A photo essay is a great way to strongly express an argument through pictures with very minimal texts. This is a very popular medium in the social media for advertisers, bloggers or journalists to target their messages to their audience. Compared with written essays, you must back up the central message of your photo essay with relevant images. Unlike the usual essays, the texts in a photo essay will only serve as captions, as the images are the ones moving the essay’s central message. As such, writers at Perfect Essay urge that you read on the four common mistakes you should avoid when composing your winning photo essay.
Mistake #1: Having an ill-defined goal
As with any essay, your photo essay should have a thesis or central message. This central message rules the flow of your essay and helps you plan the images that should go well with this central message. This also helps you plan your photoshoot as well as your argument. So without thinking carefully about the central message, your photo essay can go all over the place. An ill-defined goal compromises greatly the quality of your photo essay. This can also reflect your character as a photo essayist, as having an ill-defined goal can become evident in the inconsistency among the images and texts, as well as incoherence among these elements. You may have the most beautiful message in the world, or you may even capture the most meaningful images. But without setting a clear goal, your target audience will not understand or even appreciate your photo essay.
Mistake #2: Insufficient understanding of your audience
Aside from having an ill-defined goal, another mistake you can make is having an insufficient understanding of your target audience. You may be able to express your audience the importance of your photo essay’s central message to them. But without sufficient understanding of your audience, you might lose their interest or even respect. Even if you have established who your target audience is, each member of your target audience may have biases rooted from their geographic or cultural differences, as well as differences in their level of knowledge. As such, consider carefully your target audience and things that can possibly offend them. You must take extra care in the images and texts you will use, as well as their organization in your composition. Doing this can not only hooks their interest throughout your essay but also increases their respect for you.
Mistake #3: Inconsistency and incoherence
Inconsistency and incoherence are among the many mistakes you can commit to your photo essay. This breeds from having an ill-defined goal and insufficient understanding of your audience. Consistency refers to the overall appearance of your photo essay that has to do with the orderliness of the elements within your photo essay. As such, having an inconsistent visual or textual themes can distract or even confuse your audience. Thus, this can result in the incoherence of your photo essay. One way to achieve consistency is to stick with a theme for your photographs. If you took your photographs in black and white, then stick to black and white photos all throughout. If you used sepia photos, then use only sepia photos all throughout. Doing so contributes to the coherence of the message of your photo essay. After all, it is your task as a photo essayist to help your audience easily understand your composition.
Mistake #4: Plagiarizing your sources
Plagiarism involves taking an idea from one person and using it in your own composition without crediting your source. In other words, you are stealing an idea and passing it off as your own. The things that can be plagiarized are texts, artworks, photos, speech, and so on. Doing this is an affront to the person’s hard work of actually producing that idea by himself or herself because you are simply stealing. Aside from this, plagiarism is a reflection of your credibility. If you are going to use a proven fact for your essay but you did not cite your source, your audience will think twice about your claim. As such, plagiarism is a crime and an unethical way of composing your photo essay. Depending on the requirements for a photo essay, you can either photoshoot your own images or borrow from sources. The more important thing is to create your own photo essay without plagiarizing.
A photo essay can paint a thousand words while revolving around a central message. So before you can even compose the first few images and texts of your photo essay, the first mistake you should avoid is having an ill-defined goal. You must plan your photo essay from its thesis, theme, photographs, supporting captions, and organization. Next mistake to avoid is having insufficient understanding of your target audience. To prevent this, you must be able to conduct research first about them. Having avoided these first two mistakes leads you to avoid the third mistake: inconsistency and incoherence. Last but not the least, plagiarism is the mistake that every photo essayist should avoid. By keeping these mistakes in mind, you can compose your winning photo essay.