Let your photos do the talking

by Sarah H Posted on June 26, 2011

« Back to Family, Photo Book Ideas

As a blogger I am constantly looking for that perfect balance of words and photos. The writer in me has plenty to say and I’m rarely at a loss for something to talk about, whether it’s my kiddo or something else going on. But since becoming a Mom I have definitely become more appreciative of photos — they can often capture an expression or a moment better than I ever could with words.

So – like any Mom – I carry a camera everywhere and I’m constantly on the lookout for that perfect photo of that perfect candid moment with perfect lighting and perfect smiles and perfect focus. (If any of you ever actually GET that photo, you let me know!) But this appreciation of photos hasn’t stopped me from talking – or writing, as the case may be – and I often include MUCH narration and MANY captions within my photo books. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ll be glad to have those thoughts and stories someday when I flip through those books, and I’ll pat myself on the back for including all that detail. But I’m really bad about not letting my photos “speak for themselves”.

This Mother’s Day, I decided to try it. A photo book with just… photos. And I really enjoyed it. I made a book for my Mom with photos of all her kids — photos dating back to the beginning of time. Well, the beginning of digital photography anyway. I randomized the photos where I would typically take painstaking time to get them in some sort of order. I fought the urge to date everything or include where the pictures were taken or snippets of funny stories sparked by each of these captured memories.

I just let the photos do the talking.

And now my Mom has a beautiful memory book. She can turn the pages and experience the memories in those photos over and over again. Instead of reading my words, she can hear the voices of the kids in those photos. She can hear the laughter.

It is 100% photos, but each page is worth a THOUSAND words.

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  1. BarbaraJ Says:

    Great article, I feel the say way but I just say let the photos tell the story or do the talking for you. Great article.

  2. AnnAbbott Says:

    You are funny. I am just the opposit. Do everything with photos…my goal is to become better at writting the stuff down. Maybe we should get together!

  3. Joey Says:

    I like your last line ‘It is 100% photos, but each page is worth a THOUSAND words”
    I tend to get too ‘wordy’ when I write, so I use quotes and if i can’t find anything simple to say, I let the photo tell the story!!
    Thanks for the great article

  4. Tiffany M Says:

    awesome! love your point about photographs… because i am horrible at writing/journaling. off to check out your blog now, looks like we may have a few things in common :D

  5. kayb Says:

    Great article, and very true. Sometimes it is important to just let the picture speak for itself, thanks for that reminder.

  6. petiam Says:

    I generally try to strike a balance between words and photos, but I too get too wordy sometimes. I think a book of just photos is a great idea & tried something like that last year where I put photos in a book just for me – called it ‘What I see” (http://www.shutterfly.com/gallery/aboutme/start.sfly?alias=PetiaM) & found the experience highly gratifying. I think I’ll do something similar this year as well.
    Great article!

  7. kniewohner Says:

    Thanks so much. As a Speech Pathologist I tend to overstate the obvious and then restate it again and again. I like the simplicity of the photos speaking for themselves. I did a similar book where I just used ONE or TWO WORDS on each full page picture. It was a quickie that I made for a HOUSEPARTY book, but it ended up wonderful and I was surprised to find so many other’s liked it too. Take a look at it here.

    http://www.shutterfly.com/gallery/post/start.sfly?postId=/gallery/1/post/GMGDFg1bt2zZo3ag90SDUq

    Sometimes less really is more. Thanks again for the reminder.

  8. TonetteB Says:

    I am also the complete opposite and normally let the photos speak for themselves and I want to be better and journaling and telling all the details of that moment. Its fun to let the photos do all the work and it is alot faster to create. I love that you used only photos and a simple layout and that your mom was thrilled! Thanks for the tips! :)

more about Sarah H

I'm a Mama, a blogger, a Razorback, and a bit of a photography nut. I've been blogging since 2005 and hooked on Shutterfly since my kiddo was born in 2008. My personal blog, Musings of Mother Hood (www.sarahmcow.com) has become a place for me to get all the live-and-learn parenting experiences and adorable toddler photos out of my system, while I'm also thrilled to contribute geeky tech advice for Moms in my bi-monthly column at NWAMotherlode.com. Shutterfly really scratches my itch for capturing memories in a beautiful, tangible way, and I never met a photo book I didn't like!

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