A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Henry Green

Henry Green

I try to apply this in my photographic work when selecting what to include or exclude in the frame. If you were to take this into the context of visual storytelling, it could apply in so many areas, especially in selecting the final images for edit. Include what you need and exclude what you don't.

Riffing on the above quote, I found another quote that perfectly applies this concept to storytelling. It's from the late Henry Green, an English author best remembered for the novels Party Going and Loving.

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.
— Henry Green


Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Photographers are notorious for being all about gear. I know I write a weekly post on the gear and equipment that I use, but out in the internets it can get out of hand. This weeks storytelling insight comes from an interview with Ron Howard in which he spoke briefly about technology and its role in telling stories.

"I love the fact that I can get so much closer to what's in my mind on the screen than I ever could before. And there was always this gap, and that gap is narrowing. [Robert Zemeckis] was quoted as saying 'We can no longer dazzle people, it's back to story. And it has to be character and it has to be story.' I love that."

We can no longer dazzle people, it has to be character and story.


Seth Godin

Seth Godin

You may or may not have heard of Seth Godin. If you've ever tried to learn more about marketing, than you more then likely have stumbled across his very popular blog or read one of his books (there's lots of them). He's an accomplished entrepreneur and always has great insight into people and business. Not surprisingly, he often talks about storytelling with your marketing. There's a lot of material to work with here, so over the next several weeks I'll be posting a weekly storytelling thought from Seth Godin. I hope you like them.

"A great story is true, not because it's factual, but because it's consistent and authentic."

I had several thoughts as I read these words the first time. As it relates to photographic storytelling, I couldn't help but think about post-production and digital manipulation. This is a long time argument in the imaging world, but I think this provides a new angle. Post process and color correct to tell a better story. The images in National Geographic are printed as shot with minor adjustments to levels and contrast while the award winning surf story from the Banff Mountain Festival shot by Chris Burkard has punchy colors and additional post-production work I'm sure. Neither approach is inherently right or wrong, it all comes down to the story your trying to tell and the medium your telling it in.

More next week.


This weeks insight into storytelling comes from marketing mastermind Gary Vaynerchuck. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing him speak you really should watch the linked video below (WARNING: NSFW Language). Great stuff!

The thoughts below provide insight from Gary regarding social media platforms really  being storytelling platforms. This was a great thought when I found it and I've tried using it more in my online interactions.


Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vaynerchuck

Be a story teller. Marketers are storytellers because that's what people and humanity like. With social media, be a great breaking news storyteller, not a movie storyteller. Things should be light and quick in consumable dosages. Quality storytelling always wins...ALWAYS! With social media, everyone thinks about content when really it's all about context. Every social media platform is different in the way that stories are shared. Start respecting the platform by respecting the context. Don't just pitch what you're selling. Bring value to people within the space and give it to them in a way that a human being would give it to them, not a brand.

Now that you have the gist, you should watch the whole speech. What did you think?