After a photo shoot yesterday, I got to wondering how other photographers plan their shoots, and I thought I’d tell you about one of the ways I plan mine.
I don’t use a studio. There are a few reasons behind my choice. Financially, I don’t want the overheads. If needs must, I can hire a studio, but I haven’t had call to do that. Creatively, I much prefer location shoots and the variety they bring.
Take yesterday’s photo shoot. The brief was for some portrait photographs of Adrian Shooter, chairman of Chiltern Railways. I had to take photographs of Adrian in different environments; in an office, at Snow Hill Station (we were meeting at Moor Street Station), on the train and on the platform and I had an hour to do this. No problem!
As is usual with my photography shoots, I was walking into pretty much an unknown environment. What would the office be like? How about the lighting? Would the station and the train be busy? How about Adrian, is he happy to be photographed (no worries there, he was lovely)?
I started drafting out some plans with plain old pen and paper, which you can see below. Don’t laugh! Admittedly they are very rudimentary, but they make sense to me! I try and think about possible lighting situations and what settings I will use on my camera, although often that changes when I turn up at the location. I make a plan of my ideas. When I’m in the middle of shooting, it can be easy to get carried away and it helps to pull out my piece of paper and have a glance.
Although my drawings are very basic, upon closer inspection there is quite a lot of detail. The arrows coming out of the stick figures head? The direction of eye line. How to position arms? Check. Angles? Check.
As you can see, there are quite a few sketches and notes ( if you can read my scribbles) in relation to the train journey. But, ah, the best laid plans!!
I had about 30 minutes with Adrian, who had to dash to catch his train. Chiltern trains stop every half an hour at Moor Street. Travelling to Snow hill would be no good (as Adrian pointed out) as the train would be packed with commuters at that hour, plus it was under a tunnel so in relation to capturing a scene of Adrian sitting at a table – it would just be black in the background. Ideally we would have travelled to Solihull and back.
Okay, 30 minutes it was then! Let’s get cracking. Here are a selection of photos. Oh, and for all but the first photo of Adrian, I was standing on a chair!
Adrian dashed for his train and so I had another 30 minutes or so left. A lovely lady from Chiltern asked if I would be able to take some shots of Moor Street itself, so I happily obliged.
How do you plan your shoots? I would love to hear! (I’m sure your drawings are MUCH better than mine )
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