18+ Photo Essay Examples & Samples [Download Now]


We all know that photographs tell a story. These still images may be seen from various perspectives and are interpreted in different ways. Oftentimes, photographers like to give dramatic meaning to various scenarios. For instance, a blooming flower signifies a new life. Photographs always hold a deeper meaning than what they actually are.

In essay writing, photographs along with its supporting texts, play a significant role in conveying a message. Here are some examples of these kinds of photo-text combinations.

Narrative Photo Essay

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Student Photo Example

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Great Depression Essay

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What Is a Photo Essay?

From the name given, a photo essay is a written article consisting of a collection of images and texts. It has the ability to tell a story through a progression of events, emotions, and concepts. You see, there are times when photographs cannot stand alone.

You can present a picture of an old, worn-out chair and nobody will see it more than it is. If you create a photo essay to explain how such a chair was used by President Roosevelt, then people will begin to look at the photograph with awe. This is the same for free essays, as it is sometimes difficult to create mental images through mere wording.

Overall, a photo essay is still the same as a normal short essay, except that ideas are translated into visual images.

How to Write a Photo Essay

First of all, you would need to find a topic that you are interested in. With this, you can conduct thorough research on the topic that goes beyond what is common. This would mean that it would be necessary to look for facts that not a lot of people know about. Not only will this make your essay interesting, but this may also help you capture the necessary elements for your images.

Remember, the ability to manipulate the emotions of your audience will allow you to build a strong connection with them. Knowing this, you need to plan out your shots. With the different emotions and concepts in mind, your images should tell a story along with the essay outline.

Travel Photo Example

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Free Photo Essay

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Purpose of a Photo Essay

With good writing skills, a person is able to tell a story through words. However, adding images for your essay will give it the dramatic effect it needs. The photographs and the text work hand in hand to create something compelling enough to attract an audience.

This connection goes beyond something visual, as photo essays are also able to connect with an audience emotionally. This is to create an essay that is effective enough to relay a given message.

5 Tips for Creating a Photo Essay

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find the right angle and be dramatic with your description, just be creative.
  • Pay attention to detail. Chances are, your audience will notice every single detail of your photograph.
  • Shoot everything. Behind a single beautiful photo is a hundred more shots.
  • Don’t think twice about editing. Editing is where the magic happens. It has the ability to add more drama to your images.
  • Have fun. Don’t stress yourself out too much but instead, grow from your experience.

Most Interesting Photo Essays of 2019

Now that you are educated with the fundamentals of photo essays, why not lay eyes on some great photo essays for inspiration. To give you a glimpse of a few epitomes, we collected the best and fascinating photo essays for you. The handpicked samples are as follows:

Toys and Us

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This photo essay presents its subject which is the latest genre of photography, toy photography. In this type of picture taking, the photographer aims to give life on the toys and treat them as his/her model. This photography follows the idea of a toy researcher, Katrina Heljakka, who states that also adults and not only children are interested in reimagining and preserving the characters of their toys with the means of roleplay and creating a story about these toys. This photo essay is based on the self-reflection of the author on a friend’s toys in their home environment.

The Faces of Nature

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This photo essay and collection caters the creativity of the author’s mind in seeing the world. In her composition, she justified that there are millions of faces that are naturally made that some of us have not noticed. She also presented tons of photos showing different natural objects that form patterns of faces. Though it was not mentioned in the essay itself, the author has unconsciously showcased the psychological phenomenon, pareidolia. This is the tendency to translate an obscure stimulus that let the observer see faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or even hearing concealed messages in music.

The Country Doctor

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This photo essay depicts the medical hardships in a small rural town in Colorado called Kremling. For 23 days, Smith shadowed Dr. Ernest Ceriani, witnessing the dramatic life of the small town and capturing the woeful crisis of the region. The picture in this photographic essay was photographed by Smith himself for Life magazine in 1948 but remained as fascinating as it was posted weeks ago.

New York City Coffeehouses

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Café Latte, cappuccino, espresso, or flat white—of course, you know these if you have visited a coffee shop at least once. However, the photographer of this photo essay took it to a whole new level of experience. Within two to three days of visiting various coffee places, Mr. Gavrysh stayed most of his day observing at the finest details such as the source of the coffee, the procedure of delivering them, and the process of roasting and grounding them. He also watched how did the baristas perfect the drinks and the reaction of the customers as they received their ordered coffee with delights in their faces. Gavrysh did not mean to compose a coffeehouse guide, but to make a composition that describes modern, local places where coffee is sipped and treated with respect.

Hungry Planet: What The World Eats

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Photo Essay Example

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Photo Essay in PDF

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Sample Photo Essay

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Basic Photo Essay

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Printable Photo Essay

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One of the basic necessity of a person to live according to his/her will is food. In this photo essay, you will see how these necessities vary in several ways. In 2005, a pair of Peter Menzel and Faith D’ Aluisio released a book that showcased the meals of an average family in 24 countries. Ecuador, south-central Mali, China, Mexico, Kuwait, Norway, and Greenland are among the nations they visited.  This photo essay is written to raise awareness about the influence of environment and culture to the cost and calories of the foods laid on the various dining tables across the globe.

Photo essays are not just about photographic aesthetics but also the stories that authors built behind those pictures. In this collection of captivating photo essays, reflect on how to write your own. If you are allured and still can’t get enough, there’s no need for you to be frantic about. Besides, there are thousands of samples and templates on our website to browse. Visit us to check them all out.

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