A great photo essay can preserve—and enhance—subjects as wide-ranging as the first year of your niece's life, your trip to the coast, or your region's fall foliage. Whether you're preserving the memory of a special day or attempting a more artistic statement, a photo essay can help turn your images into a powerful story. The right tips and equipment can help.
• Find a great topic. Take time to choose the topic that will bring your photos together. If the topic doesn't fire your imagination—or at least kindle your affection for family and friends—your essay is likely to feel ordinary. Keep your options open by choosing a camera versatile enough to capture all kinds of images—indoors and out, up close and far away, impromptu and composed—such as the Smart Camera WB800F.
• Prepare, but don't overplan. It's helpful to start with some idea of the arc your photo essay will take, or of the elements of an event that you want to focus on—but you shouldn't let your plans keep you from exploring the unexpected. Adhering too strictly to a predefined outline can make your essay feel like more like a courtroom exhibit than an engaging work of art. Instead, let the images dictate the direction your essay takes.
• Use words strategically. Text can be a helpful accompaniment to your images, but don't rely on it to convey the emotional impact of your story, unless you want your images to serve as mere illustration. A surplus of words can distance the viewer from the images by insisting on a particular interpretation, rather than encouraging a closer look. Especially if you're not an avid writer, keep the captions to a minimum. Your images should be the star of the show.
• It's all (or mostly) in the details. One advantage of a photo essay is that it freezes moments for your friends and family—or the whole Internet—to savor. The more your photos reward extended viewing, the more engaged your audience will be. The Smart Camera WB800F's 16M BSI CMOS sensor helps you capture minute details even by moonlight. And 21x long zoom gives you great freedom to zero in on emotional nuances such as your son's smile.
• Provide context. Making sure your images are understood in relation to one another is a key challenge of photo essays. Nothing establishes context better than a well-chosen image. For an essay about a single event, for example, you might start with a panorama of the whole setting—the Smart Camera WB800F's 23mm wide-angle lens is fantastic for such shots—and then focus on more intimate moments.
• Be quick. Your photo essay's impact depends on your ability to capture great moments as they happen. You won't be able to do so if you're fiddling with your camera to make sure all the settings are perfect. Choose a camera like the Smart Camera WB800F that won't slow you down. Its Hybrid Touch User Interface and 3.0" hVGA display give you immediate control over almost all your settings.
• Share your work. Your essay won't amount to much if no one sees it, or if it's presented in a way that undermines the care you put into creating it. The Smart Camera WB800F makes transferring and sharing your photos easy with built-in Wi-Fi and Direct Link.* And you shouldn't have to worry about losing the perfect shot, thanks to AutoShare, which forwards your shots to your compatible smartphone.
Even the greatest artists need time to master an unfamiliar form. Once you've shared your photo essay, ask a friend or two for constructive criticism. Your first attempt might not be a masterpiece, but with the right camera, a thoughtful approach, and some perseverance, you'll find yourself making knockout photo essays before long.
*Internet connection required. Data and subscription charges may apply.