Does Every Photo Need to Tell a Story

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I’ve been pretty adamant promoting the idea that every photo should tell a story that evokes an emotion from your audience. It’s what I believe and I really relate best to those photos. That said, there’s another side of the coin that we ought to explore.

Despite what Rod Stewart told us, not every picture tells a story. There are people who take abstract photos and I know people who buy them, too.

We’ll discuss how to understand this kind of art, what goes into it and why people may just want a photo that doesn’t tell a story.

What Kind of Photo Doesn’t Tell a Story?

A year or two ago, I sold one of my photos taken in Washington D.C. to a corporate art buyer. It fit the theme for an office opening in Washington.

She was interested in more photos for different office environments, but she specifically wanted something abstract from either Washington or New York. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything to offer her and I never took a trip to go shoot for her needs.

The buyer didn’t need a photo that told a story. Instead, she needed something that set the mood and provided a sense of location. She wanted photos that you could look at, know they belonged in one of those cities, but didn’t tie you down with anything else.

Basically, it’s background dressing to use in a business that sets the scene or mood for the operations they conduct.

Sometimes people buy abstract art for the same reason. It could be due to the colors, a sense of place, or just because they wanted something from a particular artist. They’re not buying a story.

Time Stamps

1:00 – Lightroom Classic Develop Workflow Checklist

1:45 – Photos that don’t tell a story

2:23 – Defining Abstract Photography

3:00 – Detail photos

3:48 – Corporate art buyer needs

4:45 – The purpose of abstract art

5:40 – Using colorĀ 

7:10 – Enola Gaye color smoke grenades

8: 20 – Using shape and shadows

10:13 – Is sharpness important?

11:18 – Using creative lighting

12:23 – Meaningless artwork in homes for sale

14:16 – Using Light

15:38 – Visual Impact

17:15 – Bich Nguyen Art

Resources Mentioned

Lightroom Classic Develop Workflow Checklist

Enola Gaye Smoke Grenades

Bich Nguyen Art

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