Thoughts and Techniques on Invoking Curiosity in Photography

H Colin
2 min readOct 15, 2020

When trying to tell a story through our photography, it helps to be able to invoke curiosity in our audience. This is the magic sauce that draws a viewer into an image and captures their attention.

We already understand that the only rule of photography is to go out and do it. But what methodology do we follow when we are out shooting? What techniques can we incorporate into our shooting to help us reach that goal?

Photographs About Things

This is a great thing to think about when shooting. By changing the way you think about your subject will naturally help you to tell a story through your image. Our aim is: To create photographs about things, rather than of things.

When we talk about invoking curiosity in an image, we want the audience to ask questions about what is going on. These could range from What is this person looking at? To Why are they doing that? Finally, and I think most importantly, How does this person relate to me?

The Tools Available to Us

Within photography, we have access to more than just the content of our photograph to tell the story. We can use the tools incorporated within our cameras to help convey meaning and invoke curiosity.

We can use the technical aspects depth and focus to lead our audiences eye and mind when looking at our photographs. Selectively using a wide-angle lens and a deep depth of field can help us to incorporate several layers of action within the depth of our image.

With practice, you can tell multiple stories in one frame. We can invoke questions in our audiences mind and with visual elements, such as leading lines, guide them to the answer. Be it the one that they expect, or not.

Shutter speed and motion blur are also brilliant tools, especially when paired with our thoughts on depth and focus. Our images don’t need to be tack sharp all the time. Selective blur from control over our shutter speed can help to add another layer of depth to our images.

By mastering this technique we can change the perception a viewer has of an image, and the questions that they are more likely to want to ask of it.

Don’t be Disheartened

I hope that these thoughts will inspire you to keep shooting and creating meaningful images. But don’t be disheartened if you are disappointed with your results, it takes a great deal of time to practice and master these techniques. Along with a certain degree of luck, to be in the right place at the right time to make good use of them.

Practice makes perfect, and if in doubt follow the only rule of photography.