Last week, I did my first shoot. Well, the first one since I made the big decision. My friend Elle has a free spirit and is not afraid to experiment, even if those experiments lead nowhere. So when she asked to shoot, I agreed on the condition that we wouldn’t plan anything, just shoot. The only thing we agreed upon was to meet and get started at a garden center.
This location didn’t exactly inspire me. After looking around for a couple of minutes, my creative heart started bleeding and told me to get the hell out of there. But then I thought: there’s no rush. Let’s take a couple of pictures as a thank you to the friendly staff that allowed us to shoot there. Let’s use the occasion as a warm-up and a challenge to make something out of nothing.
I tried to mix things up by shooting some in-camera double exposures. It’s something that I like to try every now and then. Very often, double exposures just don’t work out and I’m not convinced about these ones either. But it’s always worth a try. Even if the pictures don’t work out, the actions of moving the camera and overlaying exposures, give a spark to my creativity.
Those who know me, will not be surprised when I say that I like to keep it simple equipment-wise. But even in that simplicity I would always have the bare minimum to make something out of nothing. Just a single speedlight allows you to change the mood of a place completely. And that’s exactly why I didn’t bring one on this shoot. You won’t hear me say that I’ll never use artificial lights anymore. Hey, I love lights. But for this shoot I felt like I needed to appreciate what’s there without trying to play God and change the scene to what I like. So I only brought an X-T3, a 35mm, a 56mm and a spare battery. This ultra simple setup also allowed us to move on quickly when something didn’t work and shoot without drawing a crowd in the garden center.
It was only after we went to the outside area of the center that I started to make pictures that felt right.
We found this little corner with some nice textured walls that was shielded from the rest of the center by some big plants. When someone came by they had no idea we were doing a photo shoot. I only had to lower my camera and Elle had to button up her dress :-)
I’ve never been a big fan of doing post-processing work and I still don’t like to spend much time on it. But I also think that the next revolution in photography will be about software rather then hardware. Going there would lead us too far, maybe something for a future post. But what I wanted to say is that since I’ve switched to Capture One last September, I’ve become a bit more experimental in post. I don’t think I will ever do complicated composites but I’ve become more aware of the power of software as an integral part of the photographic process.
“The path of the least resistance” has always been my guideline and in the past this usually meant to get things right in camera. But as my priorities are shifting, I find that sometimes post processing has become the path of the least resistance. Getting it right in camera still gives me a feeling of accomplishment but I’d be just as happy to fix something in post if that means a better connection to my subject during the shoot.
I’m still having a hard time to express what I’m looking for in a picture. I don’t know the answer yet, but I do FEEL it each time when I get close. After an hour in the garden center, we moved on in search for other locations. And it was there, that I gained a bit more clarity about what drives me. But that’s for part 2.
As always, feel free to hit the comments …