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Hardly a day goes by when I’m not thinking about either the angle or the story.


Whether it’s writing or photography, telling the story effectively falls back to identifying the target audience and crafting the message to their sensibilities. For instance, a remodel project, however interesting, when written from one perspective can easily come across as a yawner and from another, quite exciting. Likewise a perfectly balanced and technically pristine photo might not offer the observer the visual information required to applaud the ingenuity of the design.


If a story is written for do-it-yourselfers, they’ll need to see the finished product and at least one behind-the-scenes construction detail. The writing needs to be clear, easily understood, and in logical order of thought. The audience who hires interior designers might respond better to pictures of the luxurious final project and don’t care how it was built. Sentences that expound on how the new design makes the owner feel could be more effective than bullet points about efficiency.


Tips for making a better shot and writing a better story to deliver your specific message to your target audience:


• Change the angle of the camera. All photos don’t have to be shot directly head on. Try shooting up, down, or from the side to change the visual context (i.e. story) of the photo.
• Add or subtract light. Open or close window coverings enabling natural light; turn overhead and ambient lights on or off, and bring in additional directed lighting. Candles, flashlights – why not – if they offer the lighting impression you imagine.
• Add or subtract props and people. Pay attention to color and pattern – is it used as accent, does it complement or clash with the primary subject? Do the props indicate age, seasons, or attitudes that enhance on conflict with your message?


• Change the angle of the story. Write from a different perspective – who’s the storyteller? Develop the personalities of the characters or narrator.
• Think visually. Create more interesting surroundings by including details.
• Sneak in something unexpected. Humor, education, history – there are a million ways to give the reader a surprise.


Final thoughts – remember that your viewer/reader isn’t there with you. They will only see what is in the image – no explanation available. They have to be able to “read” the story told by the photo, just as they can only “see” the vision through the combination of words in the story.