A photo essay is a way to tell a story. It can be a narrative, a thematic, or a simple collection of images. Photo essays can also be used to evoke emotion. They are an excellent tool to bring up issues that often go unnoticed.
One of the most important factors in a good photo essay is the quality of the photos. The first image should establish the subject and hook the viewer. This is especially true if the photo essay is a narrative. You should also include close ups to illustrate details.
Having an objective viewpoint is important. When editing, don’t make a mistake of cutting out pictures that don’t contribute to the narrative. Instead, take several passes over a day or two to narrow down the selection.
Another important part of a photo essay is portraiture. In many cases, photographers spend hours and hours capturing an individual’s portrait. For instance, Gordon Parks spent weeks documenting the life of a boy in a Rio de Janeiro favela. His photographs were so strong that they persuaded the editors at the magazine to print a full ten-page spread.
Lastly, a good photo essay contains a closing picture that offers a resolution to the story. As with the opening and climax, the closure is a powerful piece that leaves a lasting impression.
To create a successful photo essay, you need to have a clear vision and have the passion to produce it. Research your subject thoroughly. If you know your subject well, you will be able to tell a better story.