Personal photojournalism involves collecting, editing, and presenting photographs that tell a story.  Photo-journals can be published through printed materials, online websites and video formats.  Photojournalism includes citation (written commentary) and is therefore, different from documentary photography, street photography, studio photography, landscape photography or celebrity photography. 

The image above is one of three photojournalistic pieces that tell the story of a day spent with student-friends shooting photos in Detroit.  Each image tells an aspect of the story, and is relevance to everyone involved, even though it is told from a personal perspective.

Photojournalistic citations (written commentary) are characterized by three elements

  1. Story Telling — The series of photos and words reveal the progression of events.

  2. Current Relevance — The images have meaning in the context of present culture and events.

  3. Personal Spin — The story can be told objectively or with a personal perspective.

A single photo communicates meaning in the minds of its viewer.  The meaning is processed through the thought processes of your audience.  They think with words in their heads, although these internal words may never be verbalized.  The important question is, what message will your viewers actually derive from your work? 


  1. 1. What is your message? Your message comes through your daily walk.  Jesus said that He was the manna that came in the wilderness, and that He is the Bread of LIfe that comes to us every day.  What Bread are you gathering each day?  Whatever your daily engagements may be, you should ask and anticipate the most important adventure of the day: “Lord, show me yourself, your word in the moments of my daily life and activities.  Lord, You said that I live by every word that comes from your mouth.  I thank you for providing today that which You have promised.  I love your living word; it’s my food.”

  1. 2.How can you precisely communicate your God-message?  The skill of visually articulating your message is greatly enhanced by adding the printed word or words to your imagery.  Captions should always tell your viewers something that is not obvious in your photo.  Words thereby direct the viewer’s thoughts with greater precision along the course of your intended message.  Proverbs 25:11 marries words and pictures: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”


  1. 1. Carry your camera, pen and paper throughout the week.  A good reporter or photographer is always ready to capture the unexpected events that bless or befall him day or night.  An ambitious photojournalist or literary journalist often faces harsh obstacles in pursuit of that one perfect photo or story.  Inclement weather, social obstacles, political hotspots, economic barriers and travel challenges are only a few hurdles to overcome in getting your story.  A good message is often costly.  Never be thwarted.  The greater the struggle the greater the value!  Engage!

  1. 2. Shoot more images that needed.  Photo editing requires as many photo resources as you can gather. 

  1. 3. Write every nuance of your impressions with fresh and provocative perspectives.  Say with words what imagery cannot speak.  Cause your audience to see your story with new eyes and engaging thoughts.   Time passes and the story is forever in the past if it is not captured and preserved. 

  1. 4. The Merge: A linear arrangement of photos is the typical mode of storytelling with pictures.  Think about comic books, storyboards and do-it-yourself illustrations.  For our more creative challenge, you may layer your photos in a collage format.  The choice is yours. 

  1. 5. Add your word or words to the photos to further communicate your message.  The examples shown are only suggestions that do not have to be imitated.


  1. 1. Master layers

  2. 2. Master filters

  3. 3. Master selection options

  4. 4. Master brush usage


Your project will include the following:
  1. 1. Twelve photos of your daily life

  1. 2. Scripture, a verse, a chapter or various portions of significance to your daily life.

  1. 3. A single thought, a message about your life, your search, your discovery, your aspiration, your gold, your dirt, your love, your trial or your victory.  This is extremely personal and therefore should be illustrated and written with discretion.  Using code imagery and code words that have personal meaning is great way to maintain privacy while creating a work of value. 

  1. 4. Canvas size 8.5x11 with a resolution of 300.  This limits the size of your project to any standard or custom dimensions that fall within 8.5x11.


  1. 1. What will you final presentation look like?

These images can be matted and framed or they can be mounded on a block of wood.  The wood mounted imagery could be also cover the edges of the wood block for a contemporary style.

Notice the bottom of the the image to the left.  This printed area is intended for the sides of the wood block mounting.  Create a related design for the sides of wood block mounting.

2. How many final collage images will you create?

You could align three images horizontally or vertically to highlight three aspects of your daily experiences.  You might create one integrated collage image that integrates your experiences and perceptions into one cohesive composition.

3.  Where will you most effectively place your word or words?

You could include a word or words on the face of your image.  Perhaps you could mount your image on a plaque and print your words on the backside.  This affords ample space for enough words to tell your story well.