Photography: Telling Stories

Yukon Territory, Canada

Simon Thomas explains how to elevate your travel photography by ensuring your images tell a great story

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. And, while I certainly agree with this statement, not all photos tell a great story. So, in this masterclass, I’m going to help you get into the mindset of a storyteller in order to help elevate your travel photography.

Before you click the camera’s shutter button, it’s important to decide why you’re taking the shot and what story you want your photo to tell. This sounds simple, but how many times have you got back from a ride with a ton of photos on your SD card and either left them there, or simply deleted most of them?

We’ve all been there. It’s all too easy to take photos of a ride simply because we felt that we should. But honestly, the best photos happen when you’re actually inspired or excited to capture something that you’ve seen or done.


Camera body: Nikon D3
Lens: Nikor 70-200mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 200 mm
Focus Mode: Continuous autofocus
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/4000 seconds
Exposure Mode: Auto
Filter: None used
Exposure Comp: 0
Metering: Spot
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 100
White Balance: Auto
Speed light/Flash: Did not fire.
Picture profile: Neutral
Sharpening: 2
Contrast: 0
Brightness: 0
Saturation: -1
Hue: 0
Processed with: LUMINAR AI and Photoshop
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada
© Simon and Lisa Thomas,

This all may sound rather obvious, right? However, I’ve learnt the hard way over the years that a few moments spent thinking about what it is you want to tell people through your photos can make the difference between an OK shot and an image that turns heads. It really can make a big difference.

Bear in mind that the story a photo tells can be complex or absurdly simple. Take the shot in this article for example. The story I wanted to share with this image was simply the overwhelming grandeur and size of the landscape that we were riding through. We felt both awed and dwarfed by it and I wanted to get this feeling across.

With this in mind, I chose to shoot Lisa from a distance with the mountains towering above her which ensures the landscape and its huge scale are the real star of the shot. Lisa and her bike look small and vulnerable which is an important part of the story too. If I’d taken the photo up close, and the bike filled much of the frame, it wouldn’t have worked as well.

I wanted to share how privileged we felt to be riding through a landscape that I couldn’t describe with a thousand words if I tried. The fact we were travelling through such an epic place was the story of our motorcycle adventure that day, and the photo I took described just that.

So, before you go about snapping your next photo, give yourself a moment and decide, what’s the story here, why am I taking this shot, what is it that I want to share. Combine that with the photography techniques I’ve covered in previous ABR masterclasses over the years and I promise, you’ll create some stunning images.

Discover more about Simon and Lisa’s epic motorcycle adventures online at