Telling a Story in Three Frames

When you find something or someone you want to take a picture of, consider making three different compositions by varying your physical distance from the subject: overall view, portrait view and detail view. This approach breaks us out of our ruts or the ways we always use our gear.

For example, I'm prone to shooting details and close-ups of whatever I'm photographing. While visiting Bannack State Park in Montana a couple years ago, I discovered an old wagon inside a shed. I walked over to investigate and found an intriguing sign on the side which I immediately decided to capture.

Sold by Midland Implement Co., Inc.
Billings, Mont.

Then I worked to create a portrait of the wagon itself.

Old Wagon
Bannack State Park, Montana

And I concluded my series with a picture of the wagon in its shed under the beautiful Montana sky.

Final Resting Place
Bannack State Park, Montana

By remembering to photograph these other views, I challenged myself in ways of seeing that I don't immediately think of. And I created a more complete picture (no pun intended) of what my subject is like.

Practice your visual story-telling skills at a preserved mining town in my Photograph Garnet Ghost Town class this summer, July 12-19, 2018. Click here to register online.