Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Importance of Telling Your Story



The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

I have a single rule in general about photographs, if a photograph doesn't tell a story when it's isolated on its own then you should delete it.  Every image should tell a story because the importance of telling your story through every single thing you do is so important.  It doesn't matter how you took the photo, whether it was a camera costing thousands or your battered old mobile phone which lives in your pocket with your keys and some sweet wrappers.  A good photo should either immediately tell a story or it should ask you a question and make you wonder what's going on.
The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

In business one of the hardest things you'll do is to search for your superhero customers, the people who'll come back over and over again, the ones who will shout from the rooftops, the ones who will be your superheroes and tell other people about you.  To find those very special people, you must tell your story.  People no longer buy products or services, they buy people and no one is going to buy someone they know nothing about.

People want to know the person behind the business, why did you begin, how have you been here for so long, what is the thing that makes you want to keep doing what you're doing?  All of these things form part of your story.

There's a trick on Instagram I worked out maybe 6 months ago, I started to really engage with people through images and videos, I started telling my story, I wanted people to really know who I was, where I'd come from and just how far I'd come.  Every day is like a new chapter.  The funny thing now though is I don't necessarily share the best, most, award-winning images.  I simply share the things I love and with that love, I tell my story.
The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

So important is this message of telling your story that I've completely changed the face of my business.  Up until very recently I would go to weddings and tell the story of the couple but in portraiture, I would just take pretty pictures.  Nothing wrong with that you might say, but I couldn't understand why I could do it with weddings and not with families and the truth was, that it's about time.
The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

So often people come to photo shoots with definite ideas about what they want so by the time you arrange them into their various groups, there's no time left to create story-telling images.  To tell someone's story though is to give depth.  It's actually a truly beautiful thing to have just a little more time but I can tell you, although there'll always be a place for the shorter sessions, when you spend an hour with people and you're wandering from place to place, it really helps you get to know them, get to know the personality of their family.

This weekend I have 2 weddings and 2 longer photo shoots and it is my single goal to create great storytelling images from each one.  They will all be completely unique and so it's important that their images are too.

The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer
At the heart of everything I do, I want to inspire people, I want to use the experiences I've had in life, good and bad, to help others, to be an advocate for mental health and I want to show people that although bad past life experiences have defined me I have managed to change the focus of them and get some good out of them.  It is 100% possible to have had a deeply traumatic childhood and still turn that around into something which helps others.  

There are a few areas of my life I have been far too quiet about, especially the past, recent and farther back, I feared the consequences of speaking out too many times but not any more, now that I'm publicly talking about it and drawing other people to me who've experienced the same kind of things I can see completely how together we can be a force for good, together we are telling our stories to help others understand theirs.
The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

You know, it's a funny thing, life.  For me, the biggest paradigm shift was transforming my garden, it allowed me to share from beginning to end a story, I got to share my journey and inspire some people along the way and it also revealed to me that through learning about how living outdoors affected my general health and wellbeing that I could pass on this information to help others.  I also suddenly realised I was doing the thing I'd first learnt in photography, through sharing pictures of plants and how to build a pond, what I was actually doing was sharing the story of me, of progress and of transformation.
The importance of telling your story, Mandy Charlton, Newcastle Photographer, weddings and portraits, blogger and writer

Start sharing your story today and you might just find out how powerful that is.


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1 comment

Mother Of All That Is Perry said...

Fantastic rule! I always look at a picture and wonder what was going on in between photos haha but I'm curious like that.

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