Recently I did a photoshoot with a friend of mine Sam and I've never been more proud of a collection of photographs as I am with this set. Before I go further, let me show you the end result of 1 of the photos from the set.
Now, I know to some this may just seem like a photo anyone can take and edit. To some degree you're correct, however for me getting to this image has been a journey. Looking back on my first few set of "model" photos and looking at this photo just shows a %2000 increase progress. In fact the image is below was shot when I thought I was good at photography and in particular editing and as you can clearly see, I, I just wasn't.
Look at the first image and then look at the second image and see the IMMENSE difference. Now I admit the second image was taken a bit different but believe it or not, that's my edited version. YEA I KNOW! That's just a really bad photo, but with time I have gotten better and my elation is hard to hide.
Now returning to the original few words about the photoshoot I did this weekend. Several things happened that illustrate just how much I've improved not only my photography, but also my editing.
"I'm Very Bad at Directing Models"
I've always been bad at directing people. I've always had this thing about telling people what to do and as crazy as that may sound, I abhor forcing people to do things I want them to do. However I've realized that if I want to get a particular shot or a look I need to tell people what to do. I've realized that it's ok to tell these people (models, MUA's, etc) what to do because they understand that for them to do their jobs they have to have someone telling them what I want so they can do their jobs.
Though I still feel strangely about it, I am working on my own way of communicating to models especially because they need the most directing. They need to know what I need them to do so that they can give me the best look possible for the image I see in my head. MUA's and stylist aren't as difficult because as long as you have a mood board set up for them, they can then take inspiration from that and present something that is their own. They can take photos of people on a beach or in a bar and come up with a look that is uniquely their own based on how they see the image. Thats their creativity flowing and if you need a lot of direction to be creative then something is wrong and you're not necessarily a "creative" person.
Models need constant input. They constantly need the photographer to tell him/her what to do because they are a physical manifestation of what the photographer sees and without direction, they're just empty vessels.
There are times however when having a model just doing her thing without any direction can yield some fantastic results. The image above is a result of such an event that took place during my recent photoshoot with Sam.
We were trying for about 30 minutes to get a particular shot where she was standing and a long curtain was draped over her and wrapped around her body covering her breasts and vagina to create a somewhat tasteful look. The image was going to be in black and white and would have been amazing (in my mind). However, nothing was going to plan, mainly because we needed at least another person to help hold the curtain taught around her body. So we took a brake and tried to problem solve and by we I mean me. Sam was fixated on the Baltimore Ravens game that was on the tele and decided she was going to just lay on the sofa while I came up with a plan. After searching for around 4 minutes, and looking online for inspiration to see if I could find something similar (failed) I looked up and saw Sam in the position she was in in the photo and told her not to move and keep watching the game. I got my camera and started taking a few shots.
This series of about 15 photos was taken with the only light source being a huge set of curtain windows and bumping up my ISO to about 800 and just snapped away. What came out were some of the best photos of the evening. After that moment I decided to use only available light when necessary as my apartment was very brightly lit due to the giant windows that were present.
Another of those unexpected results of having a model just doing her thing and essentially being herself is this photo. I was fiddling with my camera and Sam and I were just cracking jokes at each other. I forgot what was said but the look on her face is the look of (I'm going to kill you) based off of something I said. Again I'm not sure what I said, but whatever it was yielded this photo and this photo, in my eyes, is a good photo for the simple reason that it was unexpected and was triggered by a word or phrase.
All in all, this photoshoot was arguably my best shoot ever. It had aspects of a lot of things that I wanted to work on. My direction got better, my editing got better and I learned more and more about just seeing things first with my eyes and then with my camera. I also learned that there are times when telling people what to do is ok if I want to get my desired result. From here on in then, I should be producing better and better images.
Let's see what happens.