something visual, as photo essays are also able to connect with an audience emotionally. This is to create an essay that is effective enough to relay a given message.

5 Tips for Creating a Photo Essay

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find the right angle and be dramatic with your description, just be creative.
  • Pay attention to detail. Chances are, your audience will notice every single detail of your photograph.
  • Shoot everything. Behind a single beautiful photo is a hundred more shots.
  • Don’t think twice about editing. Editing is where the magic happens. It has the ability to add more drama to your images.
  • Have fun. Don’t stress yourself out too much but instead, grow from your experience.

What is a photo essay for school?

A school photo essay is a visual storytelling project for educational purposes, typically assigned to students. It involves creating a narrative using a series of carefully curated photographs on a chosen theme.

How many pictures should be in a photo essay?

The number of pictures in a photo essay varies based on the chosen theme and narrative structure. It can range from a few impactful images to a more extensive series, typically around 10-20 photographs.

Is a photo essay a story?

Yes, a photo essay is a visual storytelling form. It uses a series of carefully curated photographs to convey a narrative, evoke emotions, or communicate a specific message or theme.

What makes a photo essay unforgettable?

An unforgettable photo essay is characterized by a powerful theme, emotionally resonant images, a well-crafted narrative structure, attention to detail, and a connection that leaves a lasting impact on viewers.

Photo Essay Generator

Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Create a Photo Essay on the theme of urban exploration.

Discuss the story of a local community event through a Photo Essay.

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  • 33 Writing Photo Essays

Writing Photo Essays

Start-Up Activity

Share appropriate magazines that include photos and text, such as National Geographic or Life . Have students page through the magazines, looking for photos that draw their attention. Ask what they like about the photos. Ask what they can learn from the photos. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine the magazine with no photos, just words.

Lead a discussion about the power of pictures. Help students understand that when they connect words and photos, they can reach their audience in all new ways.

Think About It

“We try to grab pieces of our lives as they speed past us. Photographs freeze those pieces and help us remember how we were.”

—Gene McSweeney

State Standards Covered in This Chapter

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.A
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.B
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.4
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.5
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.7
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.C
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.D
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.E
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.2.F
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.6

LAFS Covered in This Chapter

Lafs.6.ri.1.1, lafs.6.ri.1.2, lafs.6.ri.1.3, lafs.6.ri.3.7, lafs.6.w.1.2, lafs.6.w.2.4, lafs.6.w.2.5, lafs.6.w.3.7, lafs.6.w.2.6, teks covered in this chapter, 110.22.b.5.f, 110.22.b.8.d, 110.22.b.8.d.i, 110.22.b.6.d, 110.22.b.8.d.iii, 110.22.b.8.f, 110.22.b.10, 110.22.b.11.b, 110.22.b.10.a, 110.22.b.10.b.i, 110.22.b.10.b.ii, 110.22.b.10.b, 110.22.b.10.c, 110.22.b.10.d, 110.22.b.12, 110.22.b.10.e, page 171 from write on track, sample photo essay.

Have volunteers read each paragraph of the sample photo essay. When a photo accompanies a paragraph, stop to discuss the photo. "How does the photo make the ideas clearer?" "What is the photo doing that the text can't do?" Point out to students that each photo must be carefully chosen and positioned, just as the words are carefully chosen and positioned.

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Page 172 from Write on Track

Ask for a student volunteer to read the paragraph in the middle of the photo essay.

Then ask for other volunteers to describe "what the photo shows you." Help students understand that they can learn a great deal from a photo.

Page 173 from Write on Track

Have a volunteer read the paragraph. Then lead a discussion about what they see. Ask students what the photos are doing that words alone can't do.

Then have a volunteer read the last part of the essay.

Page 174 from Write on Track

Writing a photo essay.

Have your students list interesting people they know who have jobs or hobbies that other students would like to find out about. Students then should pick a topic.

Lead students through the next two sets of tips, having them research their topics and collect photos. If they know the person, they may want to interview him or her and take pictures. If they don't know the person, they may need to do research in books and online.

At the bottom of the page, remind students that the photos they include shouldn't just be "for show." They should communicate ideas that words can't express.

Page 175 from Write on Track

Writing, revising, and editing.

After students have gathered information and images for their photo essays, lead them through "Writing a Draft." Then give them time to put their first drafts together.

When the time comes to revise, have students use the questions under "Revising" to improve their work. Also, have peer readers use these questions to suggest improvements.

After revising, have students check for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation errors.

  • 01 Understanding Writing
  • 02 One Writer's Process
  • 03 Qualities of Writing
  • 04 Selecting a Topic
  • 05 Collecting Details
  • 06 Writing a First Draft
  • 07 Revising and Editing
  • 08 Publishing Your Writing
  • 09 Writing Basic Sentences
  • 10 Combining Sentences
  • 11 Writing Paragraphs
  • 12 Understanding Text Structures
  • 13 Writing in Journals and Logs
  • 14 Writing Lists
  • 15 Making Albums
  • 16 Writing Notes and Emails
  • 17 Writing Friendly Letters
  • 18 Writing Personal Narratives
  • 19 Writing Family Stories
  • 20 Writing Realistic Stories
  • 21 Writing Time-Travel Fantasies
  • 22 Writing Tall Tales
  • 23 Writing Alphabet Books
  • 24 How-To Writing
  • 25 Writing Information Essays
  • 26 Writing Newspaper Stories
  • 27 Writing Persuasive Essays
  • 28 Writing Opinion Letters
  • 29 Writing Book Reviews
  • 30 Making Bookmarks
  • 31 Writing Classroom Reports
  • 32 Writing Summaries
  • 34 Writing Free-Verse Poetry
  • 35 Traditional and Playful Poetry
  • 36 Writing Plays
  • 37 Using the Library
  • 38 Using Technology
  • 39 Reading to Understand Fiction
  • 40 Reading to Understand Nonfiction
  • 41 Reading Graphics
  • 42 Reading New Words
  • 43 Building Vocabulary Skills
  • 44 Using Prefixes, Suffixes, Roots
  • 45 Becoming a Better Speller
  • 46 Learning to View
  • 47 Giving Speeches
  • 48 Performing Poems
  • 49 Telling Stories
  • 50 Learning to Interview
  • 51 Listening to Learn
  • 52 Using Graphic Organizers
  • 53 Thinking Clearly
  • 54 Thinking Creatively
  • 55 Completing Assignments
  • 56 Working in Groups
  • 57 Taking Tests
  • 58 Proofreader's Guide
  • 59 Student Almanac
  • June 12, 2023
  • Collections

From the Collection: The Women of Photo-Lettering

Guest researcher anne galperin reveals unsung contributions to a major sourcebook of mid-twentieth-century type design..

photo essay lettering

Part 1: Ten of 252

photo essay lettering

Sometime in the 1990s, my father-in-law Bill Hermes—who’d retired from his career as an art director—gifted me neatly organized boxes of his professional books, tools, and supplies. In this thrilling collection of stuff, which spanned decades, was the 1971 edition of Photo-Lettering’s One Line Manual of Styles .

