Learn how to arrange images to tell a story.

What is a Story Collection?

A Story Collection is essentially a collection of related images that tell a story. It is a photo collage of balanced images. Balanced in shape or size, colour, light and shadow, black and white. Images that work well together and of course tell a story.

Why create a Story Collection?

It’s a fantastic way to showcase your images, as prints or wall art and of course, social media. They make great gift ideas for Christmas and birthdays too. It also teaches us how to arrange images to tell a story that has an impact. It could be a platform to start to sell your art, by placing 4, 6, 9 or even 12 images into a framed print.

Tips for creating a Story Collection.

  • Visit Pinterest and find some inspiration for different types of Story Collections or photo collages. Here’s the Pinterest Board I shared with my BootCamp Members.
  • Consider your main Point of Interest, what is the ONE thing you wish to focus on with your story? Perhaps there are supporting elements? Example: Halloween or Christmas may be your theme, with people and family, but also capture the essence of that theme.
  • Try using a variety of shots to form your collection. From wide-angles to close-ups and everything in between.
  • Don’t forget to check out what else is in your frame, you want to remove any distractions.
  • Move around within your scene and capture your subject from the best possible angle or vantage point.
  • Then choose your best images to tell your story. You could tag them in Lightroom, add them to a Collection and then use the Print Module to make your collage with a Template or even make a new template.
  • Next, you need to decide on your layout. Here are some examples; square 1:1 (20” x 20”), rectangle 2:3 (16” x 24”) or 4:5 (24” x 30”) or wide 16:9 (18” x 32”). How many images do you want in each collection? Don’t put in too many, twelve is usually more than enough. Perhaps you only want four or six.

Birthday Party Story

This is my last story collection for this BootCamp Challenge and it features ME and a few of my family and friends. It was a combined birthday party and it was the very first time I’ve ever twirled fire – and I survived it! What is the story that this collection tells you?

Tell a compelling story with your images!

Arrange your images for maximum impact. Consider your composition of each image and the overall collage. Remember that visual weight is important, ie don’t have all the dark images at the top, spread them out. Likewise, spread out the wide-angles and closeups, don’t have them all bunch in together. Keep lights and darks staggered.

It’s a lot of FUN!

Slow down and enjoy the creative process. Decide on your main point of interest and shoot intentionally.

Photo BootCamp Magazine

Let’s take a look at what story our BootCamp members have created for this month’s challenge.

And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!

Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…
Creating Triptych

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Inside BootCamp Magazine

Featured Artist

Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here is our featured artist of the month, Greg Skehan, from Sri Lanka.

He was fortunate to visit a place called Yudanaka in Japan a few years ago. Most people travel there to see the snow monkeys, so-called because in winter they venture down to bathe in pools that are thermally heated. Often covered in snow when they arrive, it must be an amazing sight. He arrived in the middle of summer! No snow of course, but many very young monkeys are being carefully nurtured by parents. It was a mesmerizing place to quietly sit, observe and reflect.

Comment: Denis O’Byrne“Hi Greg. A very good set of photographs. Nicely put together with good balance. In the centre one I wonder could the Red Face of the adult be toned down a bit. Well done.”

Cover Image

This month’s featured magazine cover image is by Dianne Pacey from Australia.

During lock-down Dianne had spent more time in her garden with her camera and enjoying the rhythm of the seasons. She loves the Agapanthus which appears in the lead up to Christmas time but never quite lasts until Christmas day. She was watching them coming into bud and gradually opening to the lovely flower that they are. These photos were taken one day when it had been raining and she tried to capture just that simple story of lovely flowers in the rain. Some are taken with a macro lens and others with a wider lens.

Comment: Richard Hutson“Dianne, Nice work … I like the way you have shown the progression of the bloom in the outer images, and the raindrops on the green leaf in the center are great.”

Active Members

Let’s take a look at some of the story collections our BootCamp members‘ created this month.

We’ll start with Craig Mattner from Australia. He recently visited Victor Harbor, a seaside town south of Adelaide. He knew the backyard they were staying in had some flowers so he decided to try out some photography with a macro lens. The weather was rather inclement and blustery, but the fences helped to dampen the breezes. The bobbing of the flowers was frustrating him, so he tried something he had not tried before. He set the camera to manual focus and worked out where the focal plane was for various focus settings. He would then move through the focal plane with burst mode switched on. This seemed to be helping to capture a frame that was in focus. Craig noticed some bees visiting the nasturtiums. He started testing this approach with the bees only to photograph their backsides. But then something extraordinary happened. He noticed a bee heading toward a little nasturtium bud just bobbing gently to his left. The bee landed. He moved in with the camera. He pressed the shutter and moved through what he hoped was the focal plane all the while trying to keep the bee in the frame. Twelve frames and about two seconds later, the bee flew off. Wow! Craig was so pleased to discover the image that is front and central in this story collection you see below.

