Implying a story in your photo-shoots is a powerful way to grab attention and it doesn’t take a lot of work!

With one trip to the dollar store this simple shoot with Katherine turned into a whimsical story about a birthday party for one.

The eye catching colors pull you in, while the suggestion of a lonely birthday for one lets the viewer get to create a story of their own.

Model is Katherine Franco.

Several years later I did a test shoot on Michelle’s birthday, Michelle is the model in the black top and white hat, so with props in hand we planned this series of nine images about a story about a birthday not going as planned! These two girls pulled it off magically and since we knew exactly the direction we were going to go, with bad to worse we decided it was well worth ruining cupcakes AND make-up for the shots! Models are Lindsey and Michelle.

Don’t have any props to tell a story? Don’t let that get you down, for this shoot the models pretended to play with props that I planned to hand-sketch in later using a Wacom Intuous Pro. I wanted to imply the imaginary game of catching fairies in a moon-lit field. Digital tools like Adobe Creative Cloud can be great story-telling tools!  Models are Jasmine & Kianna.

The stories you create don’t have to be cutesy and fun, they can be perfectly morbid to grab attention!

A great way to do that is to combine two elements that don’t belong together at all like the idea of gasoline being poured onto hair and skin!

For this shoot we filled a new gasoline can with water (safety first) and had her pour it onto herself like an eighties glamor shot!

Using the brightest, most neon clothes in her wardrobe to drive home the nostalgic nod to vintage glam!

Model is Sammie.

Photographers can also imply a story by paying homage to classic art. Especially when it’s as famous as something like Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic, which has now fully entered into pop culture lexicon. Playing on old themes is a great way to imply a new story!

Models for the photograph are Sam & Jillian

Make a story with your camera and come share your photo stories with us!

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Words & Photography on this post & Photography Guide by Jake Garn.