What is the Story You Want to Tell?

By Leanne Goulding

What’s the difference between a good photo and one that stops you in your tracks? At our event, Showcasing a Designed Landscape – Photography for Portfolio and Website, David Perry of David Perry Photographer schooled us with a dense and delightful tour of dos, don’ts and hows.

Short of relaying all the content of four hours of story-telling, in-class and field-class instruction, here are my take aways.

First and foremost what is the story you want to tell. Photographs tell a story and understanding what that story is allows us to convene our message and pull our viewers into the experience. It gives the photos emotion and depth.
When shooting the photograph:
  • Consider using Camera+ an app which adds excellent features to an iphone (sorry no androids) such as a timer, touch exposure and focus, flash, grid (for the rule of thirds photos) and an amazing zoom.
  • Use the rule of thirds for composition – placing the main horizontal or vertical line or feature one third from the edge.
  • Isolate/remove the clutter. Think like a haiku poet. Dial down to the minimum elements using the least needed to make the desired statement.
  • Consider how the image will be used, i.e. as the title page of your portfolio or website, then leave space for text, two page fold out in Garden Design (we wish) then the photo needs to balance well over that space with a seam in the center. Conversely to showcase a garden, large, full garden photos with tighter vignettes or features are desired. Are there before and after images to compare? Or are is this the recording of materials, plants, details, elements?
  • Shoot dark, under-exposed photos and then use technology to pull out the detail with control. If the photo is over-exposed the information is not there, and visa versa with under-exposed.
To enhance the photo:
  • Apps, apps, apps. All the enhancements that were once done in the dark room and more are available on apps.
  • Handy Photo – Better than a video game, it’s so much fun to use. Use this killer editing app to make tonal and color adjustments, remove unwanted objects (think garden hoses), copy or move objects, filters to insufflate mood, add textures,

    and my personal favorite, uncrop which actually extends the border of the photo (you have to see this one).

    iOS or Android
  • Mextures – Another cool editing app. Add layers and textures, blend, dive in. iOS or Android
  • Consider a phone to HDMI cable which allows the image on your mobile device to be viewed on a larger screen.
  • Over – Library of graphics, fonts and images to layer over your photo or create your own graphic. iOS or Android

This technology has amazing capabilities and this is just a taste. What story do you want to tell? You can tell it beautifully and with flare.