Showing a sense of place

King’s is excited to bring back the photo essay contest for grade 11 & 12 students. The theme for this contest is to create a photo essay showing a sense of place.

Contest Guidelines

  • Students need to take six to ten photos that tell a story of what it’s like to be in a certain location. Please read below for some strategies and examples.
  • A strong photo essay has a good opening and closing photo and tells a narrative for the viewer. A photo essay can’t be a random collection of nice photos from your hometown, there needs to be a narrative binding them together.
  • Students will write a 100­­­-300-word introduction that sets up the photo essay. They will also include short captions for each photo. The captions should be one or two short sentences in length that support the photos in pushing the story along.
  • The photos should be in-focus, have a strong sense of subject and be well lit. Students can achieve this by using a DSLR or a smartphone camera.
  • We do not want students breaking COVID-19 protocols or putting themselves in danger to complete this contest. Please keep safety in mind while planning your photo essay.

Ways to shoot a photo essay

  • Focus on telling stories. Everyone has a story –work to get a deeper level of photos of the people in a certain location. This could be of strangers or people you know. Early in the first lockdown, the Guardian did a photo essay on everyday people still taking the subway in London. The New York Times photojournalists did a project called Still Lives focused on shooting their families, friends and people close to them. Both of those examples are below.
  • Capture the feeling of a place. Everyone thinks they need to fly somewhere to get exotic and compelling photos. Yet, National Geographic has sent its photographers to Nova Scotia many times in the past. How would you capture the area you are in for people that don’t live there? What does it feel like to live where you do?
  • There is an old saying in photojournalism from Robert Capa, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” However, even six feet away from someone, you are closer than most people get when taking pictures. Make sure to obey social distancing rules and don’t put yourself in danger to get a photo–it’s never worth it.

How to enter the contest

We prefer students to send us their submissions via a Google Drive folder. We would like the photos to be sent as their own files and the written portion to be sent as its own file. The best way to connect the caption to the photo will be to either name the photo or number it, and in the written document, write, “Photo 1: (Insert caption).”

Students also need to complete a contest submission form [PDF]

The photo essay is due at 8 a.m. AST on Dec. 22. Please email the Google Drive folder and submission form to Please don’t hesitate to email Josh if you have any questions!

Photo essay examples


Want to build your photography skills before submitting a contest entry? On Nov. 28 at 4 p.m. AST, King’s will host a photojournalism workshop for high school students where they can learn how to shoot a photo essay.