TAOP: Part 5 – Narrative and Illustration: Narrative – Project Introduction

In photography, narrative is the way of telling a story through a set of pictures – which is usually easier than telling a story in an individual picture.  It is essentially a picture essay – and can contain anything from three or four photographs to a dozen, or more.

This treatment is best suited to subjects that are made up of several parts, or events that have a sequence of things happening.  e.g. a workplace and activities might be the first kind, a wedding the second.

The first step is to plat the story – and not necessarily with reference to possible photographs.  The course uses the example of the Lord Mayor’s show and talks about the preparation for this:


  • when – key times, dates.
  • where – key locations and activities, the route.  scouting to find good vantage points and checking they’ll be accessible on the day
  • who – the people involved, costumes, etc.


  • what kind of shots to expect or hope to get.
  • establish a variety of shots – vertical/horizontal – different scales, lighting, colour and application of other photography techniques.
  • create a ‘picture script’ to help remember the pictures expected.

The exercise for this section is to complete a narrative picture essay.  I’ll be second photographer at the wedding of friends next week – so I’ll complete this exercise then – with some planning beforehand, of course!

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