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How to Combine Creative Writing and Photography

You may know that photography and creative writing are often considered separate forms of media. But combining the two together can be a powerful tool for expressing your creative vision, especially if you do this through written words and pictures.

Here’s how.

The Benefits Of Combining The Two

Not only does poetry perform better than other forms of creative writing when used in advertising, it also provides unique benefits to the photographer. When you put the two together, you have a powerful, multi-disciplinary tool that can tell a story, provoke thoughts, and make an argument. Plus, you get the flexibility to play with time in a way that a photograph cannot.

Here are just some of the advantages of combining creative writing and photography.

Thematic Clues

One of the great things about a photograph is that it can often give the viewer clues about how to interpret what they are seeing. This is great for the creative writer, because they can take this extra element—usually implied in the visual composition—and turn it into something more tangible. They can use this to great effect, especially in a piece that contains both prose and photographs.

For instance, many photographs of city streets will show people walking, biking, or driving cars, but not always with the people in the photograph. Instead, you may see a reflection in the window, or a glimpse of someone behind the wheel. Creative writing can bring this to life, by including thematic clues about the scene or location, and the people within it. For example, you may write about how the people in the photo are being forced to look at the world through the eyes of a child, due to their own limited perspective.


Writing and photography are both highly structured forms of art. This means that, when done well, they can work well together. One of the great things about a well-executed piece of creative writing is that it can often serve as a guide for the photographer, showing them where to go, and what to look for. This, in turn, can help the writer to structure their creative writing and provide it with a visual anchor. In doing so, they can maintain the integrity of both forms, while also allowing the reader a greater level of engagement.


Sometimes, to get a perspective that is not normally given in the everyday photo, you need to push the medium and create something a little different. This can be a challenge, but it can also be one of the great things about combining the two. If something can only be truly understood when seen from a certain point of view, then having some creative writing can give you a deeper understanding of the scene you are shooting, and allow you to showcase this in an artistic way that is different from the norm. For example, if you are taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower, it may be more effective to write about what it means to you, as an individual. Then, you can bring this to life through your photograph, exploring how the scene relates to you, and your personal experience.

Ambiguous Narrative

Sometimes, the most effective way to tell a story is in an ambiguous way. This can be especially effective when used in advertising, where the desired action is to get the viewer to make a decision, and the more ambiguous the better. For example, you may want to show a dog, but not necessarily in any specific way. Instead, you can write about how you see the world through your eyes as a child, and include a picture of a dog, but without giving it any specific traits. Then, the advertiser can choose how they want the viewer to feel about the product, by expanding on the narrative and using additional images or words to explain further.

Emotional Appeal

We all love a happy ending, don’t we? Whether it’s a fairy tale, a film, or a book, we always want the story to have a positive ending. But life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to, sometimes it can be quite the opposite. This is why some of the most effective pieces of creative writing do not have happy endings, they allow the reader to feel something different. This can be a powerful technique for advertising, and it can also allow the writer to explore darker themes, which may be of greater interest to those that are looking for an introspective or emotional read.


Finally, having a photograph within a piece of creative writing can allow the writer to explore the form in a way that is new to them. If you are looking for a fresh perspective on writing, or one that will provide you with a different way of exploring the mechanics of putting words together, then you can find this in literature. However, if you want to see a representation of the craft, then look no further, because here it is.

Overall, having the option to include a photograph within a piece of creative writing can allow the writer to explore a new way of telling stories, while also providing them with an extra piece of content that they can use to highlight a point they are making. Not only is this an effective way to bring the two forms together, it is something that can be done in a way that does not hurt the integrity of either one.