11 Feb Why Every Professional Photographer Should Learn Their Visual Vocabulary, from Competition Judge Rachel LaCour Niesen
Hello, members, from the NAPCP team!
To those of you who have already entered the NAPCP January 2015 International Image Competition — YAY! — you did it! And thank you!
For our friends who still want to do so, you have until tomorrow, Thursday, February 12, at 11:59 PM EST to enter, before your images become virtual pumpkins! We would LOVE to see your work!
Have a fabulous week, and enjoy our final, beautifully written Competition Judge’s piece, from Rachel LaCour Niesen.
It’s elementary: every sentence in a story needs a noun and a verb. The swimmer is swimming. The runner is running. The singer is singing. Those basic elements of sentence structure tell readers all the information they need to know. Yet readers yearn for more. They don’t just want to know facts, they want to feel something.
Consider these sentences:
The swimmer swam, shivering in the shallow, inky water that glistened in bright moonlight.
The runner ran, quivering through the last steps of the steamy summer marathon.
The singer sang, crooning with the fierce fervor of a song bird.
Suddenly, readers sense what the characters feel, see, and experience. These sentences aren’t simply composed of nouns and verbs, they are peppered with adjectives. Words like inky, bright, steamy, and fierce boldly breathe life into a story. Without adjectives, sentences lack depth, stories lack emotion.
Adjectives are as essential to great photographs as they are to great stories.
Any photographer can capture moments that have nouns and verbs. The bride tosses the bouquet. The groom kisses the bride. The best man gives a speech. Each of these obligatory moments can be found in any photographer’s portfolio. They are easy, obvious images that people expect to see.
Photographers who give their clients more than obvious images leverage the power of adjectives.
Consider your clients’ favorite photographs. They convey mood and reveal emotion. Just like adjectives elicit emotional responses and make readers feel connected to characters in a story, photographs that elicit emotional responses make viewers feel connected to an image. “Adjective photos” are often more valuable to clients because they are more difficult to discover and capture.
Rachel LaCour Niesen, Steward of Stories & Founder of SaveFamilyPhotos, is a Yankee by birth but a Southern storyteller at heart. When a much-loved uncle gifted her with her first SLR camera, Rachel found her calling in photography. In pursuit of her passion, she headed to the University of Missouri, where she studied Photojournalism and Art History. Since then her work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. Along with her business partners, she founded LaCour, a wedding photography studio based in Atlanta. As LaCour grew, the team founded ShootQ, a cloud-based business management application for photographers. In 2010, ShootQ was acquired by Pictage. When she’s not curating old family photos, she enjoys adventures with her husband and partner in entrepreneurship, Andrew Niesen.