I don’t like to overplan my photo shoots. Of course having a time and day and a good idea what the client is after is mandatory. And that isn’t to say that I don’t come prepared to my shoots. I do my research and I know from experience what I will need to bring in order to assure a smooth photo session.
But, I also like to allow for at least some improvisation on every shoot I do. Because I am convinced that professional photographers are hired not for the amount of equipment they own or even how long they’ve been shooting, but rather for their eye, and how they see the world. And, for me, my eye captures things in the moment, and each shot feeds off the one before, and helps me think about the one that comes after.
Trusting this instinct and this creative process can be scary! I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered to myself, ‘What it the inspiration doesn’t come?!’ or ‘What if I get there and start shooting and every idea I have falls flat?’ But, I feel that self talk is just what the brain does sometimes when I am going into a new situation. I have to remind myself that I kinda know what I am doing, of all the work I’ve done so far, all of the photos that I’ve been able to create thus far, and how, despite this taunting self talk, I’ve never once had this happen on a shoot.
On my shoot for a local Thai restaurant last week, I was actually shooting in another location, as the restaurant isn’t open just yet. It is another restaurant, and has a lot of dark wood and great windows with indirect light. I was shooting on a table next to the window, and noticed this long section of beautiful painted red brick along the windows, which was basically acting a a window ledge. I hadn’t planned for this, I was expecting to shoot on one of the tables for most of the shoot.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen Thai food, and the variety of colors and ingredients that really good Thai dishes and recipes have in them. There are such beautiful reds and greens in them. The dishes that I ended up shooting that day were so colorful, so I decided to try placing them on the brick to see what happened...
I'm so glad I did. It made a few of the dishes absolutely pop and made these ingredients stand out far more than on the table with the neutral background did. Honestly, these unplanned and impromptu photos ended up being my very favorite ones.