People love photos in blog posts. They cross language barriers and work hard to enhance any written piece. Images do much more than just show what a place looks like. They lead readers through emotions and textures of an experience. If you enjoy reading the Looptail, you’re likely familiar with a common style of post we call a Visual Adventure.
Here are some tips for creating your own beautiful and compelling Visual Adventure.
It’s not about you
The best way to make someone feel like they are right there in the photo is to take you out of it. Look at it from the reader’s point of view; they already know you went there, so aside from one or two pictures, the post should be about the place, not you. Rarely will you find photos of the photographers in Visual Adventures posts.
Set it up
Most Visual Adventures here on Looptail start with a paragraph or two to help set the scene. A little background is always nice and helps direct the reader, especially if you have picked a specific subject instead of a whole country. Beyond that, photo captions are all that are needed to clue readers in on specifics.
Show some emotion
A postcard shot or two is okay in establishing a location (such as a photo of the Himalayas) but after that, make sure you images describe something about the location and connect with your reader. Show us the atmosphere of the location, (and I don’t mean a photo of you and your friends doing a jump-shot outside the bar. Show us the bar’s grit, with its dim lights or a blurred shot of the dance floor. Put the viewer in the photo.
Know what you want to say
Decide what you want to portray about your experience. Selecting just eight images to describe a month in North America is hard enough, so think about what your images say. How wacky was the Corn Palace in South Dakota? How majestic and wide open were the High Sierras in California? What about the chaos of New Orleans or the hike you took around Lake Tahoe? Some great examples can be found here:
- National Parks of the Canadian Rockies by Genevieve Hathaway
- Animals of the Arctic by Stu Darnley
- Jordan’s Natural and Man-Made Wonders by Jeremy Jones
- National Parks of Utah by Peter West Carey
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Japan by Gary Arndt
Keep a list
I keep lists when I travel. They keep me sane and help me not forget my toothbrush or underwear (both of which have happened at different times, before lists). That is why I suggest a list method to capturing photos while on a trip. The iOS app, My Shot List is really effective at helping you with this, making it easy to track and categorize photos. For more thoughts here, check out a post I wrote for Tuts+ called 21 Essential Shots You Should Capture On Your Next Trip.
Edit it down
This part can be a killer when starting out because you probably have a personal and emotional attachment to most of your photos. Get tough, though. Cherry pick the best images you believe your readers will like best, not the ones you like best. Less really can be more.
Give it a try and share with us
I’d like to see what you come up with for your own Visual Adventure. Show us something new – something that helps us connect with a location, or takes us on an adventure in the short space of less than a dozen photos. Share a link to your post in the comment selection below and I will be happy to take a look. Good luck!