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Card is formatted, lights are ready, now what?

One of the hardest things about shooting, other than all the other hardest things about shooting, was finding inspiration and ideas of just what we should create. It didn’t come easy and within the first 20 minutes I felt like writer’s block would hit me. Shooter’s block?

To be better prepared I started looking all over the net for inspiring ideas. At first I might screen capture some to help remind me to be creative. A few turned into a few hundred…then a few thousand. I felt like I was cheating by using other’s ideas. One day I was talking to an artist friend, Aurora, and told her about my cheating. She laughed and explained all artists use what they call ‘references’. Of course it’s a little different in that a reference image of a hand is to help the artist remember how to shape and shade a hand. My images were to simply inspire new ideas.

So, it grew to a process. Before every shoot I bring up all 1,000 to 4,000 images in my current inspiration folder and pick out about 20.

I pick images that fit:

  • The basic shape of the model

  • The comfort level of the model. (Implied nude or nude typically)

  • studio or location shoot

  • See if there are some interesting lighting schemes I might try

The first 30 minutes of any shoot is warmup. For you and your model/client. I tell them that right up front because if they know it’s just the jitters that always happens at the beginning it actually lessens them because they know it’s just how it is. After that I start shooting the first look we picked out. That often takes us in one or more other lighting schemes and directions. I don’t run back to the inspiration screen until I am finished with whatever creative flow the first look got us. (sometimes we never look back) We’ll flip through some, pick one, and it’s back too creating.

Having inspiration to show the model gives them something to work from too. They are happier having a goal. It can push them to be more imaginative with their posing and creativeness too. The visual helps a lot.

The finished images usually have one thing in common with the inspirational image. There was a person in the picture. (grin)

So, don’t be shy. Find some very cool pictures you would love to create and gather them in a folder. The use them to inspire!!