The tiniest things tell us the most about people.
A locket on a bride’s bouquet contains a black-and-white photograph of her grandparents, a hand-stitched handkerchief is embroidered with a groom’s monogram, ornate hats are testaments to traditional British wedding culture.
Seasoned photojournalist Alan Berner calls these details “people without people.” He explains, “For me it is the sense of people without them being there. It’s the part representing the whole. It’s the significant detail giving instant insight into the person, organization, the culture.”
Sounds strange, but it’s a powerful concept.
Details reveal key traits about people without actually showing them. These photographs are often tight, close-up shots that give our eyes a chance to linger longer on objects. As photographers, we have a responsibility to use our experienced eyes to capture details that add meaning and memorialize our clients. A bride spends countless hours carefully choosing the details of her wedding day. Each one has a special meaning to her, or to her family. Perhaps she loved lavender in her mother’s herb garden as a child? Maybe she gave an engraved watch to her groom on the wedding day? It’s possible that a small card at the head table honors a cherished grandparent who passed away. These photographs are more than obligatory; they are visual values.
Don’t discount details; they are visual cues that tell a story.
Written by Rachel LaCour Niesen
After graduating from the University of Missouri, where she studied Photojournalism and Art History, Rachel pursued projects focusing on rural communities in Latin America and the Southeastern United States, amassing accolades as a passionate documentary photographer with a keen eye for the human condition. Her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2002, Rachel’s captivating photographs of migrant farmworkers were chosen for a book entitled The Human Cost of Food; Farmworker’s Lives, Labor and Advocacy, published by the University of Texas Press.
Rachel’s love for storytelling photography took an intimate turn when she stumbled upon wedding photography by trading her photographic skills in exchange for a custom-designed wedding gown. Quickly trading her front row seat to world history for a front row seat to family history, Rachel started a wedding photography company, LaCour, with husband Andrew Niesen and friend Mark Adams. In a few short years, LaCour became one of the premiere wedding photography studios in the U.S. and soon families the world over caught on to LaCour’s signature style of authentic storytelling through photographs. In 2008, American Photo magazine recognized LaCour’s contributions to the industry by naming them among the “Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World.”
In 2007 Rachel co-founded ShootQ and now manages the commingled communities of Pictage and ShootQ.