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Recently I went on assignment to Phuket for F Stop Lounge with fellow contributor Grace Chen to test out Brian from Three Legged Thing. Of course it wouldn’t have been a trip without some general tourist sight-seeing.

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As you can see we decided to hire a taxi for the day to visit the some of the famous locations around Phuket. The Big Buddha Temple was our first stop. I had plans to visit in order to photograph the view as well as see what the monks were up to.

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Walking inside the temple I noticed scaffold and plenty of open space. The temple was still under construction. I thought it would be a good opportunity to test out my travel documentary skills.  Based on my background in film making I was well aware of how to tell a story through moving pictures so I thought it would be a good opportunity to present a brief guide on how to document a story through pictures.

There are five easy steps to documenting a travel story:

1) You should always start by establishing a wide shot to tell the viewer where you are.

2) Secondly introduce the viewer to an object or someone who will play a key part in your documentary story. I typically take a few photos for this step.

3) Thirdly it’s important to show how the object or person interacts with the surrounding environment.

4) Lastly, the most important element is to capture the emotional connection the subject or person possesses. Generally speaking I opt to try to capture the natural environment without disturbance as this typically results in raw emotion being portrayed.

5) If you wish to take more photos I recommend repeating this process from different angles.

Below was my attempt to document the story of the workers at the Big Buddha Temple. I wanted to document the important white tiles and how the workers interacted with each individual piece.

The white tiles I speak of were all inscribed with messages and signatures by visiting tourists whose monetary contributions, physically and financially went toward the building of the Temple. Using my five step documentary guide above hopefully I was able to show this in these next ten photographs.

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Now you know the five main steps of documenting a story, I encourage you to give it a go for yourself on your next travelling adventure or holiday.