This aptly named book is a mind-boggling, 470-page compendium featuring 6,500 eclectic examples of display typefaces from the most prolific supplier of phototypesetting. I browsed it often over the years, but, one day in the summer of 2018, something in the volume made me stop short.

In the sea of 252 names—including titans of modern graphic design such as Joseph Albers, Milton Glaser, and Bradbury Thompson—I counted 10 women. At that moment I decided to try and find them.

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Online searching quickly revealed the strong possibility that several had died before my spontaneous search had begun. I was able to find contact information for two women, so I wrote to them with an invitation to talk. Betti Haft called me back. 

I didn’t realize I was about to encounter something akin to what Aurora Levins Morales, in her essay “The Historian as Curandera,” (in Aurora Levins Morales’s, Medicine Stories: Essays for Radicals , Duke University Press, 2019) describes as curative or “medicinal” history: 

Tell what is untold or undertold Center the woman/en in the narrative Situate individuals within their social contexts Restore social context to individuals singled out as the actors of history

But Haft knew this intuitively. Over the next three years we enjoyed several phone conversations and met twice in person. (Haft’s story, as she related it to me, is included in Briar Levit’s Baseline Shift: Untold Stories of Women in Graphic Design History , a collection of engaging correctives to conventional histories of graphic design.) Her perspective on history—her own and writ large—was clear from the first time we spoke. She very pleasantly, but pointedly, did not begin by answering my questions about how her typefaces came to be in the Photo-Lettering catalog. Instead, in lively conversations, she connected who she was, and where she came from, to what she did. She positioned herself within the ever-changing world around her. She described how she made her decisions based on circumstance. She acknowledged the role of serendipity in her life and career. Hers was a holistic story, not a “great (wo)man narrative.” I wouldn’t have known any of this had she been content for me to simply describe her work and write about when and how it was commissioned. 

Betti Haft died in August 2021. She was the only woman of the 10 I was able to speak with. Claudette Caccuciolo, to whom I wrote twice without knowing if I’d contacted the right person, may have died in February 2023. She may also have been married to Frank Caccuciolo, a Photo-Lettering employee from 1966 to 1978. I had no contact with the other women. But one way into this piece about Daisy Alcock, Deborah Ann Bristow, Claudette Cacucciolo, Marie Frederick, Betti Haft, Hedda S. Johnson, Connie Rechel, Shirley Smith, Jeanyee Wong, and Margaret Yakovenko is to begin with a brief recapitulation of Photo-Lettering’s genesis. 

Part 2: Photo-Lettering, Inc.

The Photo-Lettering Inc. (PLINC) origin story as retold here comes mostly from founder Edward Rondthaler’s book Life with Letters … as They Turned Photogenic . Online research into its corporate founding indicates that Photo-Lettering’s first roots were put down in the 1928 incorporation of the Electrographic Corporation and the Typographic Service Company as its subsidiary.

photo essay lettering

That year, Edward Rondthaler was a 24-year-old newly minted Chapel Hill graduate with a passion for typography and printing—at the age of five he received his first small printing press as a Christmas gift. As a college senior majoring in Psychology, he’d undertaken research to determine the readability of different typefaces, which helped him secure a job setting type and designing advertisements at the Montague Lee Company in Midtown Manhattan, NY. You could say that Rondthaler had ink in his blood; his father had also been a hobbyist printer as a kid, a not uncommon pastime in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Since the 1890s, a consuming preoccupation to many in the printing trades was finding a way to photographically set type. The bar was high, and the high level of precision required to produce a successful outcome was technologically elusive. Rondthaler became obsessed with the potential for phototypesetting. 

For most of its history, this is how phototypesetting worked: thin glass negative plates with letterforms on them were moved into position as letters were selected one by one by the typesetter. Above the plate a bright beam of light shone through a small opening at the isolated letter. Using a movable lens and shutter, the letter’s image was fixed on photosensitive paper or film. This being a photographic process, each letter’s size, width, and orientation could be precisely manipulated (if everything functions correctly). 

photo essay lettering

Toward the end of 1933, Rondthaler was hired in a design position at Rutherford Machinery Company. He and Harold Horman, another young designer, got to work refining an early prototype of a phototypesetting machine.

By 1936 only a dozen machines, along with sets of type and operator training, had been sold to printing concerns, and Rondthaler and Horman realized that rather than hawking printing machines they’d be better off opening a phototypesetting business. Rondthaler called his friend Amos Bethke who worked at Typographic Service Inc. to arrange a demonstration of their machine to Bethke’s boss. This resulted in the machine and Rondthaler and Horman—its expert operators—finding a new home aptly launched as Photo-Lettering, Inc, at Electrographic, in 1936. 

PLINC was housed at 216 East 45th Street, within what was then New York City’s typesetting district. The new company grew steadily, commissioning type designs, redrawing pre-phototype faces, and setting headlines and advertising. According to Rondthaler, PLINC ultimately supplied thousands of type designs to a global market. Photocomposition and manipulation were accomplished using successive generations of their proprietary phototypesetting process and equipment, engagingly represented in promotional material, much of which was designed by Ed Benguiat. In the early days, folks who set the type were known as “programmers.”

New designs were showcased in a regular catalog series, followed by books of type collections. The first edition of the PLINC catalog, released in 1946, featured 979 designs. My 1971 edition, a compilation of PLINC’s Alphabet Thesaurus 1 , 2 , and 3 , includes some 6,500 styles of type. The One Line Manual visually encapsulates and unites in photo-lettering an accumulated history of mostly Western typographic forms. Works of the 10 women letterers themselves represent several historical styles, ranging from calligraphic and chiseled letterforms through those that emerged in response to printing innovations in letterpress and lithography, as well as others designed specifically for and during the phototype era. PLINC added many more styles in the 15–20 years of activity that followed.

