Eric May – Media Consultant




Principles of visual storytelling

Goal: telling a story with pictures, using minimal narration.

Standard: Your viewers are able to understand what the story is about, with the sound on the television off. 

Visual storytelling tools:
• Signs
• Symbols
• Human details
• Processes
• Genres and schemas
• A & A+ (first and last elements of the story are related)


Assembling your elements:
• Sequence: A series of shots that tells a story visually.
• Wide shot: A shot that shows the foreground, the middle distance, and the background.
• Medium shot: A picture that shows the middle distance only.
• Tight shot (also known as a “close-up”): A picture that shows details.



On location, observe what makes the location unique, and shoot it.

Identify and shoot signs and symbols that explain the location visually.

Show processes as they happen naturally, step by step.

Think in terms of sequences. Use wide/medium/tight to get to your interview or transition.

In editing, reach for a rhythmic, musical structure.