The viewer's attraction to a picture display seems to be a natural human
response. Why are people attracted to TV and motion pictures? Perhaps it is
because the viewer has a sense of participation in the events taking place on
the screen. In many cases, the action is so realistic that the viewer becomes
c. Participation and emotional involvement is also true of the pictorial
narrative in picture magazines and in newspapers. There seems to be a strong
personal attraction that causes the reader to mentally participate and identify
himself with the action in the presentation.
The popularity of picture
magazines proves this theory. Today, the more progressive newspapers are using
an adapted pictorial narrative.
In all areas of modern photojournalism, the
picture story plays an increasingly important role.
Develop the idea. In most cases, stories develop from an idea. In your
case, the story and idea will probably be assigned to you, rather than coming
up with them yourself. However, you must know how to develop the story idea.
a. The idea includes a specific story topic conceived to appeal to the
Unlike a spot news item, the picture story is actually
designed to convey a message intended to appeal to the experiences and feeling
of large masses of people. However, you must take care to keep the idea within
For example, to make an in-depth photographic narrative
on the U.S. Army worldwide would require a lot of planning and a considerable
amount of time for execution.
Such a giant task may not be suitable for a
b. However, covering a specific area (such as one armor unit) would
reduce the complexity of the task. You may even reduce your effort further by
covering just one tank or person. Each of these steps down is designed to keep
your idea within workable limits. This first step in story development cannot
be taken lightly.
Keep in mind that you must plan your idea to stay within
Development of a theme. Most picture stories have a theme; that is, they
present an argument or idea with pictures that are logically related to each
other. Whenever possible, picture stories should feature a theme that directly
or indirectly reflects or supports one or more of the Army's missions or
The theme in a picture story can be recognized easily when it
conveys the idea intended when the story was in the planning stage.
planning will ensure that all the pictures relate so the idea can be developed.
a. The next step is research.
Become familiar with the background of
your subject and try to learn what can be expected in the future. Talk to the
Know what to expect on the scene so that you can plan your
By identifying key reader interests, you may reveal various lead
pictures. Research can open up an avenue of approach for execution.
b. The shooting script is the third step in developing your picture
A shooting script is a source of valuable information.
specify camera angles, lighting, and subject arrangement. A script may contain
detailed instructions for staging an event, or it may contain general