Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Disclaimer: Yet another half-baked post ;)

Sometimes I go into the studio and I know exactly what I want to do. Sometimes I go into the studio and I have no idea what I'm going to do.

There seems to be no correlation between being prepared and having a successful shoot.

I want to say that this isn't entirely true. I really do. I want to tell you that my best shoots are the ones that I planned from head to tail. But I'd be lying if I said that... because some of my best shoots have been half-baked (no I'm not talking about weed), or not even baked at all.

The title of the post says "Settled/Unsettled". I believe that there exists a correlation between being settled/unsettled and having a successful shoot. In my recollection my best shoots were my most comfortable shoots. In the sense that I felt at ease. Flowy even. Inspiration came in waves. No resistance in getting good shots.

That being said, my Psychology background is raising a red flag with my previous statement and asking whether settled/unsettled is the cause or rather the effect of having a successful shoot? It's totally understandable that you'd feel more settled when you're having a great shoot right?

But let me raise some world examples. I remember a shoot I had back in February where I was burned out from too many shoots, obviously suffering from sleep deprivation, uninspired to create anything new, and having trouble getting a model to emote and come alive in front of the lens. I was flustered as hell. Everything was wrong. The pictures came out bland, like unsweetened iced-tea or unseasoned chicken. I walked into that shoot unsettled. Being unsettled was not the result shooting poor images.

Then I've had shoots where I've laughed my head off the entire day and pretty much did whatever the hell I wanted. Ironically the pictures came out great. I'd walk into the studio perfectly settled... the same way that the center of the hurricane is calm, knowing full well events could potentially go to hell in a hand basket but not thinking or caring about it at all. I talked about this in
Tip of the day: Confidence and maybe that's all there is to it? There's something to be said about walking into the studio perfectly settled all the while not knowing exactly what's going to happen...

I have ideas. They need some more time in the oven. Some of them need to be tested in real life before we'll know whether or not they'll work. Like, we'll have Tessa pretending to lie on the sheets strung up on both sides of the frame (of the camera). Or twist two sets of sheets into a big ball/knot of fabric. Or shoot more frames more dynamically. And definitely light differently... like taking the grid off the beauty dish or using just the 7" reflector? Or how about a 20ยบ gridded 7" reflector? I have tons of things swirling around in my head. Can't wait 'til tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Charles,

    I don't know about you, but when I'm relaxed and not caring about how things will turn out, that's precisely the moment when things just magically toggle into place. I was so into what I was doing-- whether it be a photo session or writing a story-- that I forgot myself all together.

    I think that's what you may be alluding to here. Some people call it stepping into "the zone", like some baseball pitchers or basketball players.

    I think it's when you cease to be your largest obstruction. You're just playing the game-- win, lose or draw-- and you're letting the chips fall wherever they're going to fall. And I find that when I'm in that "zone" or, if you like, when I'm feeling settled, I almost invariably get a higher number of good shots.