Last week I met up with photographer and friend, to discuss a concept shoot that have been in the works for awhile. While talking over coffee one of the topics that came up was creating the story one wishes to portray with their pictures. This will be part two of a three part series that offers some key steps to cultivating your pinup image for a shoot!
In Getting Started Part 1 I discussed how to start brainstorming your photoshoots story, and how to build your concept binder. In this post I’m going to discuss fleshing out the direction and scenes you’d like to see in your photoshoot.
Some of the questions I’ll be answering are: How many scenes do you want to see in your shoot, and what would you like to see in those scenes (this doesn’t mean props or furniture you’d like to see. This means what are you doing in the scene, and what do you want the viewer to glean from the image)? Is there something specific you want to get across to the viewer? Do you want your shoot to be linear(following a direct story from start to finish) in style, or do you want it to be something that no matter the order of the pictures it still fits into your over arching concept? Do you have a specific style you want to incorporate that’s threaded throughout that links everything together cohesively?
To make this easy and to not feel so overwhelmed while storyboarding I break the conglomerate of questions into the five W’s (who, what, when, where, and why- sometimes I add how). I’ll be writing out the original questions Next to which “W” they belong to, along with some supplemental questions to answer while storyboarding your shoots. When you actually start storyboarding just write out the the “W’s”. Working with my previous example (Alice in Wonderland) this is what it might look like:
Concept: Alice In Wonderland
Who: Who are you trying to reach? Who is this shoot for? Who am I portraying?- I am doing this for fun, I am not trying to reach anyone. This shoot is for myself, and pushing my boundaries as a model. I am portraying Alice, but in this version Alice sees how different characters she interacted with as a child are actually pieces of her personality.
What/How: What would you like to see in the different scenes? How many scenes? What are you trying to portray or get across to the viewer? What does this concept mean to me?- I would like to take 8-10 of the major points/characters in Alice in Wonderland and show how she use to think that those things were outside her but are really just different pieces of her. The scenes of the book and the characters I’d like to touch on are: 1. Alice (she is the constant in the photos, starting with her in the tree reading again as an adult right before she falls down the rabbit hole.) 2. White Rabbit (As Alice falls down the rabbit hole, or goes through the looking glass we see her starting to take on some of the white rabbits attributes. She’s holding the pocket watch, her dress looks a bit more uniform). Alice in Wonderland is my favorite story of all time and I love the idea of being able to take the story and make it my own. Obviously, if I was storyboarding completely I’d write out all 8 scenes I like to use with as much detail as I can. I would also make a collage for each scene.
When: Do you want the shoot to be *linear, or do you want it to be something that no matter the order of the pictures everything still makes sense? If someone were to pull out one picture would it be easy to pick up on what is being portrayed? *Are you loosely basing the scenes on the concept (yet still cohesive), or is the concept steadfast? Is there a time period? Is there a specific style you are looking?- Yes, this shoot will be linear *(Most of my shoots are not linear even though I have a concept/theme, it’s much more difficult to do a linear shoot if you aren’t going to be hanging up the photos or putting them in an album, or it’s a photo series).- Yes, it would be easy to pick up and understand what is going on. No it’s not loosely based on the concept. The concept is steadfast through the entire shoot *(most of the time it’s easier to have a shoot with scenes that are loosely related to the concept. For example my last shoot was all about vintage Hollywood glamour. What should be avoided is having a non-cohesive feel). Yes, will be loosely victorian and loosely late 40′s early 50′s pinup. I would like it to be a bit more haute couture in photography style, simply because of the whimsical nature of the shoot.
Where: This is your ideal place to shoot. Are you shooting in a house, studio, outside? If outside, is it in a forest, a field, in a backyard? is it split? Is there a specific season you’d like to shoot in? Do you want to shoot during the day or night (this is important for lighting if you are shooting outdoors or in a house)?- I would like to shoot partially in a studio and partially outside in a backyard. For a shoot like this I’d like it to be late spring, early summer during the day when shooting outside possibly having some of the shoot taken at night.
Why: Why are you shooting this? *If you are shooting for a specific person, Why are you shooting it for them? Why are you setting it up the way you are?- I am shooting this because I want to push my boundaries as a model. I love Alice in Wonderland. I am not shooting for a specific person other than myself. I am setting it up in such a manner to show the relevance of classic literature. *I caution people who solely wish to shoot for a partner because if their SO does not like the photos it can be extremely damaging to one’s confidence, and self-esteem. It’s a beautiful and vulnerable experience, and it should not be tainted.
Some other things to think about:
1. When in doubt research, and make collages. The more you fleshed out your idea is, the more visuals you have, the easier the conversation with your photographer will be.
2. Don’t be afraid to think big with storyboarding. However, understand that whatever it is you write down is a guide. When working with your photographer, as well as the day of the shoot there will be changes made. Not every idea written down will be used. But it is always better to have more content than less!!
3. Plan for X. You don’t know what curveballs will be thrown at you the day of the shoot. When I was shooting for my second session, my photographer and I had been depending on clear sunny day for light, unfortunately it was not to be. And because I was moving we had no access to uplighting, instead she and I had to scramble over to home depot to pick up some construction lighting, along with the little natural we had!
4. Know your budget. Stick to it as close as possible.
Now that we have done the bulk of storyboarding for the look of the shoot, we can start discussing wardrobe, hair, makeup that works with your concept.