How To Tell Stories Through Photography

February 26, 2013

Let’s talk about telling stories with photos for your blog posts and how to approach it. I shared the Le Dans La blog with you in 2011 (here), but today I thought we could again visit French stylist, Aurélie Lecuyer, who is the lady behind Le Dans La. It is so fascinating to look into her life mostly because her photography is so captivating — her images draw me in. I like how she leaves her home “as is” and shoots scenes that feel very natural and soothing. I’m sure she styles these photos to look imperfectly perfect, she is a stylist with over 8 years of freelance experience after all, but the overall impression is that she is not looking to portray her life as perfect. She is truly comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t need to be anything more than herself and she does this through the art of visual storytelling which really is that – an ART.

How To Tell Stories Through Photography

How To Tell Stories Through Photography

I think we will start to see more and more blogs perfecting this art of what I call portraying imperfection in an elegant, artistic way. This could be a new blogging trend – maybe even for books? Wouldn’t that be nice? I think too many blogs are trying to mimic magazine photography and create flawless magazine-perfect blog posts (and stress themselves out if they are not as good) but I think we should chill out a little. It’s best to find your own style and then work to make it the best that you can. Really become skilled in your craft. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart, Sweet Paul or that blogger who takes photographs for a living and who makes her life seem perfect – you can be YOU and do YOUR personal best. You just may find a really lovely response to your body of work by being natural because honestly, our individuality is the only thing we’ve got when it comes to separating us from the pack. Only you can be the best YOU. No one else. Who can copy you then? Look at the world’s top trend setters and even the trend setters in the blogging world. Aren’t they really just being themselves in the end and that is drawing in their crowds of fans? Being yourself after you have worked diligently to make yourself a really good person with talents others admire, is a very HARD thing to rip off or repackage. Trust me.

Okay so let’s talk more about photo stories. I love Aurélie’s blog because she doesn’t worry about perfectly placing objects but concentrates more on showing naturalness in her home life. She focuses on her angles and capturing light to lend a more storytelling quality to her photos. Light is a really good story teller because shadows and streams of sunlight and even the fading of light to dark can evoke emotions that stimulate the imagination. Think about this for a moment. Angles, in addition to light, are important too. Try taking photos on your stomach, at eye level, overhead, slightly above eye level, slightly below, laying on your back looking up… There are so many angles that can make a photo come alive. Try this: You are in a grassy field on a sunny day with huge puffy clouds floating above in a deep blue sky. Pull out your imaginary camera. Tell me how you would compose this shot? The first reaction for most people is to stand straight, bring their camera up to their eye, look through the viewfinder and compose the shot in landscape with the line of horizon separating sky from field. But how about kneeling down or lay down and shoot diagonally towards the sky? It is easy to forget how to tell stories when our focus is just on being magazine-perfect. I’ve been on professional photo shoots – a magazine can spend an entire afternoon and walk away with 5 good photos for publication. How many of us who are blogging have time for that? Why not work more on telling stories with photos?

How To Tell Stories Through Photography
How To Tell Stories Through Photography

Think of what you want to say in a blog post and then challenge yourself to say it visually instead. Maybe you want to talk about typography and old-fashioned signage. Challenge yourself to go out for a day either on foot or in your car and stop to photograph ONLY store signs that have a retro vibe that you love. Such photos require little text to support their “story”, they are doing all of the talking for you and require no styling or super amazing photography skills. Just shoot them in ways that are interesting, consider your angles, and then when you are pulling together your blog post, you will see your story coming together very simply and casually thanks to your photos. Little text to support your story is really needed.

How To Tell Stories Through Photography
How To Tell Stories Through Photography

I’m learning more and more about storytelling through imagery in my film making classes and through all of the reading I’ve been doing about moving pictures. I’ve been applying this knowledge to other things in my life, such as my photography and I find it a great challenge. I really encourage you to find your photo style and give yourself a good push to try new things and to be a storyteller, too. MAKE A LITTLE MAGIC.

