February 13, 2016

Using Photographs in Your Articles Before You Ever Write a Word

You're more than just a singular creative.

Creativity transcends any and all mediums. And as a writer, achieving the level of a true creative will skyrocket your writing to greatness by helping you learn to use all mediums available to you.

Running a busy freelance writing business can cause you to prioritize, and compartmentalize, everyday things. It’s a matter of survival. But it can also lead to you trying to create, while wearing blinders.

You might only look at art while visiting a gallery or museum. You might only consider architecture while thumbing through a magazine at the doctor’s office. And you might only think like an engineer while trying to figure out if you can get another few precious miles out of the brakes on your car before they give out completely.

You Are More Than Just a ‘Singular Creative’.

By being a creative (in this case – a writer), all other mediums actually become a part of you. Some very large, some small. No true creative exists that doesn’t at least ‘dabble’ in a medium outside of his or her chosen area of expertise. I’m not saying you have to consider yourself good at it, or even to let anyone know you also play, paint, design or otherwise participate in activities outside of writing.

But some of our strongest moments of inspiration can come from our secondary pursuits. The most common being, photographs.

Face it. We live in a visual world. We constantly get bombarded with ads, graphic images, television and other broadcast images, and of course, shared text message photos or social media pics. Perhaps, we even dread going over to someone’s house for a slideshow of their recent trip.

But we openly invite exposure to those images via Facebook, by text, and in many other ways.

It’s the story of our lives, making ever so much more important the photos we take — those precious moments we capture. These images embody the story we wanted to tell, or remember. And the key to good writing? Telling a great story!

Great Story = Great Writing

This famous image by Steve McCurry tells volumes.

What were you trying to capture? Why did you see it as important, or poignant, or even gut wrenching and dripping with so much emotion, that it screamed to be photographed?

Now put words to paper, and tell me what you saw. Explain to me, in story form, what that picture means to you — and what you hoped it would mean to me.

Don’t skirt away saying that you didn’t mean for anyone else to see your photographs. If that were true, you would have left it to the greatest image capture device know to man – the human brain. But you digitized it; captured it on celluloid. To share.

I want to see your photographs, and the back-story that goes with them, through your eyes. And through your words. I want you to bring color to my life, by sharing yours. That beautiful life that moved you enough to press that button and click that shutter.

Use Memories to Write the Future

Get out your old photos. Open iPhoto and go back through your pics. Remember the stories that those moments in time represent. And then share them.

There’s a great story – maybe several — in there. And you’re the great writer that can tell them.

Is there a story in your photos? Share your thoughts with us below.


Images credit: Afghan girl by Steve McCurry for National Geographic Magazine, 1985

About Gibson Goff

I'm a Freelance Writer, Certified Law of Attraction Practitioner, and an avid traveler. I specialize in the Self-Help market with a focus on personal success, and positive motivation. I also enjoy writing for the travel market, sharing my experiences so that others might enjoy them as well. My passion is writing positive, uplifiting and inspiring messages for everyone. You can follow my work at www.GibsonGoff.com


  1. Love the idea of using old photographs to help tell a story. Must get my scanner up and running. I know I love entering a blog or website that has graphics on it and not all words. It’s nice on the eyes to have it flow and great photos sure keep you on the page!
    Lisa recently posted..Do You Analyze Your Blog?My Profile

    • Great photos definitely break up the page and make for easy reading. And they can set the tone for the reader.

      Especially powerful is when you feel the tone first, when they move you to the point of “I have to tell this story!” Then when you place the pics at just the right place in the story – it’s a homerun! KaChow!

      You’re such a great writer anyway, Lisa, it could only get better! I’m looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

  2. Honestly, I’m more literary-oriented. Words stick in my mind, and scroll across it as I hear them spoken. I translate from words into pictures as I read, but the words always come first. But… hmm… I’m thinking about how much time I could while away on Flickr, trying to choose one to write about… Wow. I like how you think!
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Why Customers Need To Forget Who You AreMy Profile

    • Shakirah, I’m SO glad you responded. I’ve often wanted to talk to someone like you – I have a question . . .Do you physically see the words, in your mind and on the paper ‘in your mind’?

      Or do you hear yourself speak them out in your mind?

      I only dive into iPhoto when I’m a little stumped for an article, or looking for a little more inspiration.
      It may be the photo alone, or events occurring in my life/online as I’m looking at that photo.

      The photo sometimes just focuses my attention as the story creeps in from somewhere else . . .

      I’m so glad you wrote in! Please respond with your answers, if you will!

      • When I’m listening, I “see” the words scrolling across my mind. When I’m reading, the words aren’t always as apparent mentally because they’re already there in my vision; so when they hit my brain, they’re almost instantly translated into pictures, thoughts, and feelings. I tend to “speak” words in my head only when I’m speaking or writing myself.
        Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Why Customers Need To Forget Who You AreMy Profile

        • That’s fascinating! I too ‘hear’ the words in my mind as I read, or write. I’ve learned speed reading in the past, but without hearing the words in my head, it was not at all satisfying.

          Looking forward to reading more of your work!

  3. Agreed that text + an image make for a more interesting offering, but I find that I am hesitant on posting pictures due to all of the copyright restrictions. I’ll learn eventually!
    Martin recently posted..Setting A Time To Review YourselfMy Profile

    • If you take the picture, you can do whatever you want with it. Remembering the reason, and the feelings you had when taking the pic can be fodder for your next great story.

      That’s the whole key, be it a pic, or a piece of music you play, or a song you sing. Transfer those feelings to a story to share. Others will share those same feelings.

      Sometimes so much it will surprise you.

      Good luck with your writing, Martin. And thanks for the comments.

  4. Yes I do agree with you. Picture with your article or content really creates interesting excitement which give enjoyment to the reader.


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