While there are no "rules" that you must follow in order to create your photo documentary the following are a few guidelines and suggestions.
When creating a photo documentary always keep in mind that you are trying to tell a story through pictures. For this scholarship, photo skills are not as important as how clearly the story is told in 12 to 20 images. That doesn’t mean that photo skills are not taken into consideration. For example, if there are two stories being considered for the award, if one has better quality photos that may determine the final outcome. But to get to the finalist position the story must be clear and well told by the photos.
When photographing your project create as many images as you feel are necessary, keeping in mind that you will need to choose 12 to 20 to clearly tell your story, with more not necessarily being better. If you can tell your entire story in 12 photos, then don’t feel you need to pad it with 8 more.
Try to get the viewer to feel what you feel, to see what you see. If you’re documenting the town you live in, try to give the viewer a feeling of what it’s like to be there. If you’re documenting a friends illness, try to help the viewer understand how you feel when you visit them in the hospital, or even better, how your friend feels. Get the viewer to want to donate money to cancer research!
Use your essay to fill in the gaps and help the viewer better understand the meaning and importance of your essay.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Never repeat yourself. Each image should be unique.
- Each image should have a purpose for being in the story, even if it is only a transition to the next series of images.
- Try not to lose your direction. You have a story to tell, don’t meander.
- Place your photos in an exact order that leads the viewer to understand what you are trying to say.
- Make a statement with your photos.