Everyone talks about Visual Storytelling today. And nearly everyone says that an image is more than a 1,000 words. But is this really true? Not every image tells a story, right? So, why are some images stronger than others? How do photographers look at photos and what do they judge on, when it comes to find the best shot? This checklist – with 27 criterias - can help you to start a conversation on the images you may look at and find out whether they are strong enough to tell a story:

Technology: Each image uses specific technology and techniques to tell a story. Watch out for their ...
  • Exposed focus
  • Depth of field
  • Use of colour
  • Insertion of Contrast
  • Emphasis of Lighting
Aesthetic: The beauty of an image is built on specific aspects such as ...
  • Framing and viewpoint
  • Background
  • Visual impact
  • Authenticity and/or use of manipulative techniques
Content: An image can trigger a story. Therefore the content needs to contain
  • Information
  • Emotion, Mood & Feeling
  • Denotative and connotative content (symbolism, metaphor)
  • Meaning
  • Capturing a “momentum”
  • Relevance
Viewers Response: Which reaction does the image provokes (Visual, aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, excitement, interest).  Is this image an …
  • Eye-Catcher: “Wow! OMG, what happened here?”
  • Exe-Candy: “Wow! So beautiful!”
  • Bullet: “Thank you. This image explains everything.”
  • Door-Opener: “Lovely daydream! This image invites me to get lost.”
  • Zeitgeist: “Aha – got that. This remindes me about …”
  • Meme-Hijacker: “Great! That´s hot now and you jumped on this too.”
Overall: now step back and judge on your general impression ...
  • Originality
  • Style
  • Photographic vision
  •  Context
  • Empathy
  • Insight
  • Validity
 PS: This checklist was inspired by the Photographic Judging Criteria List of CCJ Judges. 

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