Comment: Denis O’Byrne“Hi Craig. Great set of shots. I really like this display. Well arranged and the different sizes play well together, and enhance the whole display. Well done.”
Next, we have Michael Street from the United States. It has been a challenge for Michael getting plugged in and was sorry that he missed the Live Zoom call. It looked like fun. This story collection is based on his lemon tree. All of the lemons have ripened so he was about to harvest them and make lemonade.
Comment: Ron du Bois“Super shades of yellow Michael; nice balance.”
Eugene Brannan from the United States is next. Autumn is a great time to be outdoors and to photograph changing colors, hike, and enjoy the great outdoors. His first collection is from a day trip that he enjoyed yesterday to nearby waterfalls and mountains. His collection includes both waterfalls and photos of the changing colors (although they are almost all gone). DeSoto Falls is a 104-foot waterfall located in the West Fork of the Litter River near Mentone, Alabama. The falls and the Little River is unique because it flows for most of their length atop Lookout Mountain. The Little River Canyon carved by the Little River is one of the deepest canyon systems east of the Mississippi River.
Comment: Jenine Tracey“Hi Eugene, yes I like this version. Thank you for having a play around with it because the blues are now broken by the waterfalls. This looks great on the full screen because I find the waterfalls are the heroes and for me, they really stand out now. The images of foliage have now become the friends of the waterfalls if that makes sense to you. Well done!”
Ron du Bois from Great Britain is next. Ron has been a bit slow this month getting to grips with the challenge and not able to dip in as much as he would have liked. The holiday season makes him think of the young in the world and our need to nurture (top row), protect (middle row), and carry them (bottom row) through the tough era we are all enduring right now. These are archive shots that he used to try to get the technique right, taken in Namibia, Botswana, and Madagascar.
Comment: Caroline Holdstock“What a thoughtful collection and beautifully captured. This tells an important story very eloquently. I particularly like the lion in the green foliage in the middle, it catches my eye and then I move around the other pictures.”
Next is Sig Rannem from Canada. His first submission for this challenge required that Sig use a workaround. He was unable to get to the “Page Setup” in the Print module in LR Classic. Clicking on the “Page Setup” button led him to Print Setup instead, where he’s not able to set a custom paper size. He tried everything he can think of to resolve this including searching on the Internet but without any success. So he used the “Print Screen” function, pasted the result into Paint, and then cropped in on the image collection.
Comment: Greg Skehan“Hi Sig. This is a very well laid out collection and a wonderful reminder of the natural beauty of autumn colours. I like the introductory photo that “sets the scene” and the bottom mid photo is the one that really stands out to me – it reminds me of an artist’s paint palette.”
And then we have Richard Hutson from the United States. The images for ‘Walk Through the Woods’, taken with his Leica Q2M, were created specifically for this challenge. These photos were shot a few days ago along a section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail in the Presidio, San Francisco. The trail started in a dense Eucalyptus Forest (upper left) and soon moved into a stand of Monterey cypress saplings surrounding the ‘Goldsworthy Spire’ (top center). Soon the trail passed through mature cypress groves in which occasional openings provided vistas to the Bay (middle section). The images in the top right and bottom left corners feature cypress cones. The bottom center image displays a gnarled oak surrounded by dense native chaparral. The bottom right corner presents the trail again returning to the woods. The strong shadow across the trail compelled me to press the shutter.
Comment: Sheree Ebanks“Wow Richard. You have set these out beautifully! I love the framing in the centre, the diagonal line bottom right leading to the centre… the handling of B&W. Also love how you have framed the middle ones on the left and the right–and of course the branches of the evergreen pointing to the centre. So well put together and lovely shots. They work so well in B&W. Well done, this is outstanding!”
Next we have Kerrie Clarke from Australia. They have a local historic steam train that was built for a narrow-gauge track in 1900. It was built for growers of fruit and ornamental trees to the east of Melbourne to transport their stock to the city. The railway now runs as a tourist train, primarily run by volunteers. Tourism is the backbone of our local community. This train used to run at least 5 times return 7 days a week. Due to Covid, it has not run for the last 2 years. He managed to capture its the first day back on the track… all but one of these images was shot in the past 2 weeks.
Comment: Laura Griffiths“Wow Kerrie these are so lovely and they look just like yesteryear photos. What a lovely collection. They could use you for advertising the train.”


  • Story collections are a fantastic way to showcase your images
  • They make terrific gifts and presents
  • Collections teach us how to arrange our images to tell a story with impact
  • Collections can help tell more of the story we are trying to tell.
  • Collections can be as little as four images, but generally no more than twelve.

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Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent

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