Photo Essay

A photo is basically a photograph. It is also a capture of a moment. An essay is a piece of writing which is short on a certain subject. What is a photo essay? A photo essay can be defined as a piece of writing which is short on a certain subject about a captured moment. Meaning, it is a description of what the photo is trying to communicate. In other words, it is telling the story behind a photograph. A mixture of art and journalism is involved in the making of a photo essay.  A photo provides the story, theme, and emotions for the essay. There are two types of photographic essays – narrative and thematic. A narrative photographic essay tells a story in a logical order whereas, a thematic photographic essay priorities a central theme. There are 5 essential elements in a photo essay. The elements of a photo essay are:

  • The story
  • A range of photos
  • The order of the photos
  • Information and emotion
  • Captions

The first element explains that the essay should be able to stand alone without support from other materials and make sense to the audience. The second element is about the importance of having many photos that are different such as wide angle, detailed, portraits, etc.. The order of the photos should be in a logical order, following the story. The fourth element explains that the photos should have both informational and emotional photos. The final element is captions. Captions are basically the essay part of the photo essay. Captions are used to narrate the situation in words and make sure the audience understand the story.

Works Cited:

Bauerart, Mrs. “The Photographic Essay.” The Photographic Essay. N.p., 28 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2016.


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