Photography and the connection

On Garr Reynolds’ blog, Presentation Zen I found a presentation by David Griffin, photo director for National Geographic. Griffin shares some of the most astonishing and most famous photos published in National Geographic and discusses how photography can dramatically tell a story. Whether giving a presentation in front of classmates, or in front of a client, the use of storytelling is vital in getting the message across. Depending solely on imagery to relay your message can be risky, but if done correctly can deliver your message in a very effective way.

Griffin says photography can tell a broad story in a focused way and create understanding and empathy. By using images to tell your client’s story or the story of your campaign, you can zero in on the important facets of your presentation without being weighed down with bullet points and paragraphs. Reynolds says “the power of the image to make a connection and tell a story is indeed unlimited.”

At first I thought it would be impossible to completely rely on images during my presentation to deliver my message. I always thought there was a necessity for text on my slides, but now I realize that the audience will be more engaged and focused if a story is being told rather than bullet points just being rattled off.

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6 Responses to Photography and the connection

  1. drgilpin says:

    Just a couple of notes:
    – Your links go to Reynolds’ bio, the main page of Presentation Zen, and the National Geographic Store (not the magazine)–but there’s no link to the presentation you’re referring to. Make sure to add the link.

    – That said, I know exactly which one you’re talking about: I actually showed parts of it in the other section, but we didn’t have time for it in your class. So I appreciate that you found it and brought it up! The whole presentation is worth watching.

  2. kristarogers says:

    I get frustrated with presentations that rely solely on the text on each slide to deliver the story. I feel like it doesn’t give the audience enough credit. We can read on our own. As we have been discussing in class, it is the job of the presenter to format and present the information in a way that makes the audience think. Showing images and then enhancing the images with well thought-out expressions and language is much more effective because it forces the audience to cognitively be involved. It allows them to really focus on the words being said rather than the words written on the screen. I like the idea that less is more and then using the talents of the speaker to connect the dots. Metis uses an interesting phrase when describing excessive text in the post above. They say “you can zero in on the important facets of your presentation without being weighed down with bullet points and paragraphs.” I think the term “weighed down” is a perfect term for crowding slides with too much text and information.

  3. knish21087 says:

    I personally receive a message a lot more effectively when there are pictures incorporated. I think that a majority of people in this world are visual learners and can gain a lot by presentations that have more pictures than text. I don’t think that pictures are always the best idea though. A lot of people don’t really know how to use pictures to their benefit, and many times they can just confuse the audience a lot more. It really depends on having a solid message and a solid story to tell.

  4. trentonhorne says:

    I find images to be helpful in any kind of understanding of a presentation. When doing presentations myself though, I always have problems finding useful images or developing a story with images. When we did practice presentations last week in class, it was really hard for my group to find a “story” to tell with images and not words. I think this has a lot to do with our campaigns message so far, but there are some instances that I feel just needs straight forward information.

  5. wackyzachy47 says:

    I find myself in the middle. I like pictures with minimal text, but I often find that the teachers actual words help me study better so when I can get the info directly off the slides I appreciate that greatly. But I can understand during a presentation at a seminar, how text would be boring.

  6. drgilpin says:

    You make a good point, Zac (although you’ll probably never see this comment): there’s a big difference between teaching and other types of presenting. I keep my text minimal, but I do use the occasional dreaded bullet point or even paragraph, because I want to make sure that certain key terms or concepts are visually reinforced as well as spoken. I don’t just want to leave a strong impression when I teach, I want to highlight the concepts you’ll need to write in your notes and know for assignments and exams.

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