Some styles of type included in the One Line Manual ( Ruffa Computer Gothic , for example) anticipate the visual language of mid-1980s pixel fonts whose forms emerged both from screen rendering and dot matrix printing technology. But visually referencing the emergent is not the same as having the resources to make technological leaps. Lacking funds to retool from photo to digital typesetting, PLINC—which Steve Heller characterized as “the essential link between hot-metal and digital typesetting”—went out of business in 1997. In 2003, House Industries announced their purchase of PLINC’s physical inventory and assets. 

Part 3: The Typefaces

Getting the word out about its type was an early challenge for PLINC. As the number of distinctive designs proliferated, cataloging them for easy reference was another. Rondthaler began by organizing type from simple to complex. Realizing this was subjective, he added an alphabet index of typeface names. But recognizing that folks who use type are likely to remember styles by how they looked, in 1955 Rondthaler layered on a visual index.

photo essay lettering

A further innovation was the One Line Manual , which displays just enough of a design to convey its distinctive features. The front matter’s bright green and black visual index included a thumb-indexed section indicator. 

Within the manual, styles are divided into three categories: [1] Written (Brush-lettered, Scripts, Calligraphic), [2] Standard (“Popular” Serif and Sans Serif) and [3] “Speciality” designs. Designs in each category are organized by their visual index classification and introduced by witty and highly expressive interjections.

As you’ll see below, subcategory expository notes are delightfully varied in tone: some are descriptive, while others persuade through shameless adspeak, reflect on history, or indulge in alliteration. An alphabetical index of type designs concludes the manual.

Despite gender-based assumptions one might have about “feminine” aesthetics, the work of the 10 women letterers is a representative microcosm of PLINC’s catalog. Rechel, Alcock, Wong, and Smith are featured in “Written” styles; Caccuciolo, Johnson, and Haft in “Standard” styles, and Johnson, Frederick, and Yakovenko in “Speciality” designs.

Written Styles: Connie Rechel, Daisy Alcock, Jeanyee Wong and Shirley Smith

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Rechel Sprite , a pen script, exemplifies “Studied Casual Vertical Scripts with High-Key Styling.”  I’d enjoy seeing someone use it and celebrate its verve.

photo essay lettering

Daisy Alcock’s Alcock Light Italic , a chisel-pen calligraphic, is included in “Arrighi and Chancery Broad Pen Techniques.” Rondthaler first saw Alcock’s impressive lettering work in a 1953 tribute to the Battle of Britain during a visit to the Westminster Abbey Chapel. “I had never seen such magnificent calligraphy.” Sometime after meeting Rondthaler for tea, Alcock sent PLINC two complete alphabets of two styles used in the Battle of Britain book. Alcock’s typefaces were some of the first additions to the PLINC catalog designed by a woman, advertised as early as 1954. 

photo essay lettering

Alcock Versal , another calligraphic design, along with Shirley Smith’s  Smith Gothica , were categorized under “Calligraphics with Strong Typographic Influences.” Smith’s humanist sans serif letters are sturdy, but their angled stroke ends, slight variations in stroke weight, and the way in which they tilt slightly, results in a conversational and accessible effect. Gothic was advertised in 1957.

Alcock herself is the entire subject of the note introducing the Broad Pen Calligraphic Styles section in which Alcock Inline and Alcock Roman appear: “Broad Pen Calligraphic Styles, including the work of Daisy Alcock, protégé of the celebrated British calligrapher Edward Johnson. Miss Alcock’s designs follow the styles she used in the memorial book to airmen killed in the Battle of Britain, on permanent display in Westminster Abbey.”

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Referencing Wong Genie —and one wonders who named it—Jeanyee Wong is also directly cited in the category note (although her name is misspelled): “Calligraphics with a Slight Typographic Influence—Most of these styles are the work of contemporary designers well-known in the art world, including Herman Zapf, Ismar David, Jaynee Wong, and Oscar Ogg.” 

photo essay lettering

Jeanyee Wong is the first woman (along with several men) mentioned by Rondthaler’s Life with Letters in the context of the late-1940s “brilliant renaissance” in calligraphy.

Standard Styles: Claudette Caccuciolo, Hedda Johnson, Betti Haft 

photo essay lettering

Claudette Caccuciolo’s Cubiform is designated as an example of “Square Gothics: Normal Width.” (The note for this group of designs takes pains to point out that although their proportions were frankly rectangular, PLINC retained the “square” designation in this category because of the terminology’s wide use.) Cubiform is hands-down my favorite, because its geometry is so uncompromising and tense. 

photo essay lettering

Betti Haft’s Haft Grotesque Narrow is categorized under “Thick & Thin Sanserifs: Medium Contrast: Triple, Extra Condensed, and Condensed,” their shapes described as "obround, square and oval shapes with many stylized versions.” Here’s how Rondthaler describes “obround,” a little-used term taken from geometry: “two half circles connected to two straights, just like a racetrack.” I love its tight curves and how the crossbar on the lowercase t and f stop short when they hit the letters’ stems.

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This group of designs defies easy categorization, as is made clear by the encyclopedic section note under which Johnson Hedda falls: “Pictorial Letter Forms including Trees, Lumber, Holly, Bricks, Stone, Glass Mosaic, Plastic, Snow, Fire, Newspapers, TV, Mechanics, Tinker Toy (sic), Stamps, Rope, Speed, Crunch, Frenzy, Music, Bewitched, Frankensteins, Bones, Samplers, Ribbons, Fabrics, Nervous, Paint Brush.”

photo essay lettering

Marie Frederick’s Frederick Applepie appears under “Pop at its Best—Vigorous, contemporary interpretations of the Twenties and Thirties by designers fully attuned to the syncopated period...” The shaded version is sort of like Morris Fuller Benton’s Broadway on LSD.

photo essay lettering

Margaret Yakovenko’s Yakovenko Picnic follows the marvelously improvisational note: “Mad, Mad, Mad at the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, the flagrant knave coaxes jumpy zebu to chew quid, and the exquisite farm wench gives body jolt to prize stinker. They’re all turned-on animated alphabets ready to meet your requirements—just name it.”

photo essay lettering

Deborah Ann Bristow is mentioned in the front matter list, but doesn’t appear to have work in the One Line . You can find her Bristow Stratford among the “Century” styles in PLINC’s Alphabet Thesaurus, Vol. 2 (1965).

Part 4: The Women

Of the 10 women listed in the One Line Manual , Daisy Alcorn, Jeanyee Wong, and Shirley Smith are best-known. Alcorn’s and Wong’s professional lives life and works are well documented. For others the record is more limited or frankly elusive.

