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How to Create Story-Telling Editorial Photography?

November 28, 2022

Whether you're a professional photographer or just starting, editorial photography is a great way to get your work published and seen by a wider audience. But what is editorial photography, and how do you go about creating story-telling images that editors will love? This article will look at how to create story-telling editorial photography.

What is Editorial Photography?

Editorial photography t is used to capture images that tell a story or report an event. These images are often used in newspapers, magazines, and online news publications.

You can use the images to illustrate the article's main points or add visual interest. Editorial photos are often used to show the human side of a story and can be used to make a powerful statement.

Editorial vs. Commercial Photography

Commercial Photography

Commercial photography is a type of photography that is used to sell products or services. You can use this type of photography for advertising, product catalogs, and website marketing.

commercial photo of one shoe on stones

Photo by Mojtaba Fahiminia on Unsplash

Commercial photographers often work with businesses and organizations to create photographs that will help to sell their products or services.

Main Differences Between Editorial vs. Commercial Photography


In editorial photography, the client is typically a publication, such as a magazine, newspaper, or website. The publication will assign the photographer a story to shoot, and the photographer will then produce the images to go along with the story.

In commercial photography, the client is usually a business or individual who hires a photographer to shoot images for a specific purpose, such as product photos, advertising, or website content.

Photo Ownership

 a girl sitting at the house corner and looking at her book

Photo by Ryan Ancill on Unsplash

When it comes to photo ownership, editorial photography and commercial photography differ in a few key ways. For editorial photography, the photographer typically retains ownership of the photos and can sell them to multiple publications. The client typically owns the photos for commercial photography and can use them however they wish.

Creative Freedom

Editorial photographers typically have more creative freedom than commercial photographers. They are usually given a general idea of what the publication wants, but they are free to shoot the images in any way they see fit.

Commercial photographers usually have less creative freedom, as they must produce images that meet the client's specific needs.


Regarding editorial photography goals, it aims to capture images that tell a story or communicate a message. Commercial photography is geared more toward selling a product or service.

a well-set photo scene by showing the skincare products

Photo by Neauthy Skincare on Unsplash

Main Usage

Editorial photography is typically used in films, magazines, newspapers, and blog websites. Commercial photography is generally used in product advertising, marketing campaigns, commercial films, and brand promotion.

How to Create a Story-Telling Editorial Photoshoot?

1. Have a Story for Your Editorial Photoshoot

Before you start shooting, you need to clearly understand the story you want to tell with your photos. What is the main message you want to communicate? What kind of mood do you want to create? Once you understand the narrative you want to create, you can start planning your shoot.

2. Create a Mood Board for Inspiration Purposes

A mood board is a great way to get inspired and start thinking about your story-telling editorial photoshoot's overall feel and aesthetic. It can be helpful to create a mood board with images, colors, and textures that represent your shoot's overall tone and message. This can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing and start thinking about how you want your shoot to look and feel.

3. Put Together the Right Team

a group of firemen fighting fire at the scene

Photo by Adrien on Unsplash

As a photographer, finding the right team to help you create a story-telling editorial photoshoot is essential. The team you choose should be able to understand your vision and help you bring it to life. Communication is key when working with a team, so make sure you find people you can easily communicate with and who are willing to listen to your ideas.

When choosing a team, consider their experience and expertise. Make sure you select a team with experience in the shoot type you're planning. For example, if you're planning a fashion shoot, get a team with experience with styling, hair, and makeup.

Finally, find a team that you click with personally. You'll spend a lot of time with these people, so ensure you feel comfortable working with them. Trust your gut and go with your instinct when choosing a team.

4. Find Your Subject for the Shoot

As a photographer, one of the most important things you can do is find your subjects. This is especially important when trying to create a story-telling editorial photoshoot. When you have a clear idea of who your subjects are, capturing the emotions and moments you are trying to convey in your photos will be much easier.

an ancient artist creating his work


Photo by LSE Library on Unsplash

To find your subjects, select a modeling agency and give them your mood board. After the model agency finds the subjects, you will have to do a briefing to let them know what the photo shoot is about and what is expected of them. It would help if you also allowed them to ask any questions they may have.

5. Look for a Location to Help Set the Mood and Tone

When planning a story-telling editorial photoshoot, choose a location to help set the shoot's mood and tone. The location should be based on the story you're trying to tell and should be able to provide the necessary props and backdrop to help bring your vision to life.

For example, if you're shooting a romantic story, you might want to consider a location with beautiful scenery, like a park or garden. If you're shooting a more edgy story, you might consider an area with more urban vibes, like a downtown street or alleyway. No matter what kind of story you're trying to tell, there's a location out there that can help you bring your vision to life.

6. Style Your Subjects for Good Composition and Color

Achieving a certain level of styling is key to editorial and commercial success for many photographers. It's not only the photographer's job to ensure the subjects fit the context and are visually appealing but also to make the photos look good in composition and color. Often, a photographer will work with a team of stylists to help achieve the look they're going for.

a man dressed by covering a white sheet with glasses and hat on

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

The role of the stylist is to communicate the story the photographer is trying to tell with their images through the use of clothes, props, and hair and makeup. They work with the subjects of the shoot to help them understand what the photographer is looking for and to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.

A good stylist can take the photographer's vision and turn it into a reality. They will understand the concepts of color, texture, and shape and how you can use them to create a certain mood or feeling in a photo. They will also understand the different types of clothing and how they can be used to create different looks.

7. Oversee the Shoot to Ensure Everything Runs Smoothly

After you have found your subjects, styled them, and chosen your location, it's time to start shooting. As the photographer, you will be in charge of directing the shoot. This means you will be responsible for telling the subjects what to do and how to pose.

If you're uncomfortable giving directions, it's essential to find a way to overcome this by practicing beforehand. You can practice by working with friends or family members willing to model for you. You can also look for opportunities to second shoot with another photographer. This will allow you to see how they direct a shoot and give you some ideas of how you can direct your shoots.

When you're ready to start shooting, be clear and concise with your direction. Tell the subjects precisely what you want them to do, and be specific with your poses. If you're not clear with your direction, the subjects will likely become frustrated, and the shoot will not go as planned.

 a group of people with solemn expression

Photo by Craig Ren on Unsplash

Be sure to take your time when shooting to capture the perfect shot. This is not a race. And don't be afraid to ask the subjects to do something again if you didn't get the shot you wanted the first time.

8. Edit Your Photos to Get the Best Image Possible

After you've taken all of your photos, it's time to start post-processing. When editing your photos, keep the overall story you're trying to tell in mind. You don't want to edit to change the story.

There are a few different ways you can edit your photos. You can use Lightroom, Photoshop, or a combination of both. Also, keep your audience in mind when editing your photos. Who are you editing these photos for? What do they want to see? Keeping your audience in mind will help you make editing decisions that will help you better communicate your story.


It's important to remember that editorial photography is not the same as commercial photography. When shooting editorial photography, you need to keep the story you're trying to tell in mind and make sure your photos help to communicate that story. Following the tips in this article, you can learn how to create a story-telling editorial photoshoot.

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