Friday, February 10, 2012

Tell a Story With Your Photos

Recently on the Domythic Bliss blog, there was a discussion about whether or not people enjoyed decorating their houses with photographs. I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss creative family photography.

Mythic decorating is created on the backbone of creative thought and expression. Wouldn't it make sense, then, to try your hand at creative and narrative set ups for your family photographs?

But I am no professional photographer, you might say. But I don't even have a good camera. Here's the thing...a story can be written on fine paper or on a scrap of napkin, but if it's a good story, it will still enchant either way.

Photography is an art form. And I don't mean to belittle the skills it takes to be an excellent photographer. But just like writing a story can benefit the author even if the tale is never read by anyone else, so also creating a photo that tells a story can be a thrilling experience even if it is seen by no one more than the people who come in your house.

The fun comes when you think of a story scenario that could suit the people you want to have photographed. From then on, you can treat it like a stage play, finding a "set" and "props" and "wardrobe." And in the end, you have pictures to remember the experience by.

One great example of this was shown to me recently by my friend (and a great photographer) Amanda Flagg. This appears to be an engagement shoot where the two lovers decided to tell the story of Rapunzel through the images. It's so very sweet and romantic. There was a lot of work involved in creating the "tower" and the "window," the horse and prince, and so on. But aren't these images so much fun?

This is the only major photograph on the wall of our house, and we had it framed rather largely. It's an image of my husband and my wedding day, posed in the style of the Pre-Raphaelite artworks I love, set in a "secret garden" at the park where we were wed.

Here's another example of a recent shot taken of me and my friend, Ellie Lane. Photographer Renee Needham of Fan the Flame captured this shot, but the most fun part of the day for me was bringing in all the props and setting up the spot in the woods. We wanted to capture the idea of two storytelling sisters.

My friend Lindsey of Linden Sidhe Designs took this picture in the cornfield next to her house. She wanted a "serious posed" Victorian style shot of her two daughters, eerie and charming at the same time.

The brilliant Pre-Raphaelite blogger and author Kirsty Walker took this picture of her daughter Lily Rose to send out with Christmas cards this last holiday. She styled it like a Rossetti portrait. Gorgeous.

Ellie and her husband, Chris took this photo recently. Chris is a talented photographer as well, and they set this shot up with a tripod and their DSLR camera.

Might I suggest also that if you still aren't convinced of the enjoyment inherent in creating your own narrative photos, you could also find a talented photographer who creates this sort of situation for you! A bright and shining example is Aurora Vanderbosch of Aurora Photography. She creates an entire lush environment for your photo shoot. She does makeup. She can provide wardrobe. And you can't argue with the gorgeous results.

Pictures like these framed and hung on your wall invite people to catch a glimpse not only of the people in your life, but also the imagination you have!


  1. GRACE! I so love that picture of you and your husband !!! YOU ARE THE LOVELY WOMAN in that famous picture! And I am loving your suggestion here. I am NO PHOTOGRAPHER and that is why no one really sees pictures of my home on my blog. BUT I like the idea of trying, through MASQUERADE, to capture what I see in my head. Your style and vision is what I want to capture in my art and writings and it sure is good to see you again my dear. Anita

  2. Anita, you should definitely give it a try!! It's heaps of fun.

    Thank you Terri! :)