Last week I had a shoot with model St. Merrique and I was thinking about how I operate before a model shoot. It’s exclusive to model shoots because these are the kind that usually require special planning in advance. If I’m traveling, it’s all about being open to the experiences presented to you; if you’re doing a family shoot or a wedding, those are pretty by-the-book. But an artistic model shoot is different.
1. I have to establish what category the images will fall under. If they are going in my “pop” or “mythology” categories, then it’s digital and the D700. I take this camera no matter what, but there has to be some conciousness as to what I’m going to do. The images I paint on or Vesna does embroidery on, those need to be composed a certain way.
2. When I have my category, I look over what I already have shot and what I could add to the series. In the case of the scanner series, I have quite a few that prominently feature squished faces, boobs and hands, so if I want the series to be any more than that the next people I scan have to do something different. Scanning St. Merrique, we did some of her back and swirly hair that looked special and unique.
3. At this point I may do a sketch or two, gather props, but the most important step seems to be…
4. Forget most of my plans or anxiety and let instinct and experience guide me during a shoot. So often a prop, or some other element of a “plan” doesn’t work, but there’s amazing light over thataway, so let’s go thataway and take the good photos rather than struggle.
Trust in your own talent. You’ll get more good pictures that staying driving concepts into the ground.