How to Tell a Story Using Images

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How does one tell a story without words?

1363842: Do You Want To Know A Secret ? photograph by George Douglas 1951

Throughout human history, stories have moved through a variety of mediums. One of the most popular is words.

A well-written story can captivate one’s imagination for years to come. It can simmer and grow in one’s mind. Yet this is not the only way to effectively tell a story.

Images have been telling stories for centuries. Even early humans, through the use of cave paintings, told stories.

Learning how to tell a story through images can be hard. Words allow for a more direct interpretation as opposed to images.

However, images have one advantage over words in the realm of storytelling. Images will stay with a viewer longer than mere words on a page. This in fact is how an art form like cinema can grow and evolve.

Crucial storytelling elements are evident in images around the world. One just has to know how to spot them.

The beauty of telling a story through images lies in its creativity. One can use whatever techniques one wants to tell their story.

Here are four ways to tell your story using images.


Imagine watching a three-hour-long art film that minimally uses dialogue. At first, this can be jarring, dialogue is a crucial aspect of storytelling, correct?

Flash forward a few hours later. This art film has somehow told a beautiful story mostly through images.

Filmmakers have known for quite some time that images are powerful storytelling tools. The right image can move an audience to tears or fill them with anger.

Everyone has a video camera that can fit in their palms nowadays. This means that visual storytelling has greatly increased in recent years.

For instance, posting a video of one’s walk to work on Instagram is a visual story. It does not need to have classical storytelling elements or be complex. It is still a story either way.

Though it is one of the most common methods of visual storytelling, it remains one of the most effective as well.

Digital Art

Think about how far digital art has come in the past 20 years or so. It evolved from MS Paint to Adobe illustrator. Even the most basic digital art is an example of this evolution.

For instance, a meme can tell a humorous story in one panel. This meme will then get shared with millions of people around the world. All the while changing due to other people’s input.

In essence, digital art is an ever-evolving form of visual storytelling. Even the basic storytelling elements morph in the digital realm. Narratives can live in a single image or a series of them.

There is also an increased level of collaboration involved in digital art. The use of stock images or templates is all a form of collaboration. This is why digital art is becoming one of the most personal art forms.

Who knows what form digital art will take next? For all one knows it may change the very definition of a visual story. One thing that is a certainty is that it will never stop evolving.

This ability is what makes digital art so special.


Most feature-length films get to a point in pre-production where they use storyboards.

This is smart practice as it can lay out a story shot for shot. Before the cameras begin to roll, the creative team already knows how it should look.

Storyboarding applies to more than just cinema. It can tell a complete story in and of itself.

Even a storyboard with less than stellar art can tell a well-crafted story. Believe it or not, simple stick figures can tell a complex tale in storyboarding.

Who says storytellers have to use expensive equipment? All one needs to storyboard is a pencil and some paper. There is no need to be fancy, people can feel a quality story through a single panel.


A professional photographer had to tell a story about the destruction of the ocean. She could only tell this story through images.

She racked her brain on how to do this. Should she take a bunch of pictures of destroyed coral reefs? Should she find a beach full of litter and take photos of it?

Eventually, she decided to do all the above and more. By creating a slide show of all her images she told a powerful story about the ruin of the ocean.

Photography has a unique way of getting an audience’s attention. Some images are so evocative that they seem to speak.

Using photography to tell a visual story is never a bad idea. The unspoken words that move through the image will jump into a viewer’s mind.

No matter what camera or editing software one uses, the image can speak for itself. For an added amount of impact, a well-put-together collage or slideshow is very effective.

The power contained in a single or series of still images is massive. A fun challenge is to base a story around a single still image. This is much easier than one might think.

Add a dose of creativity and one can craft an entire complex visual story. One still image can cause a story to touch the hearts and minds of others.

This ability is why photography is one of the greatest storytelling mediums.

How To Tell a Story

Telling a visual story takes large amounts of creativity and imagination.

While there are numerous mediums one can use, one must find how to tell a story in the way that works best for them.

Photography is a great medium to use. It is powerful and can leave a lasting impact on people.

The use of a collage is a great place to start. One can throw all their ideas on the page and see a story form before their very eyes.

The use of still photos gives your story an added kick. TopFoto is the perfect website to find images of quality. One can choose from numerous exclusive collections and a giant archive.

It’s time to tell your visual story. Take a look through TopFoto and find the right image for it today.


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