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Episode #007

The 6 Must-Have Shots for a Photo Story


UPDATED: May 20, 2023
ORIGINALLY AIRED ON February 21, 2020

There’s an often invisible art to telling an incredible story in images.

To tell a whole, complete story in photographs, it takes a collection of certain types of images that play off one another and build the story like Lego blocks.

Indeed, there are six essential shots to every complete photo story.

It is truly incredible how much information and emotion can be packed into a single photograph documenting the briefest moment in time.

Yet one image equals just one moment. So what is required when you need to convey the complexity and nuance of a large and multifaceted story?

Amazingly, this can still be done in a small handful of images. They just need to be the right types and coordinated together so that they can illustrate with beautiful variation all the layers of a story.

Understanding what these six shots are and why you need them allows you to think way outside of the box in an effort to build a contained story.

This podcast episode evolved into a mini-course! 🎉

In this mini-course, you'll learn: 

  • Each of the 6 types of images essential to photo essays
  • Why each image type matters and the roles they play in storytelling
  • How to select the images from a larger portfolio
  • Strategies for selecting different sets of images from the same large portfolio depending on the story you're telling
  • How to plan for each image for your own photo stories
  • 3 practical ways you can put photo stories to work in your life right now!


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