Images can be powerful. They can communicate a story straight to your heart before it can beat. They can tell it in terms you can understand, even if those depicted speak another language. When images are used to capture the realities of the world we live in, you have photojournalism. You have documentary photography.
Documentary photography is used to document significant and historical events and is most prevalent in professional photojournalism or while reporting events from real life. However, it can also be used as an academic or artistic pursuit. It can even be a personal hobby.
When it comes to documentary photography, the most important thing to remember is to document things as they happen naturally. This is not the time to set up elaborate photoshoot sets or to wait until the light is just right.
Another important tip to remember is that you have to capture the person’s essence which means there is no need for poses that capture our most flattering side or the best smile. Part of what makes documentary photography so powerful is that it captures raw, honest moments.
And it is those raw moments that trigger our emotions and make us connect with the photo, that show us what is so special about the moment, what makes the subject of the photo truly unique.
In this roundup, we’ve gathered some of the best examples of documentary photography to show you just how powerful this style of photography is. We hope you enjoy them and use them as an inspiration.
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Under the Bridge
Floods in Benin
Bats in Cages
Waiting for Haiti