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For those who have followed my blog, I last wrote about how Autumn is not just about leaves and conkers, but that a photographer should make the most of all times of year and test their skills. For this blog I had to do just that in order to create these images for a theme that I've called Autumn Halloween. It's not a defined term but the theme was to create a shoot that incorporated Autumn colours and locations, models in pose and to show images that feature coloured background, off camera lighting and monochrome or darker clothing. It's a slightly darker feel to Autumn as we get towards all hallows eve.
For this shoot, I worked with two models and Lyndsey Samuels (Make Up artist) for Maya Wolff's make up and gave the brief that the clothing should be darker in nature, that footwear should be incorporated and that hair and make up should support low light and shadows. The tone of the shots was to produce a warm and selectively lit shot that drew the eye into the picture and create a slightly edgy look.
In my last blog, I talked about heading out when it was raining and testing skills. I wasn't expecting to test is quite so quickly and it's always a gamble to book a model and Make Up and hope the weather holds. With Maya that's exactly what happened as I was greeted with drizzle, wind and cold which doesn't usually make for a fun shoot and leads to even less time shooting. I have to thank both models for their patience and learning how to keep warm between shots and to remain motivated throughout.
its important for a photographer to think not just of multiple things, but to plan for multiple things to maintain control and keep the tempo in a shoot to avoid stasis. Think of a spinning plate and if you don't attend to it, it falls and sometimes to get it spinning again, it either takes to too much effort or the moment is lost. Photography is like that.
For the last of these images, I had to do just that. I had realised that the image quality and pose wasn't correct and I had to ask them both to recreate the pose again. Yes, I hear you say, get it right first time, but it doesn't always work like that. The hardest thing is to anniunce to a model that they need to do the shot again but the worst thing is to walk away knowing you haven't got the shot you need and with every step, it gets harder to put right. The correct thing is to admit the mistake, retake the shot,meet it right and learn from it so that it doesn't happen again. In this case both models were professional, took a deep breath and posed again meaning that the images I needed were captured and ultimately, they were as happy as I was.
Every blog needs a final message I feel and for this one, I would say that I have learned a number of things about myself and this type of shoot. These are:
- plan for multiple types of weather and locations but don't give up
- if you haven't got the shot you needed and you know it, admit you haven't and take it again.
- speak to your models and let them know what's happening. They can't read your mind
- learn from mistakes
Did I make some mistakes? Definitely but they're mistakes I won't make again and I know that these images I've captured here are better than those I could have taken a month ago through this experience .
So summer is on the wane and Autumn is trying to decide if it's really here or not and for some of us in the photography business, we'll be looking at this as either blessed relief or an opportunity. It's unlikely I'm going to write a blog about blessed relief and so yes I do see autumn as an opportunity.
I've recently taken a commission for a winter wedding which I'm excited about as it gives me an opportunity to work with different light, warm clothing and some different challenges in producing the images that the couple would like. Some photographers see November through to January as their opportunity to clear the decks, rest after a busy summer and to prepare for the year ahead. For me, it's important to keep constant momentum in most things and photography is no different. Everyone likes a sunny dry day but for me the time to head out with a camera is when the rain is coming down, when the light is not as good as it could be and when your preferred choice of location is not available.
By taking away some of the easy things to work with, it makes us work with what we have, work harder for that perfect image and along the way, learn and see things we would normally have passed by. A corner in shadow, an archway, the use of a prop such as umbrella or in some cases a couple who don't mind splashing about and having fun.
So when I see Autumn arriving and it's not warm and sunny outside and I see others retreating to their studios, that for me is the time to head out and find new things and test my own experience. I was once told that when you see the majority of people heading away from something, that's the time consider whether you should follow the crowd or take a second look before deciding to try and find something unique. It's usually when we're confronted with a new situation that we start to learn again. For me, embracing a new situation before I need to, ensures I'm as best prepared as I can be, before I need to be, rather than in the middle of an important shoot.
Happy Autumn onset!