Finding the words – five styles to help tell your story

by Susie L Posted on October 04, 2009

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Pictures alone can tell a wonderful story. But one of the best features of photo books is the ability to pair words with pictures and add another dimension to the story—the voice and emotion of the storyteller.

Shutterfly Gallery is bursting with photo books that use words to enhance the story. Here are five original and evocative ways to tell the story behind the pictures.

Capture through captions
Adding captions is an easy way to connect a moment to a particular season or event. This works well for all types of photo books—a year in review, the trip of a lifetime, holiday time or a family reunion. Captions can be as simple as a date or name and as elaborate as excerpts from your journal.

Through their eyes
Some stories are best told by the stars of the photo book. Greg_Z gets inside the mind of a toddler and tells this year-in-review from the perspective of his two young daughters Amy and Julie.

Quotables for notables
saraS272 recorded quotations from politicians, poets and naturalists found on signs throughout the park on her recent trip to Yellowstone and used them as captions for her shots of the majestic scenery. The effect creates an homage to this wonderful national treasure.

Lyrical miracle
Put your photo book to music by writing the lyrics to a favorite song under the pictures. KarenB43 uses the lyrics of  “In My Life” by the Beatles in A Book for Mom, a photo book she created to celebrate her mother’s life. The pictures coupled with these poignant lyrics turns this photo book into something extraordinary.

Literally literary
Aspiring children’s book authors can let out their inner Eric Carle by writing a story to accompany their pictures. DeborahL109 does this beautifully with charming rhymes in her photo book A Trip to the Zoo.


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  1. rsheedy Says:

    These are some excellent ideas! I especially like the book by saraS272; I will have to use this idea in my next book. :)

  2. AnnAbbott Says:

    Yes the caption! I love these books and it really makes me want to up my game in the caption department. I love photography and always focus on the image. I should spend sometime adding to the picture with some great words.

more about Susie L

I’m Susie and I’m an artist and a writer and the chief archivist for our family. With a five year old son and a two year old daughter there are plenty of moments to record which I do on an almost daily basis. As a mom I love that with Shutterfly I can be creative and organized with my photography and knock out projects even with a hectic schedule. And as an artist I love that I can make gallery quality portfolios of my work to show potential clients. Plus the Shutterfly Gallery and community continues to be a wonderful source of inspiration for me. I hope I can return the favor.

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