Planning a shoot..or not

So, how much planning goes into a shoot?  Well, if it's for a client there is plenty of planning.  After all, there's a goal in mind and someone is paying to get it.

How about a basic one-on-one model and photographer shoot?  How much planning is to much and how much is not enough?

Here's how I do it.

First, I consider who I'm shooting.  Hair color and style, eye color, skin, freckles, dimples, just about everything about the persons face goes into the first pass in my mind.  What can I do to make those best features stand out and make it a shoot about them?  People should look at the pictures and either see that I brought something out in the person that they know, or sometimes even better is to show someone in a way no one has ever seen them.  Both are wonderful fun!


So, there are several models I've worked with for over a year now and have over a dozen shoots with.  Often we just plan a day and time and get together to shoot.  Very little planning other than some different wardrobe discussed.  We know each other and know the looks and styles we have to bring to the shoot.  We'll just use the energy and imagination of the moment to come up with something on the fly.  It never fails to be fun, exciting, and far more creative than we expected.  Always.


These two shots are a good example.  Dawn and I have plenty of shoots together.  Probably more than anyone else.  Yet we get together and the ideas start to flow and we knock out a fine memorable shoot.  These two pictures are from one such shoot and there were many other looks in just that one shoot.

That, to me, is a key.  In about 3 hours we did 13 different looks...or what I call sets.  495 images total.  Mixing it up and moving from one look to another can be fun and it keeps the energy flowing in a shoot.  Then, when the shooting is done, I have a full bag of different looks to work with to create my art.

So, bottom line and advice that people might try....don't plan so much.

Do you want to play in a sand box or a beach?