I thought today I might share a little of the behind the scenes information on shooting a conceptual shoot, as I find it is the most often asked question……..
“how or where do you get your inspiration?”
Firstly I find if I work in a series it is far less stressful. I can work out the basic scenario and then I just have to work out the individual images. The hard work is in the initial setup.
I have a shoot list and I will pick random things that can help me create the base image; colour, mood, theme, character, emotion, scene, time period, props, etc. So I might pick red, woman, dress, sorrow, ocean, cliff, dark and intense, sitting or standing, late afternoon sun. So I have pretty much all the elements; a woman in a red dress, sitting on a chair, on a cliff overlooking the ocean, sun glinting off the waves. Then I might add unexpected elements, the balloons and bear, is there a story in the teddy bear and balloons? What does it say to you? I love the juxtaposition……I mean why on earth is a woman sitting on a cliff in a red ball gown with a teddy bear and a bunch of balloons? Such fun!
Same dress, same location, but I wanted a sense of freedom with the light breaking through the clouds and wind blowing her hair and dress. In both of these images I went for over saturated colours. I wanted to create a sense of freedom and flight.
This next image is so simple, yet powerful at the same time; a simple tu-tu and ballet pointe shoes. Same again I wrote a list; Blue, tu-tu and ballet pointes, dark and dramatic, no people, a little mysterious. Does it tell a story, where is the drama or point of interest, add a pop of colour and heavy contrast……what story does it tell?
Things that also need to be considered is;
- A clever (or fun) Idea and great photos
- Cool setting or Background (Even a plain black backdrop is great in the right setting)
- Beautiful Models or real people (Someone you can connect with, sometimes it is anonymous with no faces as such) remember the hero does not have to be a person.
- Unorthodox wardrobe (Honestly some of my ‘clothes’ are sheets pegged at the back)
- Unexpected Props and poses (Red Balloons and teddy bear)
- Composited elements (will I add additional elements or just as it is shot)
- Trick Photography (levitations shots)
- Textures for toning
- De-saturated or over saturated/ Dark or Light
- Use of one striking colour (perhaps red or blue on black or white, I love mauves, blues and reds.)
These are questions I ask myself, I don’t use all of the aspects listed above, but just a few, so one simple pose, one single prop, plain Black background. For Instance in my Tarot series I am mostly going for Dark desaturated colours. Jess below in wearing just street clothes with a platinum blonde wig and a black cape, holding a wooden branch in front of a black background
The smoke, light beams, vines and butterflies are added in post in photoshop. Also I used additional textures subtly to add depth. The below image is shot on site, with just the bird added in post, so the actual shot was taken keeping in mind I wanted to add a bird on Mel’s finger, and she is looking directly at it.
So even after all this I still get asked, where do the ideas come from? Dapper Rabbit came to me in a dream and the story flowed from there, once I had the story I had the images I would required, the models, scenes, props, poses etc.
Alice………so easy; Jess had the costume and I just watched the movie and flicked through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, wrote out a shot wish list
The Tarot, my initial inspiration was from Rusty McDonald and Dividing Me……and then of course I went straight to the Tarot Cards for my shot list, needed particular props and poses; wands, swords, crowns, cups and am still working on my pentacle.
The Red Dress series was inspired by a red ball gown I was given, just needed different locations and moods and props. This is a continuing series. So I have a woman (usually) in a red dress…….I think of different locations and props. The Beach, a forest, sitting, standing, add in some props, do I want day or night, do I want happy, sad, anger etc. What mood, what atmosphere etc, etc, etc.
If you practice on these enough, it becomes a much quicker process. I also am always looking on-line; Flickr, IG, 500PX, DeviantArt, ShiftArt, YouTube, plus of course some of my favourites like Brooke Shaden and Rusty McDonald for an endless supply of inspiration.
P.S. Still not sure? Try this one hour YouTube video from Brooke, it literally changed the way I think and work.