How To Give Your Visuals A Voice - Steve Dolson
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How To Give Your Visuals A Voice

How To Give Your Visuals A Voice

Photo: Two Tanyas.

Confession. My only guess of why I keep buying expensive cameras is for me to push myself to make better moments.

It started a few years back where I felt like I was pushing my life along. I wasn’t being pulled. It was something that I found myself looking for a tool to shape my life. I was done trying to shape my life on my own, I needed to live through a tool.

Before getting into photography, I was okay. I was mundane. I was mediocre. I didn’t offer anything to a large group of people outside of a 1km radius. I felt as though I was offering only situational laughter, stories and localized banter throughout my life without a breakthrough to the next stages of creativity and larger audience.

My life didn’t capture anything exciting, it all felt like selfishly bragging my experiences. One-upping everyone with the words coming out of my mouth. I wasn’t sharing anything besides what I felt was complaining of over-exaggerated environments.

The hike was up the biggest hill. This day was the most exhausting day. This song was the hardest song to learn.

It felt like I had no one to give me feedback, tell me ‘that’s not the biggest hill, this is’. It felt like I didn’t have any comparisons to the outside world.

This is why when I started pairing my stories with my camera, two things happened. I had a benchmark to start and I could give the other person a visual that paired with that story.

This small change of adding a visual, gave me perspective that I could share.

It was a different and unique perspective on how I saw that scene, that landscape.

I realized something. my perspective was my voice in the world and, another thing, you aren’t going to find your voice if you stay silent.

This grew to a grandiose, yet simple thought…
No one sees the world as you do.

People can’t see what you are thinking, projecting or visualizing.

You can only explain what you see through words or through visuals you create. My world is very different from yours. We see things different through nature, nurture, experience, history and culture.

The Camera Example
If you gave two different people the same camera to take a picture of the same object, the two images could be radically different.

Here is a video that I recently saw about 6 photographers. 1 model. 6 different perspectives.

This is why I started pairing my visuals with my own stories and captions. A photo is good(…ish). A photo explaining why that photo is important in your life, or perhaps the subject matter of that visual, will make it unique.

Your perspective can be a trusted one. It can influence people. It can set your brand, self, product or service apart.

People will stare at a photo and not know what to think until you tell them. And what you say about an image has a larger impact to your audience compared to what they see.

They want to know why this picture exists.
What it’s purpose is to be shared publicly.

They want to know ‘so what‘?

So, tell them. What’s the importance of what you are sharing. Who is it for? Why people should connect with it to find out more? Why does it relate to you?

The Chair Example
If I showed you a picture of a chair, you would be bored. If I should you a picture of a chair and told you that it’s the chair where I sat when I found out my father passed away, it would have more weight, interest and emotion.

The Bottom Line

The images you put out there are your brand. Anything you do is everything you do. And anything you can do, you can do from your own perspective. No one has your creative direction, perspective or emotions. Use that to find your voice and bring more meaning into what you do and what you put out to your audience. Make your visuals a scrapbook of your life, your brand’s life, your history and a collection of moments instead of a pile of photos that you have used before.

Find your voice through your visuals.

Follow me and talk to me about it on Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you for reading.