Hedda Johnson

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(dates unknown) Within the New York City art and design world, German-born Hedda Johnson (née Scharke) was known primarily as an illustrator. She is mentioned as an associate of the legendary Push Pin studio in the catalog for Poster House’s Push Pin Legacy exhibition (NYC, 9/2/2020–2/2/2021). 

Johnson also appears in a few issues of U&lc , a tabloid-format magazine that was published quarterly on newsprint from 1977 to 1999 by the International Typeface Corporation (ITC). In 1969, Edward Rondthaler joined Aaron Burns and Herb Lubalin to found ITC, which in many ways was a successor to Photo-Lettering in terms of the size of its typeface library and number of designers represented. Largely designed and written by Lubalin until his death in 1981, U&lc was a lively showcase of ITC typefaces in use, along with articles and advertisements of interest to art directors, designers, typographers, and illustrators.

Johnson appears to have hosted a session of  XPO1, The First Communications Exposition (1974), an event inaugurated by Lubalin, who at the time was also the president of the Art Directors Club. (See U&lc , vol. 1, no. 3, 1974). In the same issue of U&lc , Lubalin jokes about awarding Johnson two of his 3D designs, one of which was an isometric rendering of an “H”–for “Hedda.”

In a feature promoting “talented women in communications” Lubalin (presumably) writes: “To say Hedda Johnson is an illustrator is, perhaps, doing her an injustice. She is an artist with a vital personality. She is continuously searching for a more self-satisfying realization of her work in spite of the fact that her work is extremely satisfying to the people who buy it.” He goes on, somewhat jibing:  “A good friend was once heard to say, ‘I think Hedda knows where she wants to go, but doesn't sit still long enough to get there!’” (See U&lc , vol. 2, no. 1, 1975).

Margaret Yakovenko

(dates unknown) Yakovenko’s creative output appears to have been quite diverse. She is cited in various late 1950s art director’s buyers guides as a package designer and an illustrator of both decorative and humorous works. Given Picnic ’s styling the latter makes sense. The New York Times ran a small article in December 1961 (really more of an advertisement) promoting Yakovenko and colleague Tina Grant’s business of custom designed Christmas package-wrapping, directing interested parties to their agent, Jim York, at a New York City phone number.

Shirley Smith

(dates unknown) Though a “Shirley Smith” is the credited designer/calligrapher of book jackets including To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee, published by J.B. Lippincott, 1960) and  The Road From the Monument  (Storm Jameson, published by Harper, 1962) several researchers have noted with regret that the record seems to begin and end there. It’s unclear if the designer of PLINC’s Gothica is the same Shirley Smith.

Daisy Alcock

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(1901–1996) Likely to be the most senior member of the group, Alcock was born in Wednesfield, Staffordshire, in the West Midlands. A student at the Wolverhampton Municipal School of Art and Crafts, Alcock displayed notable skills in painting and developed what would be her lifelong passion for calligraphy. Attending the Royal College of Art during the 1920s, she studied with the renowned calligrapher Edward Johnston. Alcock earned teaching credentials and became a “nationally registered designer,” which may indicate that some of her works were recorded in the Design Registry, part of the British Board of Trade. 

After graduation Alcock established a studio in Kensington and taught at the Hammersmith School of Building & Arts and Crafts. She took on bookbinding, illumination, and lettering. Many of Alcock’s calligraphy commissions came from high-profile clients including the British government and the Crown, and several pieces of her work are historic and national treasures. Alcock’s most famous work is the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour, in which she illuminated the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrew—not just British, but British colonial, Canadian, New Zealanders, Poles, Australians, Czech, S. African, Belgian, American—who perished during the Battle of Britain. Here’s how Rondthaler describes his encounter with the work in 1953: 

I had never seen more magnificent calligraphy. Never. The custodian was kind enough to unlock the case and lift the glass. I turned to the colophon and there in a small neat legend was the name of the calligrapher: Daisy Alcock. In the telephone book I found a Daisy Alcock and soon we were invited to her flat on Kensington High for tea. Here was a delightful lady, a protege of Edward Johnson, surrounded by stunning examples of her calligraphic art … Back in New York six months later a large package arrived from London … Miss Alcock had sent to Photo-Lettering complete alphabets of the two calligraphic styles used in the Westminster Abbey book!

Jeanyee Wong

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(1920–2017) Born in San Francisco to immigrants from China, Wong was a highly regarded calligrapher and illustrator. According to the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), Wong’s output included more than 2,000 book dust jackets and the content of more than forty illustrated books. 

Her family moved from San Francisco to join extended family in the Bronx, NY, where Wong attended a vocational high school. Higher education didn’t seem to be an option until a friend suggested Cooper Union, which was tuition-free at the time if one passed the admission exam, which Wong did. At Cooper Union, Wong’s mentors—and eventual colleagues—included George Salter , a German émigré and a renowned calligrapher and book designer. Wong credits Salter with launching book jacket design as a distinctive professional practice. Another influential teacher at Cooper was woodcut artist and illustrator Fritz Kreidel, with whom Wong interned in 1940 immediately following her graduation. At age 20 she began designing books on her own. Her first commission was the Modern Illustrated Library’s Wisdom of Confucius by Lin Yutang. 

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Wong’s reputation was established early, and as she described it: “I kept getting jobs, I kept getting money.” For the duration of her career, she worked from home, lettering and illustrating. The majority of her work was in book jacket design. As she described her internal process: “I always considered the text and the feeling in my choice of letterforms.” And referring to her skill, Wong said: “I have a steady hand.” She wasn’t bragging. As related on the MOCA site : “Wong built up letters with drafting tools or shaped them free-hand so accurately that experienced editors couldn’t tell the difference between her scripts and typographic alphabets.” Wong’s commissions for commercial lettering and logos included clients as diverse as BBDO (then an advertising company, now a global advertising network), Hermés (calligraphy for their flowered opera scarves ), and the New York Times . Her output also included drawings, illustrations, including scientific illustrations, maps, and some 30 books for children, including two lettered for Maurice Sendak. “Whatever they needed I would just do,” she said. As a dedicated reader of Seventeen magazine back in the 1970s, I was delighted to learn all these years later that Wong hand-lettered the magazine’s original—still enduring—logotype for its inaugural September 1944 issue.

All images in this gallery are hi-fi captures from Letterform Archive’s collection unless otherwise noted. Click an image to enter fullscreen view, then click or pinch to enlarge.

Jeanyee Wong, jacket design, ca. 19XX.

Having perused Wong’s work on Alex Jay’s tribute site , every one of her lettering examples appears utterly distinctive to me. Stroke length, serif styles, letterform width, angle of counters all seem unique. The number of nuanced variations, each creating a different read, mood, and tone speaks to her exceptional mastery of visual language in relation to text content. I was not able to find anything about the circumstances of Genie’s commission but it’s clear from his descriptive notes that Rondthaler held Wong’s work in the highest regard. 

photo essay lettering

(1933–2021) Despite an early-career stint designing in the studio of noted German émigré Will Burtin, Betti Haft’s name is not well known. Haft’s early years were spent at her maternal grandmother’s home in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. In 1941 her family moved to New York City.  Haft studied art on a vocational track in high school and then earned a scholarship to The Workshop School of Advertising Art, where she studied with Paul Standard and prepared for a career in commercial art. As Haft worked as a designer, she continued her education at night, enrolling in Cooper Union’s certificate program. 

From 1955 to 1958 Haft was a staff member at Will Burtin Incorporated. It was there that Haft Grotesque had its hand-drawn origins in a poster she designed for a United States Information Agency (USIA) project. In the early 1960s, wanting to complete the typeface, Haft approached Aaron Burns, her friend from the Burtin days, who’d become director of design and type at the Composing Room. Burns put her in touch with PLINC. Haft’s early design passed vetting and the typeface was commissioned. She completed the midweight Haft Grotesque 7 during the same week she delivered her first child. PLINC then commissioned two additional weights, which took Haft several months to complete. Embedded in her design is a critique of  how typography and calligraphy were taught. In her words “calligraphy was [considered] a separate thing. I wanted to bring the two together ... [and] did a grotesque that was based on calligraphic thicks and thins.” 

photo essay lettering

During Haft’s career she combined freelance work with in-house design positions at organizations including the Architect’s Collective, the Museum of Natural History, and a decades-long senior design position at the College of Staten Island. 

Alcock, Haft, and Wong: Shared Roots

Alcock’s, Wong’s, and Haft’s biographies point to common educational and professional experiences. All three women appear to have attended vocational (studio/workshop-based) school, secondary school, or college programs. All three women actively practiced calligraphy, though Wong’s and Haft’s work included other methods of lettering. In my interviews with Haft she described drawing her letterforms, while in a Grolier Club presentation , Wong mentioned rendering letterforms using both pen (for English) and brush (for Chinese). 

Both Wong and Haft studied at Cooper Union, and both were mentored by European-born designers who, along with their own talents and skills, helped launch their careers. Alcock’s path in the United Kingdom, under Edward Johnson’s tutelage, was comparable. All three womens’ mentors were largely, though not exclusively, born outside the US. 

In interviews, both Haft and Wong expressed gratitude for their educational experiences and opportunities. Both women were inadvertent beneficiaries of World War II. During the War the American job market was—of necessity—more permeable to women, and numerous European-trained designers fled to the US and became seminal influences on American design education and practice. Haft described the atmosphere in Burtin’s studio as being more egalitarian than the American-run studios in which she’d directly experienced an embedded, toxic sexism.

In terms of how their letterforms were produced and reproduced, Alcock’s calligraphic works were mostly of unique, singular artifacts. Wong’s designs were originally rendered by hand and generally mechanically reproduced in multiple. Haft used diverse forms of typographic composition: she hand-drew headlines for many of her projects, used her typeface in commissioned work, and relied on letterpress, metal type, and phototype for running text. Most of her works were mechanically reproduced in multiple. 

Alcock, Wong, and Haft worked full-time, combining design with teaching. Alcock was self-employed and seems to have been single. Wong, too, was self-employed, and was married. Haft was married with two children, and worked both as a freelancer and in-house, and in her later career was the in-house designer at the College of Staten Island, New York. All three womens’ careers in the cultural, publishing, and educational sectors were long and productive. 

In the five years since I first wrote to Betti Haft and Claudette Caccuciolo, the women who designed lettering for PLINC have become quite real to me. Even though it’s impossible for us to know all the details of their lives, it’s clear that in their own ways each of these women produced work that is part of our cherished, shared typographic and design history. Let’s celebrate them.

Anne Galperin directs the Graphic Design program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, and teaches courses in design research, theory and criticism, and history. Her freelance practice includes book design and writing. 

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Joe Biden may be in jeopardy of not making it onto Ohio's ballot in November

photo essay lettering

The Ohio Secretary of State is warning that President Joe Biden won't make it on the general election ballot in Ohio unless a state law is changed or the Democratic National Convention meets earlier.

The Secretary of State's office sent a letter April 5 to Ohio Democratic Party Chairwoman Liz Walters that alerted her to the issue.

The Democratic National Convention meets August 19 to nominate its candidate for president but Ohio law sets a deadline of August 7 to certify presidential candidates for the November ballot.

The convention could meet earlier, which is unlikely given the planning and logistics. Or the Ohio General Assembly could pass legislation by May 9 that grants a waiver, according to the letter to Walters.

"Please contact me as soon as possible with any information that can assure this office of timely compliance with Ohio law," wrote Paul Disantis, chief legal counsel for the Ohio Secretary of State.

Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare where they stand on key issues in our Voter Guide

A spokesman for Walters said "We're looking into it."

In 2020, both major parties scheduled their conventions for after Ohio's deadline, which requires the nominee names 90 days before the election. Knowing this glitch was in the offing, state lawmakers in 2019 added a one-time change, shortening it 60 days before the election.

Laura Bischoff is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

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American Jews, Liberalism and Zionism

More from our inbox:, m.i.t. and the gaza war, a pig provides hope for transplant patients, sexual brutality.

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To the Editor:

Re “ American Jews in the Age of Palestine ,” by Peter Beinart (Opinion guest essay, March 24):

There is a fundamental flaw in the article. Zionism does not require backing the Israeli government; it does assume backing for the State of Israel.

The nation is and has been divided, and choosing to support the liberal elements of Israeli society, during a period when the ultra right controls the government, is not a rupture. It is a choice to support what many of us believe to be Jewish values, with the domination of the Palestinians being un-Jewish.

Yes, there is a rupture between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Jewish diaspora, but that does not translate to a rupture with Israel, at least not yet.

Steven Goldberg Brooklyn

Peter Beinart claims that the Anti-Defamation League is aligning itself with “Republicans who want to silence ‘woke’ activists on campus.” That’s a distortion of our record. Since 1913, the ADL has hewed to a strictly nonpartisan strategy in calling out antisemitism — whether it emanates from the far left or the extreme right, or anywhere in between.

