Here are a few storytelling suggestions for your photographs because as photojournalists that’s what we are—storytellers, right? But these are tools only. They are only valuable as a means to an end. The technique is not the point, the final result is the point. The viewer should notice the image and the message, not the technique.
1. Vary the viewpoint—By using a worm’s eye or bird’s eye view you can emphasize different storytelling elements in your photo.
2. Framing—Shooting through a window or branches on a tree will not only clean up a cluttered background, it will add visual interest and create a sense of isolation.
3. Details—Zeroing in on small, poignant details can often say more about a subject than showing the whole scene. The detail above was taken in the Red River Gorge in a protected area. I thought it was ironic to find the word "Care" carved into the rock along with all the other graffiti.
4. Symbolism—Try to find a detail or overall scene that evokes some powerful symbolism that can carry your message for you.
5. Shadows—Shadows are a way of taking the subject and reducing it down to its basic black & white shape. No other extraneous details get in the way and we can concentrate on body language. Silhouettes fall into this category as well.
6. Rule of Thirds Composition—You hear a lot about this and it sounds very Art School Stuffy. All it really means is don’t always put your subject in the very center of the frame and don’t always put the horizon line in the middle either. When you use that “Bull’s eye framing” it looks static and boring, so avoid it unless you are going for that look for effect. Putting the subject off-center tends to show a more dynamic personality.
These are just a few Photography 101 tips that can improve anybody’s pictures but what I’m really trying to emphasize here is that these are tools just like a fish-eye lens is a tool. You need to use them thoughtfully when the picture warrants it and not just because it would be “cool”. Remember, you are trying to say something with your image and you need to use the tools at your disposal much the way writers or anyone else uses their tools.