The Power of Prints: How to Shoot for the Story

It’s no secret that photographs are incredibly powerful. They give us the ability to see people, places, and things that may be long gone, and they provide a link to the past that might otherwise be completely lost.

FundyAs a photographer, you give your clients the amazing opportunity to capture moments in time forever. But, according to Andrew “Fundy” Funderburg, simply taking photos isn’t enough.

We had the opportunity to chat with Fundy about his newest crusade: The Power of Print and Storytelling. The campaign’s goal is to get photographers to see the importance of creating a story with imagery and methods for keeping those moments alive.

 

The “Me” Generation

It’s a reality many of us come to as we move to the next place in our lives: getting married, having children, watching parents or family members getting older. These events tend to remind us that the moments we have together are fleeting. “When people are gone, all that we have left of them are their stories,” says Fundy. “My kids are getting older, my parents are getting older, some of my grandparents have passed away. Photos are all we have left.”

In a world dominated by the selfie, Fundy believes that our generation is the first one that is in jeopardy of failing to pass their stories on to the next generation. “People think, ‘Oh, it’s on Facebook, it’s in the Cloud.’ But none of that will matter in 30 years. Prints are the vehicles that we can use to retell stories and retell the happenings of people’s lives. They’re tangible, physical reminders.”

“We’re so much about the ‘me’ generation these days,” Fundy says. He points out that people focus on doing things for themselves (taking snapshots, storing images on their phones, uploading to personal social media accounts) much more today than they ever used to. “We have to realize that if anything happens to us, everything we have saved for ‘me’ is gone.”

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For Photographers: Learn How to Tell Stories

The number one thing photographers should be doing, Fundy coaches, is focusing on becoming better storytellers. “Truly tell your clients’ stories,” he says. “Communicate the power of prints to your clients. Become better at crafting beautiful timelines for them. And then structure your business so that storytelling helps you turn a profit from it.

There three basic parts to the structure of storytelling are pretty simple. But it’s HOW photographers use them that makes the difference:

  1. The beginning: the first 25% of the story. Introduce the characters, the location, and what’s happening in the scene.  This is where, Fundy advises, you show portraits of the bride and groom or closeups of the food and decorations. You’re setting the scene for what’s to come.
  2. The middle: the rising action or the build up to some peak of emotion. Fundy suggests coming up with this specific moment and building anticipation around it. Is it the kiss at the ceremony? The couple’s first dance on the dance floor? The bride and groom exiting the church?
  3. The end: after the peak. Here, Fundy explains, your job is to bring the viewer down emotionally.  Close with a pullback or a quiet moment shot. Think about that wide angle shot, where the bride and groom are just small specks in a huge setting. “You don’t end the Western movie at the shootout,” Fundy points out. “There’s the ride off into the sunset, the view of the entire landscape.”

To Fundy, each spread in an album or book is one small story.  “Imagine everything you shoot as a scene,” he says. “The bride putting her lipstick on: that’s the main image. Then you need people WATCHING the bride put her lipstick on, that’s the rest of the scene.” He suggests using one photo as the main image and then having has accent images to finish off the story of the focus photo.

“If you keep all of this in mind when you’re shooting, you can tell an amazing story in print,” he explains. This, in turn, builds an emotional connection for your clients, and you begin building your business on the fundamentals of providing your clients a story of their lives. “You can’t do that with a USB of digital files.”

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For Everyone: Make Printing Easy

Fundy’s message goes beyond our industry. “People don’t realize what they’re losing!” he says emphatically. He believes strongly in educating everyone, not just photographers who are trying to support their businesses, about the power of print.

Taking photos these days is quick and easy, but having them printed takes a lot more thought. “It can be incredibly overwhelming to think about when you have thousands of photos,” Fundy admits. First, he says, go back in time to remind yourself why those tattered old prints are special. “Go back to your parents’ house and pull out those shoeboxes full of photos. Look through them and remember how they make you feel, why they’re important.”

Fundy recommends purchasing a small printer dedicated to mobile photo printing. “I have one that I spent about a hundred bucks on. It prints 4x6s right from the phone,” Fundy explains. “I use it for travel. I’ll take photos when I’m at cool places or when I’m out with fellow photographers, and print them right there and give everyone a copy. It’s totally worth it.”

Besides loose prints, Fundy reminds everyone, not just photographers, to make albums or photo books. “You can design a photo book for under twenty bucks these days,” he says. Of course, he’s partial to his own Design Studio, but Fundy points out that many of the mainstream photo printing websites allow you to quickly and easily make a book of photos that requires very little planning.

“Make an iPhone book! Take photos when you’re at an event or a special occasion. Right when you get home, download the photos, order the book, straight from your phone– even if it’s not that awesome. The design, the layout, none of that matters. When you’re dead and gone your kids won’t care. All they care about is being able to touch the pages and remember you.”

So, remember your role. Educate clients about why prints are important. Offer them the opportunity to have their photos printed, whether it’s a simple reminder after a session or the option to use a professional lab through your galleries. Be the one who inspires love and delivers memories through visual stories and the prints and albums you give.

Want to learn more about storytelling in photography? Catch Fundy on Creative Live.

Not using ShootProof’s integrated lab-fulfillment? Start your free trial now, and offer clients prints, canvas, metals, and more, directly through their galleries.

 

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