Tell Your Little Story: Shining a Spotlight on the setting | Greensburg Photographer / by Andrea Moffatt

Welcome back to my Tell Your Little Story series! This is the second in a series that teaches you how to tell a story with multiple images. Last time, I showed you how you could work your angles to show your story from every possible perspective. You can read or reread that blog post here if you want to brush up. 

Another aspect of perspective is how much of the scene you let your viewer see. So often, we fixate on our kids and fill our frame with their adorable faces. As a mom, I get it! I could take close-ups all day. Their little round cheeks and sweet profiles... their long lashes. See? I'm doing it right now! They suck us in with their cuteness. But when you are trying to tell a story, the setting is as big a character as the people in it. Give it some of the spotlight too!

Take a look at these photos I took on a recent blustery walk in our city.

The story was about many things. My kids exploring the city in their capes, of course, but also how on the onset of fall, we fought the wind, and about the joy of simple, no-frills exploration. I showed exploration by shooting my little train chasers from behind, looking through the holes in the fence. There's a break in the images of my children where I shot up at the sky. I could take those out, but they round the story out and show the unmistakable fall sky. When you see the final images of my youngest with his cape uncontrollably flapping around him, you understand it's because of the weather, unique to this season of the year.

Just as a writer fleshes out the setting with sensory and time details, when you are showing the setting, be sure to include....

  • Wide shots of the indoor or outdoor space
  • The weather
  • The time
  • How your subjects relate to the scene (are they tiny compared to their surroundings or are they a force to be reckoned with?)

Now it's your turn! Try telling a little story where the setting gets it's much deserved time in the spotlight.