Friday, 2 October 2015

Photo Stories

The MADE Awards provide many exciting creative learning opportunities. This year I trained a mixed group of creative and talented kids in photography storytelling, using iPads. We were going to enter the new category in the MADE Awards; The Photo Essay. The Photo Essay is storytelling with photos (between 4 and 7).  The judging criteria were:
  • Demonstrate good photography techniques and composition.
  • Have a visual impact on the viewer – grab attention.
  • Have a relationship and a flow between the elements.
  • Being combined into a collage and saved as one image file.
  • Containing between 4 and 7 photographs.
  • Telling a clear, compelling story, or illustrate an emotion, event, or key competency.

Each of the four lessons started with discussions about our photography tips, we looked at images in google and discussed them. After a topic brainstorm, they would spend the majority of the time creating a photo story in small groups (one ipad per group). The last 15 minutes each group shared their photos and we discussed them in relation to our photography tips. Rule of Thirds was part of every discussion: did you know you can turn on a rule of thirds grid on the iPad?

Some kids really got into coaching good emotion for the camera. Lastly, they edited their photos with the iPad camera function and used Pic Collage app to present them as a narrative.

Our photography tips:

  • Rule of Thirds: the rule for taking powerful photographs.
  • Light: keep it to your back - keep light levels even.
  • Background: check what's in your backgrounds - does it affect your photo's message?
  • Camera angle: try different angles for effect.
  • Get in close: can provide impact.
  • Point of interest: make the main part of the photo stand out.
  • Make message clear!
  • EXPERIMENT!

These are their final entries into the MADE Awards Photo Essay competition. 


Students planned their photo narratives using this graphic organiser I made up; feel free to use and modify it.


I plan to use photo storytelling next term with my whole class and develop it into writing. Have you had any good experiences using photography to teach?