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Intentional storytelling: a hamlet in the Valle d’Aosta

Here is the first series of photos that I deliberately shot as a visual story.* It is from last year’s summer, when we stayed in a hamlet called Les Combes, a higher part of the village of Introd in the Valle d’Aosta (Italian Alps). The hamlet was situated on a steep slope of a forested hill overlooking the Aosta Valley, with spectacular views on the southern part of the Mont Blanc massif. The place was nicely maintained without being too manicured. Perfect for trying out some visual storytelling.

The visual story below is the result of a short evening stroll from our little cottage at the edge of the hamlet. The idea of a visual story is to show the subject in a variety of ways with the intention of telling a meaningful story about that subject. This can be achieved by taking different perspectives and playing with different compositions, for example, a mix of overview and detail shots. In a good visual story, there is no need for so-called “hero” shots, the typical in-your-face, awe-inspiring photos that social media are populated with and that are merely intended to draw the viewer’s attention. Instead, all photos need to complement each other, thereby strengthening the story. This means that you need to make a good selection of the many photos you may have shot. Moreover, the selected photos need to be edited in such a way that they have a similar look in terms of color, contrast, and other visual properties that determine the overall atmosphere.

The hamlet of Les Combes in the Aosta Valley (Italian Alps). All shots were taken with the Fuji X-Pro3 and Fujinon XF14mm lens.

Not sure if I have succeeded in balancing the different ingredients of a good visual story here. For example, I wish my series had a better mix of landscape- and portrait-oriented shots. I am also not sure about the editing of the first shot: the color balance in the sky seems a bit off and, for some reason, I can’t get it completely right in post-processing.

Anyway, visual storytelling stimulates me to critically reflect on my photos, which definitely helps to hone just about every aspect of my photographic skills.

*The photos in my previous two posts were not shot with the goal of telling a visual story. I believe that intentional storytelling, from the actual shooting to the culling and editing of your photos, is a great way to improve your photographic skills and stimulate creativity.


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