How To Tell Stories Through Photography
How To Tell Stories Through Photography

Let Aurélie inspire you through her blog, Le Dans La and her gorgeous website where you can find her portfolio. It’s all such an inspiration to me, I hope it fills you with good feelings today, too.

(photography: Aurélie Lecuyer)


  • Reply Lix Hewett February 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Great post! I found myself nodding along with a lot of it – I’ve been meaning to get more into blogging about my life and my hobbies, and as a photographer, it would be natural to let my photos do a lot of the talking for me. I’ve dabbled in fashion-blogging as well and I find that once my photos are up, I can come up with little to say that they don’t already. As a reader I love visuals, too – it’s one of the easiest, most effective ways to get a glimpse into a person’s life, metaphorically as well as literally speaking.

  • Reply Steffi February 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    A great post, Holly, this is really helpful! I guess that’s the essence of good blogging: to find your very own way. I’ll definitely try some different shoots.

  • Reply Ingrid Jansen February 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I’m a big fan of Le Dans La and love the style of Aurélie! Très très jolie!

  • Reply Naomi Jacob February 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I’m just learning photography and this was an absolutely timely reminder to be bold :)

    xo Naomi ? Be Ready Bravely

  • Reply Silkie February 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I have a degree in photography but it’s been about 10 years since I really took any photo’s (back in the days of film & darkrooms!) I’m finding taking photo’s for my blog is really starting to re-light that fire! And you are so right about not trying to be perfect..why would we want sterile over polished images! A photographer I think you would like,if you don’t know her already, is Sarah Moon, very poetic and filmic fashion photographer … i found this
    with thanks ,

    • Reply decor8 February 26, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      @Silkie – Thank you so much – gorgeous!

  • Reply Katja/ Neovia house February 26, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for this helpful post! I am trying to learn photography for blogging purposes, and I recognize how easy it is to fall into that” trying to take the perfect polished photo”. It is good to know the basic techniques, but after that one should really just relax and shoot and express feelings trough the camera.

  • Reply Lauren February 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Beautifully written! Why is it so hard to remember to just be your best self? I don’t know, but I’m constantly reminding myself of that truth.

  • Reply janika R February 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    What a lovely post….and amazing advice. I am really facing trouble for taking good pictures for my blog posts and this post is very soothing to me..


  • Reply dawn February 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    hi holly,

    this is really the direction i would like my blog to go…i am trying to do it more often. if you have a quick minute, perhaps you would like to read this post i did about autumn…

    have a lovely day, dawn

  • Reply Giulia February 26, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Being yourself is what a true blog should be about – the photos you take and the stories you tell. I have not intention of telling someone else’s story – I style my food shots the way I like them and make them look the way that makes me happy and if others want to follow along with our journey then that’s great.
    have you read: Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life: How to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc… and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place- Mary Randolph Carter?

  • Reply Hanna February 27, 2013 at 3:51 am

    Love this, both the photography and your words :) Thanks

  • Reply Tracy February 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    A really sweet and helpful posts! Etsy talks about doing this, too, and I need to start incorporating this philosophy. A picture really IS worth a thousand words in this way! And hopefully, some readers or sales depending on what the goal is. Thanks for another great post!

  • Reply Ingrid February 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you for this great and inspiring post!

  • Reply christelle is flabbergasting March 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Oh I already love Aurelie’s blog! And I find your blogpost very inspiring and oh- so-true! Do you know the blog “Temps Files”? Same kind of spirit and “effortless yet beautiful” pictures: – Hope you’ll enjoy it!

    • Reply decor8 March 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      @Christelle – Thanks for the suggestion, never heard of that blog until now but wow, I just had a click over and fell in love. Thank you!

  • Reply lei March 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Great post Holly!

  • Reply Vero Palazzo March 10, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I’ve just loved this post! going to Aurelie’s blog!

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