Storytelling with Colie James

What is lifestyle photography?  How can I tell a story with an image? How do you shoot a story with more than one image with a storyboard?  How do I share my work online? In Telling Stories with Colie James, all of these questions and more are answered with in-depth examples, challenging exercises and rich feedback. Shoot, shoot, and reshoot. Develop the story by revision upon revision, just like if you were to write an essay. When writing, you go back and revise; and with a really strong image in mind, it turns out that you do the same thing in photography. Sure there are those moments that we grab snapshots of all the time, unique one-time moments. There are also the everyday moments that occur over and over, so why not take that chance to hone in on just the right shot that you can say, YES!

Take this example. We were asked to take a snapshot of something. I took this shot of my two kids watching the iPad on the couch because I love their feet together. My younger son really cuddles up to his big brother, especially with his feet. Here is the snapshot, straight out of camera. Toys are in the way, lighting is kind of blah, feet aren’t exactly cuddly, but it is the start.

So I took several steps to try to improve it. Tried a different room even. But decided with Colie’s help that the living room was the spot. That is where they always watch the iPad together.

And, I went back to the living room, but here the angle isn’t quite improving the image. My older son’s legs and feet appear too long. I was shooting with a wide lens, 35mm.

So I went back to the straight on shot, moving the coffee table out of view to put the emphasis on their feet. Much better.

And since I was having so much fun, I tried a bird’s eye view, which I really love as well. Moving from snapshot to art, just with a bit of rewriting!

Once I nailed that shot, I moved on to the kitchen, shooting everyday to get that shot that made me say, YES!!!

Here is another example of taking a snapshot to a more powerful image.

Exercises in Colie’s workshop include shooting a Day in the Life, shooting out and about, creating storyboards, finishing with a storytelling session for  a friend or client. Weekly feedback comes in very well laid out customized PDFs with your images included, in addition to daily feedback on the forum.

Last but not least, Colie stays in touch! She organized a collaborative blog for all of us called The Stories We Tell. Here are a couple of images I have contributed this fall.

Of course, we all have photographers that we admire, and there is something to be learned from all of them. Colie has a ton to teach. She is enthusiastic, diligent, and constructive. She knows her stuff! I love channeling my inner Colie sometimes when I am out shooting, such as this shot of the kids together by the shore. I am so happy to have her connection and continued friendship.

We all have  a story to tell; one that is compelling to others. Colie shows you how, and at the end, you will say , hey I made that!!!






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