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  • Create Date 2021-08-05
  • Last Updated 2021-08-08

Documentary photographer's field guide (EN)

 

Are you starting out as a documentary / reportage photographer and looking for advice on how to approach the genre? Do you struggle which image types to shoot or which ones to pick afterwards? If yes, you came to the right place.

I once was in the same situation as you are. I've photographed a bunch of projects within the last years. After having shot the first one, I've digged deeper and found some storytelling concepts that apply to (documentary) photography (as well). Originally for myself, I've created this "field guide" for creating appealing photo essays. It's nothing new at all and you will find everything online if you are looking in the places. It's rather the essence I've extracted, complemented with some general advice.

Now I've decided to publish my personal field guide. I hope it will help some photographers improving their output level. Maybe you will be one of them. If so, let me know in some way or another.

The field guide is a PDF file being designed to be printed (DIN A4), folded (to DIN A5), laminated and live in your camera bag forever. Space is limited. To fit as much information as possible and comply with the aforementioned use case, it is very undecorated. It isn't made to impress, but to function as an useful tool for storytelling.

Furthermore you may find some examples of the image types mentionend in the "LIFE formula" in one of my blog posts. Right now, my blog posts are written in german language, but you will at least be able to find the images and relate them correctly as I have used the english terms in the paragraph headlines. For more, you may consider using a tool like the google translator. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Also, if you have found a major concept that is missing in my guide or if you have any question, please let me know.

My personal inspiration, the legend himself:

"I'm not an artist. An artist makes an object. Me, it's not an object, I work in history, I’m a storyteller."

Sebastião Salgado