Moreover, Mr. Beinart’s assertion that we are stifling pro-Palestinian speech is ludicrous. Since Oct. 7, there have been at least 2,874 anti-Israel rallies across the U.S., many held on or near campuses. There’s no shortage of sit-ins, opinion essays, protests and other public manifestations on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

Students are entitled to their First Amendment right to protest, but when free speech devolves into intimidation and threats, we must call it out without hesitation. At stake are the safety and security of Jewish students.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt New York The writer is C.E.O. and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

I am an American Jew who can be both liberal regarding American politics and Zionist in my support for Israel. There is no conflict in my position.

America and Israel are both democratic liberal states. Hamas is a radical, violent militant group that is a threat to Israel and hardly created a haven for the Palestinians who live under its rule.

I would support a liberal Palestinian state and hope it will one day emerge to receive the loyalty and support of Palestinians wherever they now live. But liberal states need to be formed by a people united by a willingness to abide by a rule of law.

A Jewish state has been so formed in Israel, and is now defending its sovereignty against brutal attacks by terrorists, while we in the U.S. contend with forces of chaos in our political system that threaten our rights and liberties.

I want to defend liberalism in my country and Zionism for those Israelis who are defending their country.

Doris Fine Berkeley, Calif.

Peter Beinart’s essay reminds us all of an essential point: Israel-Palestine will remain the home of millions and millions of Jews and Palestinians. Any proposed solution must grapple with that central fact.

Jeremy Pressman West Hartford, Conn. The writer is a professor of political science and the director of Middle East studies at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of “The Sword Is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis and the Limits of Military Force.”

It’s on behalf of 30 M.I.T. faculty members from various disciplines that we write to address recent events at M.I.T. concerning the war in Gaza.

Antisemitism is rising nationally and on our campus, necessitating urgent education about its origins and practices. But accusations of antisemitism are used to suppress free speech, particularly in support of Palestinian rights.

M.I.T. students advocating Palestinian liberation face doxxing, threats and false labeling as “pro-Hamas.” Criticism of Israel’s government is wrongly equated with antisemitism, suppressing speech for Palestinian rights.

Biased media coverage has isolated and created fear among Jewish students who support a cease-fire. This fear extends to Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities.

As an academic institution, M.I.T. must prioritize difficult conversations, reflection and learning over suppression and intimidation. We must foster an inclusive environment that promotes dialogue and understanding.

We must address rising antisemitism and the suppression of free speech without perpetuating fear. M.I.T. should strive for a respectful environment that encourages open dialogue and supports the rights, humanity and dignity of all communities. No Palestinian exception.

Michel DeGraff Tanalís Padilla The writers are professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Re “ Patient Mends After Receiving a Pig’s Kidney ” (front page, March 22):

As one who spent much of my career as a spokesperson for an internationally renowned organ transplant center, I read the news of the pig kidney transplant with great interest.

Back in the mid-1980s and into the ’90s, I worked with many patients’ families desperate to both raise the money necessary to pay for then often-uninsured transplants and generate enough awareness to obtain horrendously scarce donor organs. I can’t tell you how many families cracked under the pressure.

Words from pioneering surgeons and other scientists about the future possibility of using animal organs (even then, usually pigs) were of small comfort to people needing help then. And not 30 years hence.

But maybe, just maybe, this news out of Boston about a transplant from a genetically modified pig may be what so many have been waiting for all these years. For the sake of those eager to do nearly anything to save their child, spouse or parent, I hope the genuine worries about such procedures prove to be minimal.

If you’ve ever seen a parent lose a child because an organ wasn’t available, you’d share this hope too.

Mary Stanik Tucson, Ariz.

Re “ Looking Away From an Epidemic of Rape ,” by Maebel Gebremedhin (Opinion guest essay, March 22):

As a Marine Corps and an O.S.S. officer combating the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia, my father, the actor and writer Sterling Hayden, witnessed many of the most gruesome realities of war. But there was one event that I believe scarred his psyche more profoundly than any other.

One evening, along with a group of Josip Broz Tito’s Partisan fighters, he entered a small village that had been razed by the Ustashe, the fascist Croatian militia allied with the Germans. Years later he would describe what they found:

“Not a house stands, nothing but burned stone shells of chimneys gaunt under scorched trees and over all the terrible stench of fried flesh and bone mingled with burned wood. And by the bank of the Sava the nine girls all in a row upside down they are hung by their ankles to split rails with legs far apart and breasts sliced off and the helves of axes and the handles of rakes rammed to the bloody hilt through areas where life might otherwise have been conceived.”

Grotesque sexual sadism has been present in wars throughout recorded history. That this demonic behavior erupts so often is one of the darkest indictments of the human imagination.

David Hayden Wilton, Conn.

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Lauri Peterson Mourns the Death of Her Son, Josh Waring: "Every Fiber in My Body Hurts"

The RHOC alum confirmed the tragic news in a heartbreaking Instagram post that touched on Josh's long addiction battle.

Lauri Peterson, Josh Waring

Josh Waring, son of  The Real Housewives of Orange County   alum  Lauri Peterson , has died at age 35.

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Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County on   Peacock  and the Bravo App .

Lauri confirmed the heartbreaking news in a lengthy Instagram tribute shared on Saturday, April 6, less than a week after Josh’s untimely death. 

“It is with a shattered heart that I write this post to let you know that my sweet Josh left this earth Easter Sunday,” the former ’Wife wrote in the post, which included photos of Josh throughout the years. “No one can ever prepare you for this feeling of such deep loss. Every fiber in my body hurts. Josh fought every single day for most of his adult life, for his life, but this past Sunday, the challenge was too great.”

Lauri Peterson shares a heartfelt tribute to her late son, Josh Waring

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lauri Peterson (@lauri_peterson)

Lauri described her son as a “kind” man who enjoyed snowboarding, reading, bodyboarding, hiking, and music. She said Josh had a deep intellect and sense of humor growing up, and “continued to be optimistic” while facing "adult hardships."

"[Josh] defended those that were unable to defend themselves and continued to love his family so so much!" she wrote.

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Lauri went on to reference Josh’s years-long battle with substance abuse and thanked everyone who tried helping her son “along the way.”

“I am witness to many Angels on earth. Not everyone understands those suffering from substance abuse disorder, but I am forever grateful for your understanding and the impact you made on his life,” Lauri wrote. “I also thank those who have supported me through this journey and offering kind words of encouragement by sharing their stories of living with substance abuse disorder and the many parents that have shared their stories over the years with me about the children they have sadly lost due to this illness.”

