Storytelling in a Portfolio Set

This post I thought we could chat about flow a little bit in your sets. What makes good flow? We talk a lot about how a set should tell a story. What kinds of ways can you think of to order your set?

  • color
  • season
  • time of day
  • chronology (over a longer time frame than a single season or day)
  • theme (newborn, child, family, nature, vacation)

Without actually critiquing each photo (although have it if you want), look at each photo and decide how it relates to the one before and after. Although my set is ordered by color, there still have to be seamless transitions from one image to the next (which image 2 decidedly does not have). 

Image 3 is yellow and image 4 is orange, but they both have a sense of negative space as well as highlighting water drops. Image 4 and 5 are both orange, but they also both have a narrow DOF, even though the flowers and images themselves are quite different. Image 11 is probably also a misfit in its current location. 

Images 14 & 15 both have the wide circle bokeh in the background, and then 16 has individual petals and similar colors to 15. I would encourage you to look through and find other images here that on a flow/story basis you would move or remove altogether. If you were to move them, to where and why? 

I am also going to share my very first Click Pro application from 2015. I literally threw a bunch of photos together and submitted. Needless to say, this set was promptly denied. For one, the processing itself was all over the board, as I was in my VSCO (the original LR presets) mode and just slapped on whatever I felt like any given day. But even leaving that out, this set could have been SOOOO much stronger if I’d just spent an hour or so ordering it. No photo really relates to any of its neighbors, and if it does, it’s just by accident. I think I literally just started adding to a collection and when I got to the requisite amount I just exported it and sent it off. 

Don’t do that! Take time to think about your order, the story you are telling. HS actually scores on flow and cohesion, and I think it’s really important to spend a lot of time on this. Having pretty photos doesn’t do much in a set like this if the transitions feel disjointed. 

Follow along with my Project 52 in 2023

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