Choose Every Element for The Series
I think if we start breaking down images, then we can plan them so much better. If we really consider every single element of what goes into a picture, first of all, you'll probably have more confidence to sell your work, at better prices. Because if you really think about every decision that goes into an image, there's a lot of decision making involved. And in fact, I have a friend who's pretty indecisive, and she, one day, was like, I'm gonna make a self portrait. I'm just gonna do this. I've seen you do it so many times. I'm just gonna do this. And she sends me these pictures; she's texting me these pictures of her like, laying in her apartment wrapped in a bed sheet, and with the text, this is so hard. And I was like, yes! What a great feeling for a photographer to have somebody that you know be like, wow, what you do is really hard. It's very satisfying because they're thinking about every single decision that we make really easily oftentimes. What camera angle am I going to use? ...
How do I choose my settings? What wardrobe am I gonna use? All those things. There are so many decisions. So let's talk about them. All of the decisions. First of all there's lighting. And I'm just gonna make a comprehensive list of everything I could think of. And if you think of something that's not here, just let me know, and we will add it to the list at some point. But we've got lighting, okay? That's like, first and foremost. You're a photographer, you definitely have to know something about light. Composition. So, I want you to put yourself in the mindset of somebody who has never taken a picture before, and how daunting this list will be to think about. Composition, props, any objects you wanna put in the frame. We've got the set, the location, where are you going to do this when you have literally every option in the world. You could do it anywhere with anything. What are you going to wear for this particular image that you're trying to create, or will your model wear, if that's applicable? Hair and makeup, you know? Are my pig tails appropriate for this photo I'm going to do? Or are they not? Most likely not. But one can dream. Camera lens. I mean, literally, what are you going to use? So, are you going to change your lens, do you want it to be wide, do you want it to be tight? Posing. How am I going to sit or stand, or jump in this picture? What am I going to be doing? That's the hardest one for people who have never taken a picture before, I find. They're like, oh, there's a model. Do something, model. Have you ever heard people say that? Just do something. Oh no. We have to tell them. The time; time of day, time period. Could be either one, but we have to think about those things. The emotion or feeling that you're trying to communicate in the image. The mood and atmosphere. How do you want it to feel, how do you want it to look? The colors that you're choosing; super important. The editing of the image; if you're going to edit it, or not. What will this turn into later? Your physical shooting process. How is it going to go? Do you wanna have five assistants who are all doing the work for you? Do you wanna do it all by yourself? What is your process? Is there a certain genre that you're trying to work in? Do you have an idea of a fairy tale princess photos shoot that you wanna do, and if so, how do you make all of these things fit that genre? Will you print the image later on? Do you ever want this to be in print? Are you paying attention to the resolution? Are you paying attention to the file sizes? Things like that. I couldn't think of a better word for this, but does it have any ephemeral qualities? Is it a piece of art that will go away one day, that has a short shelf life, or is it something that will live on and on, and on? How are you going to work within that? And then theme. Is there a theme that you're working with? So, this is a lot, oh, one more. (laughs) Interactivity, yes. So is this an art piece that is interactive for people? Do you want people to engage in any certain way later on, or is this something that you're gonna keep just for yourself? That's a lot of things to think about. I mean, and this is just what I came up with off the top of my head when I was trying to make a list. And you might think of something else. And if you have anything else, let me know. Still very long list though. But if you do have something, do say. Okay? Okay. That's a lot of things though, and so, when my friend sent me that picture, and she said, this is hard, I didn't just think, ha-ha, she knows how hard it is. I really thought, it is hard. It should be hard, and too often it's not hard for us, 'cause we don't think about these things every single time we take a picture. Let's just be honest. I know that I don't. For sure. I mean, there are so many times when I go create, and I'm like, I love the look of that tree, I'm just gonna make something with it, 'cause it looks cool. And then I start. And, I always get to the end of that process feeling a little bit, one, guilty that I didn't really think it through, and two, I don't really like it that much. It could have been better if I had just thought about every single one of these things, which is daunting. Nobody wants to go out on location, and like, you've got your camera, and you've got this model doing something really cool, and you're like, one moment, while I go through my checklist. Nobody wants to do that. But what if we did? That's my point. What if we did. What if we went through every single one of these things for every single picture we took? I feel like, inherently they would have to be better, or at least more meaningful, 'cause better is a bad word, but more meaningful. In my opinion. So that's what I try to do with my images. And this is actually an image that, I did not love how it turned out. And there were many reasons why I didn't love it. And it was okay, I mean, I'm not saying like, oh, look at this horrible picture that I did, but there were some things lacking. But nonetheless, we can still talk about all of these things, all of these crazy things that went into it. So I thought about, where am I going to take this picture? It was 4am when I got up to take this picture, and part of me was like, you know, I'll just do this against my wall here at home later after I sleep in til seven o'clock. That was part of me that said, I could do this by compositing. I could just put myself in this location later, and who really cares? But then the other part of me said, no, I like to create with experiences. I want to be there. I want to have this experience. So I went there at 4:30 in the morning, and I took this picture. I brought my hula hoop, my trusty hula hoop, that I love so much. It's purple and glittery, and I always have to fight that, but, there it is. I brought a stool. So, so far, what you know is this: I went on location, I brought the props with me that I needed to do everything there without having to composite too much, except for the actual hula hoops that I photographed on location for lighting consistency and angle consistency. And then, I've got this dress, so I'm making conscious decisions about location and wardrobe. I've chosen a location that's pretty nondescript, I've chosen a wardrobe that is certainly nondescript, very simple, all blue, no real time period associated with it. I'm not showing a face, so there's no character consideration here. It's not about the person, it's about the form. And then if we go back, we can probably choose something for every single one of these things that was a consideration, and I would even argue that maybe was not a consideration; that I just forgot to think about. And that's probably why it fell short for me with this particular image.