Lauri Peterson says her son got so much "joy" from his daughter, Kennady

Josh is survived by his 11-year-old daughter, Kennady, whom Lauri adopted in 2015 . The former OC 'Wife continues to raise the young girl alongside her husband of 16 years, George Peterson.

Lauri reflected on Josh's role as a father, saying "he received the most joy, pride and purpose through his daughter Kennady and watching her grow and thrive over the years."

“Josh I love you so much and I will miss you terribly! I will forever be your ‘Mama Bear & Mama Dukes’ and every time the clock turns to 11:11, I will expect your call to tell me to make a wish!” she continued. “What will I wish for now? My heart is with you and I pray you have found the peace that you so deserve. Heaven has gained the coolest angel and you have gained your freedom at last sweet boy. Love always and forever, Mom.”

Housewives and Andy Cohen react to Lauri Peterson's family loss

The post was immediately flooded with condolences, including heartfelt messages from Bravolebrities, like  RHOC alums Gretchen Rossi ,  Jo De La Rosa , and  Jeana Keough ; as well as  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills  alum  Eileen Davidson and RHOC executive producer  Andy Cohen .

“Lauri I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking,” the  Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen   host wrote. “You tried so hard to save him, and by sharing Josh’s story you would up educating people around the world about the tragedy of addiction for those who are touched by it. May Josh’s memory be a blessing to you always. Sending your family all my love.”

An OG RHOC Kid Wants to Be a Real Housewife and Here’s How Andy Cohen Feels About It

Lauri’s oldest daughter, Ashley Zarlin, also mourned her family loss on Instagram .

“On Easter Sunday, I lost my brother to the relentless grip of addiction,” she wrote in the April 6 carousel , which featured childhood photos of her and Josh. “It’s a disease that distorts and destroys, leaving behind shattered dreams and broken hearts. He was brilliant and had limitless potential, but addiction veered him off course…

“I wish for a different outcome with every fiber of my being,” she continued. “I wish I could have done more, been more, to help him find his way back to the light. As I grieve his loss, I cherish the memories of who he truly was, before addiction stole him away. My little brother… Josh, I hope that you’ve finally found the peace you’ve been looking for. You’re no longer in pain, you can rest. I love you.”

Lauri Peterson addresses her son's addiction struggles on WWHL

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Lauri opened up about Josh's addiction battle during a 2019 appearance on WWHL .

"He's struggling. It's not good," she told Andy about her son. "We're in contact, but it's really bad. And, at this point, our government hasn't figured out how to handle addiction. And until they figure out how to treat it like an illness instead of criminalizing it, it's never going to change."

If you are seeking help about your substance use, or know someone who is, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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photo essay lettering

In Photos: Grouplove Rocks The Roadrunner

Grouplove electrified Boston’s Roadrunner with their March 29 concert — the penultimate stop on their “Rock and Roll Won’t Save Me” tour. There, Crimson photographer Tracy Jiang captured their energetic and immersive show.

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The night kicked off with a captivating performance by Bully, the solo project of German-born singer, songwriter, and guitarist Alicia Bognanno. With a stripped-down acoustic set, Bognanno’s opening act set the tone for the evening.

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Grouplove took to the stage with a rendition of “Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten,” led by vocalist Hannah Hooper and guitarist Christian Zucconi.

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Fans erupted with excitement and sung along as Hooper stepped to the front of the stage.

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Zucconi swayed to the beat of the music, bathed in vibrant red, yellow, and orange hues.

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Grouplove soared to fame with their 2011 single “Tongue Tied.” This captivating track clinched the number one spot on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in 2012, marking a milestone as the band’s first chart-topping single.

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In the middle of the set, Hooper took a moment to encourage the crowd to make art, emphasizing how important it is to get to know yourself better and be a better person.

“You’re the only person who can make your art,” Hooper said.

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The American alternative rock band is comprised of seven members and has released six studio albums to date.

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Drummer Benjamin Homola, who joined the group in 2017, kept the energy up through the 22-song set.

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An enthusiastic concert attendee raised their drink in celebration to the music while they sang and danced along.

Grouplove closed out the night with an encore of “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” “Raspberry,” and “Colors.” With summer festivals on the horizon, they will be heading back on tour with P!NK in the fall.

IMAGES

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  2. Hand lettering design: 40 stunning examples to inspire you—and tips

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  4. Best 25+ Photo essay ideas on Pinterest

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  6. [Lettering Essay] Lettering & Book Design on Behance

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Create an Engaging Photo Essay (+ Examples)

    3. Take your time. A great photo essay is not done in a few hours. You need to put in the time to research it, conceptualizing it, editing, etc. That's why I previously recommended following your passion because it takes a lot of dedication, and if you're not passionate about it - it's difficult to push through. 4.

  2. How to Create a Photo Essay

    The idea of a photo essay is to create a whole, not a bunch of random parts. Think gestalt. The images must interact with each other. Repetition helps achieve this end. Recurring themes, moods ...

  3. How to create a photo essay

    1. Create visual structure. An authentic photo essay requires visual markers to help transform a collection of images into a narrative. For example, photo chapter headings in Growing up young introduce each new girl in the story.. Similarly, in SBS's photojournalism story — 28 days in Afghanistan, mentioned above — each dated header delineates a part of the story, providing an easy-to ...

  4. How to Create a Photo Essay: Step-by-Step Guide With Examples

    4. Choose your top 10 images. Once a few days have passed, pick the best 100 photos from your shoot to start with. Then, a day or more later, look at those 100 images and narrow them down to the top 25. Finally, narrow the 25 down to the top 10 images, making sure each photo serves your original concept for the story. 5.

  5. How to Create a Photo Essay in 9 Steps (with Examples)

    Choose an idea, hone your unique perspective on it, then start applying the 9 simple steps from above. The life of a plant or animal (your favorite species, a species living in your yard, etc) The many shapes of a single species (a tree species, a bird species, etc) How a place changes over time.

  6. Photo essay

    A photo essay is a form of visual storytelling that develops a narrative across a series of photographs. It originated during the late 1920s in German illustrated journals, initially presenting stories in the objective, distanced tone of news reporting. The photo essay gained wide popularity with the growth of photographically illustrated magazines such as VU (launched in Paris in 1928), LIFE ...

  7. PDF Storytelling with Photographs: How to Create a Photo Essay

    Simply put, a photo essay is a way of telling a story through a series of photographs, by one photographer, and may be as little as three or four images or as many as 20-30 or even more. A picture story, on the other hand, is usually a series of photographs by two or more photographers. The images in a photo essay are ordered in a specific way ...

