It's in the Details: How Details Shape Your Documentary-Storytelling Session | Jess Nicole Photography | Norfolk, Virginia
In my last blog (I'll link that here), I shared something that stuck with me from elementary school about details and how they support the main idea of a story. The teacher gave us a little illustration to help us remember these things: Picture a hamburger, the main idea of the hamburger is the patty and everything else you add to that are the details (condiments, lettuce, cheese, etc.).
So, just like any good story, we can support our "main idea" pictures with supporting details. And yes, it's true, a picture is worth a thousand words and one picture can tell a whole story (it's so true!), but I cannot resist filling up a gallery with supporting details of the session. In an ideal world, you'd assemble your gallery into a beautiful photo album (or better yet, let me make you a custom one!) and you would have a wordless, yet poetic, story to pass down generation after generation.
Sometimes in when shooting details, we shoot the scene just as it is- this helps shape the setting of our story.
Take this photo below for instance: I could show you a picture of us as a family playing out in the snow, but if I showed you this picture alongside of it, "the aftermath", it become so real and so relatable. Does it not? What mother has not walked in the door to this scene? Shoes scattered, melted snow puddles, layers of clothing tossed about...I look at this and just laugh. This is life, I tell ya- every single member of our family is represented.
Oh details, how I love them.
I said above that we shoot the scenes to help shape the setting of our story, but sometime we get much closer and photograph smaller, more intimate details of the scene to support the main idea of our story.
I especially love hands. Hands tell us so much about a person, they can give us clues about their age, their occupation, what they've been through. As humans, we are so expressive with our hands. You'll often find that your hands, or the action your hands are doing, will be the subject of a photograph I've taken.
Photographs often are visual representations of what we think is important. When we look at detail shots, especially in combination with the images overall from a photo shoot, it serves a few purposes. Firstly, it highlights things that we may forget over time. Like the piggy tail in the picture below. This is so iconic of those first little piggy tails we can make when their hair finally gets long enough to pull it back! As a mother, I never want to forget how those sweet little piggy tails looked and how they stood out straight from her little head! Secondly, details draw attention to the personality of the subject. The shoes in the picture below the piggy tails- Batman rainboots and Converse. What a classic pair! A match made in heaven!
Thirdly, the bodily details (like hands, toes, etc), children change so quickly and so much, I often want to photograph traits that are unique to them, just to highlight their individuality. And lastly, I always try to photograph the things that are special to them, like their favorite pacifier or their "lovey".
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.