May 1, 2012

Creative Shooting Guide

We photographers spend a lot of time trying to create beautiful photographs for our clients. So much that we sometimes drain ourselves, lose our creativity and possibly have a desire to throw our camera into traffic. We may be overloaded with too many clients, or we may not have the clients we want yet, and that can lead to frustration, and that burned-out feeling. Sometimes we might feel that we are shooting the same people, using the same poses, at the same locations.

There are really no rules to creative shoots, but these tips might help in your quest to improve and get you out of the rut!

1. WRITE IT DOWN: I don't know any photographer who hasn't been haunted by some image in his/her mind. Maybe the image came from a dream, from an idea, from another inspiring photographer or from a real life experience. But it's sitting there, waiting to be plucked from other mundane thoughts to be fully fleshed out and realized. Keep a pad of paper and pen by your bed, in your car, by your computer. I personally use the notes app on my smart phone. Whatever method you choose, just write your ideas down. Keep writing them down even if you never think you'll be able to shoot it.

2. SUBJECT: Know exactly what type of subject you need for your creative project and don't be shy about asking. Have you ever seen someone - on the street or at a store - and have the great desire to photograph them? Just ask - the worst that can happen is that they'll say no. I've heard some people have success with Model Mayhem. Just be sure to ask your local photography group (LVP Network or Vegas PUG) for recommendations.

3. LOCATION:  This is not as hard as it may seem. Start with what locations you have access to that other photographers don't. For me, I would start with my husband's law office. It's in downtown Las Vegas, and used to be someone's home. It is charming, unique and very well decorated. Really think about it - I guarantee you will come up with something.

4. CHALLENGE YOURSELF:  Come up with a way to challenge yourself. This will really force you to be creative and think outside of the box. Some examples; challenge yourself to never photograph the model's face entirely; only shoot from the hip - literally; try to shoot only from a certain angle, down low or on a stool, etc.

5. COLLABORATE: Again, start with what you have access to. For me, I am friends with a great hair stylist. I know her, I trust her tastes and I know whatever she does will be gorgeous. I also know an amazing decorator. She could do an incredible table if I ever wanted to do a styled shoot. I don't know a wardrobe stylist or florist. However, if I start with my hair stylist friend or decorator, THEY probably know a florist or wardrobe stylist - get the idea? Start with one person, and collaborate from there. In my experience, collaborating with other creative artists only makes you better, they give you more ideas, sometimes even better ideas, and all of you together will inspire each other, making the whole shoot more satisfying and rewarding.

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