So you did it. You scheduled your first shoot. Maybe it’s paid and maybe it’s not. Either way, you are on the hook to produce some half-decent looking photos and suddenly the pressure sinks in.
What if they suck?
Maybe you’ll lose your mojo?
What if your photos are turning out dark and dull and you’re left feeling uninspired. You fear the whole thing will be a flop.
Hey. I feel you. I still get butterflies before a big shoot. There can be so many variables that can leave you feeling weak in the knees. Like, what if the light is not good? Maybe your angles are all wrong or your photo subjects are tricky to work with? What if your creativity checks out when you arrive?
These things can happen to even the most professional of professional photographers. But the difference is that the pro usually has a plan. A set of go-to rules that they will work through, on autopilot, to bust out of a rut. And once on the other side, you’ve found your groove.
I am going to share your new creative rut plan below. With this, if you find yourself spinning those wheels of self-doubt, you can simply work through these steps. And if you do, you will find yourself on the other side of discouragement in no time at all.
1. Look around for natural light and reflectors
Natural light and reflectors exist everywhere, you just need to know where and how to spot them. It likely doesn’t come as a surprise that I love a bright airy photo. As a natural light photographer, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to leverage the light all around me. Natural reflectors can be found beside buildings, retaining walls, concrete structures, basically anything that can reflect light indirectly. So have a look around at various times throughout the day so that you can leverage the best lighting. (Hint: this will almost always be early in the morning or late in the day). And if you’re feeling stuck, take portraits next to natural reflectors. Trust me, you’ll get an instant wow that will propel you forward.
2. Get inspired
I will still reach for Pinterest inspiration leading up to a shoot. This can help get your creative juices flowing. Because it can help you make quick decisions about the style, poses, and props you choose. The key here isn’t to copy, but to gather the inspo you need to gain momentum. Having a running inspiration board on Pinterest will give you a quick reference even mid-shoot if you’re feeling creatively drained. It can be just the pick me up you need to keep going!
3. Switch out your lens
It sounds so simple, but it works! But from time to time you might find yourself feeling stuck, despite your best Pinterest efforts. When this happens, don’t stress, instead, take a deep breath and a couple of seconds to switch out your lens. This quick easy swap can recreate the moment, reframe the subject, and bring in a fresh perspective. It will allow you to see the scene differently.
I hope these tips were helpful. And above all, remember this is a discipline and not something that you pick up overnight. The more you practice, the better you will become… but you can’t get better if you don’t stick with it!