I’m back, freshly rested, after a long weekend in SoCal visiting my BFF – and stopping by the motherland (Disneyland), and in the spirit of growth I thought I’d share some reflections from a recent shoot that left me feeling disappointed and slightly disheartened.
But before I go into the gritty details, below are some of the best shots from our 2.5 hour session.
Bikini Tops: Target | Black Bottoms: Forever21 | Shorts: Custom Collective
I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images.
I met Kaori after she responded to an ad I placed on craigslist looking for subjects to shoot with. She saw this shoot I did with Angela and wanted to create something similar. I wanted to make sure the series’ didn’t look too similar so for Kaori, I had a more Americana-retro vibe in mind.
What went wrong?
1. Kaori’s not an actual model. And I mean model in the technical sense. Models understand how to elongate their own bodies with out being told. They understand what positions and angles make their body look appealing. And ideally, they’re extremely facially expressive. Kaori did her best as far as positioning her body and following my directions, but she had a hard time creating unnatural facial expressions (anything other than natural smile, laugh, etc) and struggled getting comfortable in positions she isn’t normally in.
2. My set was tired. We shot this series at a local beach where I shot the boudoir series that inspired Kaori a few weeks earlier. The other shoot went so well, I thought it would be as quick and easy as it was before. But shooting such similar projects in the same location had me struggling to create new images that were different, compositionally, than the ones I got the first time around. Unfortunately, when I shot with Kaori, the tide was out, so that limited the types of shots I was getting even more. I couldn’t use the ocean as a prop or a background at the beach, which is probably the worst thing that could have happen.
3. I didn’t prep properly. I always prep for shoots, with good time in advance, but I’m realizing that what I’m doing may not be the most productive way to do things. For example, when I was figuring out the direction for this series, I looked mostly online for inspo, which I always do, when what would have been a better use of my time would be to meet with Kaori first, get a feel for her personality and what she can do and then go from there. This is much less of an issue when you work with an experienced models, but if you’re not, it can make a huge difference in the kind of photos you’ll get. (*Better prep probably could have helped with my empty ocean issue too)
The good thing is, this was a great opportunity for me to learn some valuable lessons. This shoot changed the way I plan and execute my personal projects from now on, and I feel like taking these 3 points into consideration are going to help me elevate the quality of my shoots. I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images. Now tho, I see the value in taking the time to create work that is of a higher quality, rather than rushing to create a high volume of work.
What are some game changing tips you’ve learned from your past failures?