10 Visual Storytelling Techniques
There’s no doubt that visual storytelling is important in the digital world that takes up hours of our day. Whether a content creator, business owner, or blogger, it seems almost everyone needs to know how to create impactful visual stories to get the bigger message across to their respective audiences. Below are 10 techniques to take your visual storytelling to the next level.
Technique #1: Plan and schedule your story beforehand
Planning is the key to creating anything great. What is the purpose of telling the story in a visual way? Who are you telling the story to? When you’re clear about the Why and Who, creating a storyline and a shooting schedule becomes much easier.
Technique #2: Pick a single subject or theme
It’s tempting to cover everything under the sun about a topic but try narrowing down on one subject or theme. Instead of covering all coffee shops in X city, pick a particular type of coffee shop – those with great interior design, historic features or an alcoholic coffee special. This provides more depth into a specific subject and a story with an interesting point of view!
Technique #3: Use multiple images to tell a story
The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is accurate and content creators should always strive to attain this. However, adding multiple images to create a holistic representation of your story can also be a strong visual storytelling technique.
For example, on our Vizzit storytelling platform, users can either create one ‘place’ consisting of a photo, audio recording and text or they can create a series of ‘places’ that together culminate into a self-guided tour. Together multiple images can provide more depth and context to a central theme.
Technique #4: Choose a color scheme
Colors and hues can affect our mood and desirability of something. Warm hues in your visuals can create an inviting, happy feeling while cool tones can create a more peaceful or mysterious scene.
For example, it’s very common for movies to alter their colors to create a cohesive visual story. Fight Club is a famous movie that makes good use of dark shadows and blue hues to aid with the story – its cold, depressing and mysterious.
Technique #5: Find the perfect lighting
Just like color or hue, the type of light in your visual story is also important. If you’re creating a story about a neighborhood, what does the light look like at that time of day you shoot? Will there be shadows or blinding sun? Are you searching for sun flare effects or are you looking for a nightscape? These are all visual storytelling techniques that can affect the atmosphere, color and vibrancy of your images.
Technique #6: Segment your image into thirds
The way that your image is arranged can enhance your visuals and aid in telling the story. Based on the rule of thirds (where you divide your image into a grid of nine imaginary sections) the main item should be where the sections intersect. For example, you can have the item, let’s say a building, on the bottom one third of the image and the two thirds of the image above the building is blue sky. The viewer’s eye will naturally be drawn to the building rather than the sky.
Technique #7: Use leading lines
Leading lines can either be actual lines in an image or the arrangement of objects that resemble a line. A road in between two lanes of trees with a person at the end of the road is an example of leading lines. Either side of the road (the “lines”) start wide at the bottom of the photograph and lead your sight “deeper” in the photo. This use of leading lines creates an interesting composition and draws the viewer’s eyes to your focal point: the person.
Technique #8: Use interesting perspectives
Think about how you can use different perspectives to enhance your visual storytelling. If everyone photographs a place or an item from one specific angle, find another! Everyone has seen a wine glass before, but an in-focus red wine glass on the ground with a blurred-out background of green grapevines is different. This type of image can evoke excitement and illustrate where this particular wine came from.
Technique #9: Sometimes less is more
Visual storytelling can be enhanced through use of ‘negative space’. This is when an image leaves space around the object, person or place. Rather than trying to cram multiple focuses and objects into one image, focus on one aspect to avoid overwhelming the audience.
Technique #10: Add text or audio
Visual stories don’t have to be strictly visual! It’s normal to add some type of caption, text or audio to supplement images or video. If viewers are intrigued with your visuals, they’ll want to learn a little bit more about the who, what, where, when and why!