Last week, I was privy to a content report that was shared by one of the clients whom we represent. The assignment was to review and approve before distribution to relevant media houses.

The report included a storyline summary and a set of photographs showcasing an ongoing sponsored brand campaign. Lacking however, were captions and much more content that would have provided a complete picture of what the client probably wanted to portray.

It got me and my colleagues critiquing the material at hand, particularly the selected photos and even the story angle.

We wondered what other angle on which to pitch the story to our media partners and editors. After brainstorming we agreed none was evident enough to draw attention and the quality of the photos prevented any suggestions of submitting a caption story as an alternative.

In communications, we always try to achieve the ‘so what factor.’ Why should the target audience, readers in print or followers on social media care?

We ask ourselves, what stands out in the story for the reader to pick out new information or inspiration or both so that this particular content matters to them?

Story telling is a very instrumental art that helps paint the perfect setting for the reader to envision and fit right into the narrative. Captions are also an integral part of a story that should help the viewer appreciate each image even better.

Using photography as a medium in communication is both an art and a science. It demands the story teller’s technical skill with the camera and an eye for the dramatic. So much so that contemporary photojournalism is a highly respected specialty.

There is the immersive, long-form journalism where a photographer has embedded themselves into a place, often returning over and over for years, to the quick reaction of a photographer who happens to find themselves in the right location when an explosive event takes place.

The work of a photographer is to enhance the viewer’s understanding of the crucial news stories shaping our world – this is an insight into how some of these stories are made.

Both print and social media are tools that story tellers i.e. writers, bloggers and influencers use to publish their work effortlessly. This art in advance demands a director’s eye (bird’s eye view) with the main aim of executing a series of visual images that will communicate the story easily.

The photo/s is the canvas where this is all achieved. The direction can vary from a profile feature of a persona (biography), charity event, social event and so on; you name it – photography done well, will polish up even the most basic and boring setting.

In short, the objective of this article is to bring to the table the much needed responsibility when attempting to use photography as a medium of communication.

As I conclude, it’s advisable as communication experts, to share a refresher course with our clients to achieve the required demands and objectives for each work related activity.

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