So, finally, finally, finally I got a chance to sit down and edit some of the shots from my first free art study session.
In order to help me learn and grow as an artist, I am in the process of randomly offering free sessions to the public, and the public in return giving up their own time, to help me experiment with different photo techniques that I have been wanting to try out, all based off a lighting book I purchased a few months ago.
My first experiment was solely about light, that is where these shots stemmed from, and before I knew it, I had learned a lot more than what I had expected and my assignment for lessons learned had went in a whole new direction. As far as I am concerned, the outcome- success.
The first goal with this session was to really just take my time. A lot of session people book with me they are worried about getting the "biggest bang for their buck." They move quickly. They want to get their child in as many different poses and outfits in 1 hour as they can. It was nice to actually take a good amount of time to just stop and say, "Ok, let's try this, let's try this again, try it one more time until you nail it," and focus on getting a few solid, solid shots vs a whole slew of ones that I feel like are good, great, but not a true reflection of how far we could have REALLY pushed the bar had we taken control of our nerves and used the proper amount of time.
When I say we took took our time, I mean it. The models (who were beyond perfect for this task- thank you Hannah Mae and Alexx, and their mom of course too- Amy) spent a few weeks chatting back and forth about pose ideas, wardrobe, location options, makeup and hair. There was then the prep time to get it all together, and then once the actual day came around the morning consisted of a lot of time crammed in my bathroom carefully painting on their face makeup and styling their hair as big as possible. The concept grew from my love for fashion.
After we were physically ready it was time to go in and start shooting. The girls did some stretching, some warm up poses, and then we started. This is where we took even more time. We didn't change our wardrobe after about 20 some shots, we didn't move our location, we didn't change our backdrop. We merely kept shooting bc I didn't feel like we had truly NAILED it yet. So we kept going. We took a few 20 more. At the end of the day, in fashion or advertisement or even family portraits, you only need one strong image to help you say what you need to say. Why not make sure that one image is exactly what you want and it speaks not only loudly but aggressively, bc no one else is ever going to see those 100 other outtakes, 20 other good enough shots, or even the other 2 that made up the top 3. It's the one shot.
After a good hour or longer of shooting we broke down, the girls changed, and then we went out for ice cream, which, I can't be sure, but I'm almost certain was necessary for the creative process! ;) Then I waited for a gap in my work schedule before I even started touching the images. This is where goals and lessons changed, and even more time was spent, which people don't realize.
Once I began sifting through the photos what I learned the most was if you want different results, you need to try out different methods, even if they make you uncomfortable. During this shoot, I wanted good light, but I wanted different light- that was the second goal. Good, different, moody light. At the end of everything I noticed- I was so worried about keeping the situation controlled, I forgot to move things around and play with the light, things were...typical of my usual work. Did that mean the whole experiment was a waste? I hadn't achieved my MAIN goal... so.... what was I going to get out of it?
That's when I decided to push the bar on my editing.
Usually I am fairly realistic when it comes to post. Why? I have no idea. It just feels right, and safe. I never liked taking photography to a level of graphics. Art is art. Graphics is graphics. And Photography is photography. But.... bc the main goal of this session had went out the window anyhow, what did I have to loose? The session was free, I wasn't meeting any expectations for clients. So... I played. And as the old saying goes, and I have learned the hard way, "All work and no play makes AJBC's portraits dull." Ha!
And due to that, I can say my first attempt at these free sessions, although priorities shifted, was what many would call a beautiful mistake.