Stories help us to make sense of the world, and photography is a language that everyone can understand.
Successful visual storytelling should be engaging, informative and clear in its narrative. But that doesn't mean that the images you'll need to capture are obvious, or that it's easily apparent what should be included or excluded from an edit. So, what exactly is photojournalism storytelling and how does the genre tell a story?
In essence, photojournalism uses photographic images as the key component in a news story or article, the written word playing a supporting role in the storytelling process. Powerful and evocative imagery is therefore the essential ingredient to help capture and retain the audience's attention. In a world awash with digital images, less can be more. "When you have your story, you really have to edit," says journalist, educator and former Head of Photography at AFP Francis Kohn. He advises getting a good editor because "you can tell a very good story with 15 photos, or fewer".
Each year, many of the industry's best visual storytellers attend Professional Week at Visa pour l'Image in Perpignan, France. The event is an opportunity for picture editors and photographers to share their advice for developing a story with like-minded individuals. Here, Brent Stirton, Thomas Borberg, Laura Morton, Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Ivor Prickett and Pascal Maitre share how to identify a good story, when to know it's finished, and what to do with it next. We've also spoken to documentary and portrait photographer Natalya Saprunova – who was the recipient of the 2022 Canon Female Photojournalist Grant – about her experiences.