Don’t Forget to Tell a Story

It’s easy to obsess over gear. We all love new toys, and it’s natural to lust over that hot new mirrorless camera or convince yourself that a lens upgrade is going to take your photos to the next level. But amid the onslaught of pretty-looking shots and gear reviews, never forget: story is king.

Photographer and filmmaker Peter McKinnon urges us not to lose sight of the reason we make photos and films in this 15-minute pep talk.

“Let’s be honest, getting gear is exciting,” he says. “But it can so easily overshadow the bigger picture, which is making great photographs, writing great songs, cooking delicious food. A lot of the gear, the prep, the things that help us do these this, they start to become the focus.”

Imagine you’re walking out of a theatre after a movie with your friends, continues McKinnon. During that 5 minutes of pure judgement, do most people discuss whether the lighting on the protagonist’s forehead was too hot during the interview/interrogation scene? Or are they talking about how the story took too long to pick up, that the plot had a hole in it, or that the ending blew their mind?

‘Story Is King’ is a maxim repeated so often it can elicit eye-rolls, but it is too easily forgotten or ignored. Next time you’re behind the camera, think about how you can move someone with your photos. Think about how you can capture a feeling, or bring an issue to light that your audience didn’t previously know about.

Check out the video at the top for McKinnon’s inspirational speech on the topic of story. And if you like what he’s saying and want to hear more, be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel.