Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Photo Essay

Common Mistakes When Handling a Photo Essay Assignment

A photo essay is an excellent avenue for artists to express their emotions via pictures and very few words. If you are taking a photography or art class, your instructor will give you a photo essay assignment to observe how creative you are. You can score high grades if your photos can evoke viewers' emotions.

When tackling your assignment, there are some mistakes that you should avoid if you want to score a good grade. It is worth remembering that unlike your typical essays, texts in a photo essay serve as descriptions, and your photos are the assignment's center.

4 Common Mistakes That Students Make in Photo Essays

There are some mistakes that you should avoid if you want to have an exemplary photo essay. Here are 4 of the common errors.

Not Having a Theme

Your photo essay should have a theme, just like a typical essay. The theme will dictate how your images flow and how they articulate your intended message. Having a topic before embarking on your photoshoot is essential because you will know the kind of photos you should focus on to bring your ideas to life.

If you have a theme from the onset, the chances of having photos that are all over the place are very minimal. If your instructor did not allocate a theme to you, ensure that you pick one that you are passionate about because if you choose any random one, it won't bring your ideas to life. It is vital to remember that you might have excellent photos; however, they will lose their meaning if you do not have a theme.

Failure to Understand the Target Audience

Before working on your photo essay, you should consult your instructor so that they can give more details about the target audience. You might have a fantastic theme; however, your intended message will not be passed if it is wrong for your target audience.

Additionally, if you do not understand who your target audience is, they might lose interest in your work. Once you know the audience, create an essay that will not offend them. When creating, you should not only focus on the images but also your captions. Your photos might be excellent; however, if your captions are offensive, people will most likely lose interest in your work.


Consistency involves having an orderly photo essay that demonstrates you had a clear goal and understood your audience. An inconsistency arises when you have an array of photos that deviate from your original theme.

If you have an inconsistent theme, you are most likely to confuse the audience. Ensure that all your photos stick to your chosen theme so that the audience remains intrigued.


If you are using another photographer's ideas, it is best to give them credit. Plagiarism happens if you use their images and fail to acknowledge them. Doing this will not only get you low grades but will also question your credibility.

If your instructor gave you the go-ahead to use another artist's work, you should not pass it as your own.

If you are working on a photo essay, have these common errors at the back of your mind to ensure that you do not have them in your work.

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