Writing a Great Photo Essay: Step-by-Step Guide


Students today can’t really imagine how they would study if there were no internet. How can they not write my speech by DoMyEssay or rely on an app to cite their paper for them? The internet, however, offers more than just help with assignments. The power of the internet has transformed the way we communicate, but it has also made it easier than ever to communicate with few or even no words at all. The photo essay is an old form, created to tell a story visually, but today it is also the unintended result of a montage of images uploaded to a digital photo-sharing service such as Instagram or Pinterest. If you are looking tell a story visually, with minimal text, the photo essay is a great way to get your point across. There are a few key tips that can help anyone to develop the best and most powerful photo essays.

We’ll share with you a few steps to help you make the most of your next photo essay. Let’s take a look at where you should begin:

  1. Collect the Photos You Want to Use. In developing a photo essay, the cardinal rule is to write to the pictures. This means that you should collect the photographs you want to use before you write anything, and the written word should be secondary to the pictures. If you try to do it the other way around, you’ll end up scrambling to find the right pictures to match the text. Instead, let the pictures do the heavy lifting. Look for interesting and informative pictures that tell the story you’re trying to convey to the audience. Remember, each image should have a specific purpose. If a picture doesn’t contribute to the message, it probably isn’t important.
  2. Organize the Photos in the Order You Want Them to Be Seen. Think of the photographs as a storyboard in which you are laying out scenes in a story. Imagine where you want the audience to enter the story and how they should move through it to the end. Sometimes, chronological order makes the most sense. Other times, thematic organization works better. A lot depends on what you want your essay to do and the subject you’re trying to discuss.
  3. Write a Brief Introduction. Most photo essays begin with a paragraph or two discussing the subject of the essay and introducing it to readers. Use your introduction to draw the reader in and get them interesting in looking at the photos you’ve collected. Try to employ an effective opening strategy to pique the audience’s interest. Some good strategies include opening with a dramatic fact or compelling statistic, sharing a relevant quotation, or telling an anecdote or story that highlights a key theme or sets the stage for what follows. You want your introduction to make thee reader feel as though the photos are important and worthy of their time to review.
  4. Provide Thoughtful Captions for the Photos. To tie together the photographs in your photo essay, write right and detailed captions that explain what the reader is looking at and how the photographs connect to what came before and to the main idea of the essay. The captions tell the story of the essay in words, but they shouldn’t overpower the images. Instead, each caption briefly explains the image, highlights key themes, and identifies the location and subject of the photograph, the photographer, and any interesting facts about the taking of the photo.
  5. Write a brief conclusion. This step is optional depending on the photos and the subject, but if it is relevant to your topic, you can end the essay with a brief paragraph that ties together the themes of the essay and leaves the reader with a parting thought for the future. In many cases, the conclusion is folded into the caption of the final photograph. In others, it appears as separate text after the final photo.

Photo essays are a great way to communicate ideas visually, and they are well suited to both magazine writing and to online picture galleries. When you choose a photo essay to deliver your message, the steps we’ve outlined above will make a major difference in producing powerful and effective photo essays. Just remember: Above all else, the photos come first! Focus on powerful images, and the text will come close to writing itself.

We are grateful the team of freelance essay experts from SmartWritingService.com writing company for providing our website with professional step-by-step tips.