All photographs, images and text are copyright Paul Ligas Photography Limited 2020.

Telling a story with photographs

The Great West Run

Years ago I took photographs at the Great West Run in Exeter, a half-marathon run annually since 1985. It draws participants from across the South West of England, plus a large crowd of enthusiasts and spectators.

I knew I would get some interesting images of the athletes preparing and running in the race, but photographs of races are all fairly similar: steely gazes of concentration, the grimace at the finishing line. So I decided to tell the story of the Great West Run without showing any faces – I’d let people’s body language express the tension building to the start of the race, the athleticism of the runners and the exhaustion at the end.

Post processing: I enhanced the vividness of the photos with my own custom Lightroom preset to bring out the multitude of colours and bring extra vibrancy and life to the story. This was helped by having bright, spring sunshine.

Telling a story of an event becomes easier if you know that’s what you’re going to do when the photography begins. It’s easier to notice themes if you’re already thinking about themes, and you can then take best advantage of them as the shoot progresses. Trying to tell a story with a group of disconnected photographs is more difficult.

The next time you’re out taking photographs, try thinking of a theme and shooting to match that. You may find you have an engaging set of images at the end.

About the photographer

The Photographer SmallPaul Ligas is a professional commercial photographer based in Herefordshire, working across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and the UK. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and connect on LinkedIn.