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    How Photos Help to Tell a Story

    When it comes to placing images in your book, not all images are equal. Nor should all images be used in the same way. One of the most important things in deciding how to place the images in your book is the relationship of the text to the image. How do text and image work together to tell a story?

    Let’s look at some examples of the kinds of choices you might make in placing photos.

    If you want to feature a single photograph, as page layout one does, it should be an important one. You’ll need a high quality image which contains interesting details that make it worth examining. The image doesn’t even have to have text if you don’t know the story behind the picture. You might even choose to eliminate the caption. If you do want to tell the story portrayed in the image, do it in detail on the following page.

    In page layout two a smaller image suggests that it is less important. (If the image is important, but small, center it on the page and minimize the caption.) With the smaller image you may notice that you lose the car and background setting which might have conveyed a story. Instead, the smaller image can be used to emphasize something else like the relationship between the two men. You can use the caption to indicate the idea the reader should draw from the image. But, remember that a longer caption slows the book's pace.

    In page layout three the image is grouped with others. Grouping images allows you to illustrate details of your story with many related images. Taken together the images may tell a single story. Use simpler images that obviously relate to each other and relate to your story text, which you can place on the opposite page. The greater number of images you combine, the more complex your page becomes. This may confuse your reader, as it requires more time to study. Scrapbooks and collages are the most extreme examples of this, so consider your audience's preferences before overloading a page.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Excellent presentation. Very useful reminders. Thank you for posting this piece! ;-)

    Dec 10, 2011 at 2:33PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Bill (William L.) Smith

    Thanks, Dr. Bill!
    Biff Barnes

    Dec 10, 2011 at 6:17PM | Registered CommenterNan Barnes

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