Tell me a Story!
Presented by Glenn Springer, TIF, RHCC

Digital images are free!
put a bunch of them together and tell a story!

Here's a shot from a RedHawks vs. Griffins Junior game early in October. A "rule" in sports photography is capture the face, a great expression, a dynamic athletic position and the ball. This picture does that, but does it tell a story?


When was the last time you opened an issue of National Geographic and saw an article with just one picture? OK, yes, just yesterday, because they feature individual shots too, but this is all about telling stories with your photographs.

Can you tell a story with just one photo? ABSOLUTELY. I can think of several iconic images like the girl in Vietnam burned by napalm, Neil Armstrong on the moon… your two year old kid with birthday cake all over her grinning face! But if you have a digital camera, you have the means to create a story with multiple shots!


Again, these are great photos of the football game, but again they don't tell the story. The shot on the left shows an offensive lineman doing what he's supposed to do, protect the quarterback when he drops back to pass. But was he successful? Did a defender sack the QB? We don't know (he didn't and the pass was complete, but how do you know?)

On the right, the Griffins ballcarrier has a determined expression on his face and he's looking where he wants to go. The tackler is looking at the runner's head. Looks like he made the tackle, right? He didn't. If you've ever played football, you know you have to look at the runner's midsection and get your shoulder in front of him. In this case, the runner slipped the "arm tackle" and ran another 20 yards for the touchdown.

One picture does not always tell the whole story.


This is actually a series of about a dozen shots combined into a timelapse.
It takes a little work in Photoshop or a similar program to create this GIF file.

Here's a link to some of my coffee table books

Here's a link to where you can make a book with your own pictures.



I don’t want to talk about movies and timelapses… most of us have the equipment to do that (you have a digital camera, right?) but that’s a whole other topic. It can be both frustrating and inspiring to watch TV or a movie: there’s a Corolla commercial on now that revolves around the setup for photographing the car, and I recently saw a YouTube video of how the opening sequences for the new Star Trek movie were created, planets and all, with software that even I have access to through the Adobe Creative Cloud. If I could do that stuff, I’d be rich, famous, smart AND handsome. Oh well, two out of four ain’t bad…

What I am talking about is putting together some of the concepts I talked about in previous articles or that I do in workshops (if you missed any articles, they’re all online at, click the “Tips” button). Remember “work the scene”? Where we talked about there being a million different pictures waiting to be captured out there, not just one? Shooting fall foliage? Do you want a shot of mist rising off the lake? The glorious colours in the forest? A single leaf? A dog running down a trail surrounded by a riot of colours? Shoot them all, then put them together as a story.

How? I can’t see from here what kind of computer you have, but I’ll bet you have software that came with it that lets you put a slideshow together! And if you have the ubiquitous Apple iPad… Some of the programs will let you add music too. You can even make your screensaver into a slideshow, like an electronic picture frame. you can buy inexpensive software that offers lots of options too. The same stuff the professionals use if you wish. I’ll leave the research to you.

This is about telling stories. You can do it with a slideshow, you can print several pictures and hang them together on the wall, you can make a coffee table book (yes you can! Imagine sending a book to Aunt Minerva in Florida with pictures of your kids, your cottage, your lake!). I’ll give you some links on the web version of this article to help you get started. One thing: if you do a slide show, nobody notices the flaws in any given picture, it’s part of the story. But in a book? Uncle Sal will be taking out his magnifying glass and poring over the pictures.



Here are some of the same pictures from last week, from our loon-shooting excursion at the end of September. This time, I'm organizing them into a story sequence.


The four of us went out with Mike on a three hour cruise
(Have to tell him to rename his boat, the "SS Minnow". If you don't get the reference, Google "Gilligan's Island").
We saw a loon and her 3-month old chick (let's assume it's a 'her' and a 'him').
Although the chick can feed himself, she still did it for him, diving down to pick up a grub or a minnow and feeding him with it.


She also showed him how to dry his feathers and strengthen his wing muscles for flight.He practiced for a bit.


Then she showed him how to fly. After a few abortive attempts, the youngster actually managed to take off, and you can see that he succeeded as he circled back aloft and disappeared into the distance.


This tells the story of that morning cruise much better than the one image could have. I will be assembling these into a few pages in my next coffee table book.

Check out Mike's website at Mike runs workshops and tours to view and shoot wildlife images all over Canada and elsewhere in the world!






So don’t just shoot one picture, shoot a bunch of them: near to far, wide to closeup, different expressions and scenes, and put them together for everyone to enjoy! Did I give you some ideas? Good, that’s what I’m here for!

PS: my workshop schedule is wide open for the fall/winter. I do small groups, so you choose the date! An inexpensive way to learn how to make better pictures! Check out the workshops here.

Links to FACzen Photography:
We teach you how to become a better photographer. And we sell fine art images. Please check us out at the links below.


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