In this – I speak only for myself, I can’t say that every photographer feels the same; however, after photographing for over two decades it is how I work best.
Let the artist create.
As an artist – inspiration is a beautiful thing. When you schedule a portrait session – tossing out ideas that you like or maybe sending a photo that you adore is a great direction to give a photographer so that we know the style that you like. Brainstorm with your photographer about themes and the things you love best about your child, you as a couple, your wedding so that we get your energy and what makes you excited and happy. But I have to say – my best images and best sessions have been when the client then comes in and says… do what you do best. Personally it opens my mind faster, and allows me to create images that I love and in the end – the result is typically the showcase images you see on the walls or in the albums, or submitted into professional photographic competitions. While a real professional photographer can re-create nearly anything he or she sees – it takes away our art and becomes nothing special to us. I don’t like copying – I get asked a lot to do shots by another and typically nod my head and do a quick shot and then move on to images that are how I see it best. Nobody has the same body type, no child is the exact same, and no image should be copied. When I shoot – I read personalities, most of the time I develop shots in my head based on the subject’s natural expressions or the way they react back to me – and THAT is when you get the best images out of an artist.
So story boards are great for inspiration – but replication to an artist is tying their hands…. and wouldn’t you rather have something completely you and unique anyway?
There is nothing more exciting to most photographers than shooting something creative, out of the ordinary, unique. As business people we know that we need to appeal to our clients, know what they would like best to be a profitable business – as well as put a smile on their face when they see images they are happy with. But – what drives me as an artist are those people that walk through my door and say – “Do what you do best – I trust you.”
2012 is my year of creative control for me.
Each year, instead of making a new year resolution – I try to decide one point of my art/carrier/life that I will take focus on, and then make sure it will still strike a balance that includes my family.
Early in my career I made calendars and timelines that I stuck to strictly for marketing/mailing & never really faltered from the “plan.” I have to say – it worked/works – and many of us creative minds really need the map to keep us on course. Then I had children – and realized no matter what the calendar said, family was controlling my calendar and in the beginning I felt very restricted and even sad at how little control I had over my life.
In 2011, I finally got my “creativity” flowing again. I made some new connections and lasting friendships with others in my industry and we had an amazing time creating and playing – doing what we do best. It is refreshing working with other vendors where everyone is let loose to make their own creative decisions and in the end we all have smiles on our faces and feel so satisfied with what we created & photographed.
2012 I have decided is my creative control year. As always, I shoot for my clients… what I know they want, what they think they want, and then toss in a few of what I want. It is a great formula & I know it works for me. I encourage any photographer to use this formula if they need to support themselves doing their craft. After a couple decades doing this, I’m just changing the order of priority. Why change it? For one, I’m finally finding that what I want is more and more what my clients actually want in the end. So I’m popping a little more inspiration into my shoots, and asking more questions ahead of time so that I can be 100% prepared for getting EVERYTHING I can get from each shoot.
That being said – I’m so excited for some inspiration shoots we have coming up… and I don’t want to give anything away quite yet, but I’ll be keep you posted on what’s ahead coming in March-October this year.