  8. Exploring the Picture Essay: Tips, Best Practices, and Examples

    Exploring the Picture Essay: Tips, Best Practices, and Examples. April 18, 2023. Words by Jeff Cardello. A picture essay lets you harness the power of images to tell stories, evoke emotions, and convey a sense of place, time, and perspective. Picture essays drop viewers right into the action, letting them see things through the camera's lens ...

  9. Ten examples of immersive photo essays

    An immersive photo essay uses rich media and story design to capture and keep the reader's attention. Immersive content is typically free of the most distracting elements of the web, such as pop-ups, skyscrapers, and other intrusions on the reading experience. As a basic rule of thumb, immersive content respects the reader's attention.

  10. Focus: How to create a photo essay

    Taking a look at how other photographers have approached the same - or similar - subjects can help you figure out the angle you wish to take. This photo essay by Maximilian M. Meduna takes an alternative approach to a popular photo topic - the United States 3 Make a structured plan . Once your research is complete, it's time to make a detailed and structured plan about how you're going to ...

  11. Photo Essays

    Photo Essays. A photo essay is simply an essay that uses images to tell a story or make a point. In a photo essay, images are placed in a specific order in order to send a particular message to an audience. Some photo essays will have text to support the photos or provide details, but some photo essays will have no text at all.

  12. Photo Essay: Structure, Ideas, and Examples for Creating the Best

    Step 4 - Select your top images. Define the appropriate number of images that you intend to use when telling the story. For example, if you intend to leave the audience under suspense, choose which images to use and their order of appearance. Your photo essay project does not have to use all your images but the best.

  13. The Comprehensive Guide to Shooting Photo Stories & Essays

    The Comprehensive Guide to Shooting Photo Stories & Essays. Cameron Knight. Sep 13, 2010 • 11 min read. Photographing. This post is part of a series called Photojournalism. A Photographer's Guide to Working with Magazines. Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier Bresson, James Nachtwey. If you've heard of even one of these names, and even ...

  14. Pictures That Tell Stories: Photo Essay Examples

    Famous Photo Essays. "The Great Depression" by Dorothea Lange - Shot and arranged in the 1930s, this famous photo essay still serves as a stark reminder of The Great Depression and Dust Bowl America. Beautifully photographed, the black and white images offer a bleak insight to one of the country's most difficult times.

  15. 32 Photo Essay Examples (Plus Tips)

    32 Photo Essay Examples (Plus Tips) Photography is a medium that allows you to explore narratives and tell stories about the world around you. One form of storytelling is the photo essay. If you want to create your own photo essay, it can help to know the two main types of essays and some examples of potential subjects. In this article, we ...

  16. Teaching the Photo Essay Free Lesson Guide

    Teaching the Photo Essay. A picture is worth 1,000 words. By We Are Teachers Staff. Sep 2, 2015. Your students, if they're anything like mine, love to communicate through images—photos on Instagram, GIFs shared in a text, photo stories on Snapchat. And yet, so much of our conversation in school revolves around words.

  17. Photo Essay

    6. Include Captions or Text (Optional) Write captions to provide context, add depth, or explain the significance of each photo. Keep text concise and impactful, letting the images remain the focus. 7. Present Your Photo Essay. Choose a platform for presentation, whether online, in a gallery, or as a printed booklet.

  18. Photo essay assignments

    A photo essay is a series of photographs selected to tell a story. Photo essays may contain text but generally allow the photographs, or rather the subjects depicted in the photographs, to tell the story. Photo essay assignments are usually focused on the curatorial process of selecting the best images to create an impactful sequence of images.

  19. 33 Writing Photo Essays

    Writing, Revising, and Editing. After students have gathered information and images for their photo essays, lead them through "Writing a Draft." Then give them time to put their first drafts together. When the time comes to revise, have students use the questions under "Revising" to improve their work.

  20. W. Eugene Smith: Father of the Photo Essay

    A post shared by Int'l Center of Photography (@icp) on Sep 16, 2017 at 5:48pm PDT. William Eugene Smith was born in Kansas in 1918. He was given his first camera at the age of 9 after he wanted to ...

  21. From the Collection: The Women of Photo-Lettering

    The first edition of the PLINC catalog, released in 1946, featured 979 designs. My 1971 edition, a compilation of PLINC's Alphabet Thesaurus 1, 2, and 3, includes some 6,500 styles of type. The One Line Manual visually encapsulates and unites in photo-lettering an accumulated history of mostly Western typographic forms. Works of the 10 women ...

  22. Creating Photo Essays About Community: A Guide to Our Where We Are

    Step 1: Read the Where We Are series closely. Step 2: Decide what local community will be the subject of your photo essay. Step 3: Take photos that show both the big picture and the small details ...

  23. The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

    The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. Fall Magazine 2023. Home (current) Fall Photo Essay. A Season of Reflection. Autumn Activities. Fall Entertainment. Fall Food and Drinks.

  24. Amid Tragedy, Anguished Pleas for Gaza

    What a humane, heartfelt and balanced essay by Mr. Andrés after the tragic death of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza. Now if only the Israeli people will hear his plea and require ...

  25. Opinion

    Maxim Shemetov/Reuters. To the Editor: Re " The West Still Hasn't Figured Out How to Beat ISIS ," by Christopher P. Costa and Colin P. Clarke (Opinion guest essay, April 1): Two clear ...

  26. AI Chatbots Like ChatGPT Sucked Up Troves of Data. Copyright Holders

    These generative artificial intelligence platforms have hoovered up 19th century novels, beat poetry, draft contracts, movie scripts, photo essays, millions of songs and everything in between on ...

  27. Joe Biden may not qualify for November ballot in Ohio, letter says

    Joe Biden may be in jeopardy of not making it onto Ohio's ballot in November. The Ohio Secretary of State is warning that President Joe Biden won't make it on the general election ballot in Ohio ...

  28. American Jews, Liberalism and Zionism

    Jonathan A. Greenblatt. New York. The writer is C.E.O. and national director of the Anti-Defamation League. To the Editor: I am an American Jew who can be both liberal regarding American politics ...

  29. Lauri Peterson Son Josh Waring Dead

    Lauri Peterson Mourns the Death of Her Son, Josh Waring: "Every Fiber in My Body Hurts." The RHOC alum confirmed the tragic news in a heartbreaking Instagram post that touched on Josh's long ...

  30. In Photos: Grouplove Rocks The Roadrunner

    An enthusiastic concert attendee raised their drink in celebration to the music while they sang and danced along. Grouplove closed out the night with an encore of "Itchin' on a Photograph ...