I’m typing this the day after this shoot and the weather is exactly what I would’ve wanted it to be yesterday—overcast, gray, moody, with no risk of over exposed shots and lousy shadows being cast.
Kayla and I didn’t get that the day we shot. Instead, we got sharp light poking through the trees, washing out things while the shadows left others unmarred. So it was a challenge! And I had to push myself to be more conscious of the lighting, of very unflattering shadows cast by the leaves (and boy were there a few at the beginning). But I’m so pleased with the payoff.
Leading up to my last shoot with Kayla before she moves off to her own place to be An Adult™, I was feeling very blah about editing my shoots. Though they’d all gone well and I’d gotten the shots I wanted, I just felt something was off and I was very unmotivated to move things through post-editing which is typically much more time-consuming than actual shoot.
This shoot changed all that.
I was extremely pleased as we were shooting. Usually there’s a bit of dissonance between an artist’s vision and what is executed. It certainly happens to me, and it’s not always a bad thing. But these were coming out even better than I’d envisioned.
I’d recently come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to do a shoot with a specific image in mind and call it a day after getting what I came for. I often shoot beyond that because if you and a model are going to drive all over creation to meet up, you may as well make the most of it, right? But focusing on a specific image instead of just winging it made it much easier to focus on getting exactly what I want. And I got more than I came for anyway. Because I can’t tell you how many times I meet up for a shoot, get swept away by the location or the shooting conditions or any number of things, and have my vision fall to the wayside. This time though, just as we were wrapping up, golden hour light started coming through the forest and I was hit with another stroke of inspiration.
When I first dreamt up this concept, I was excited by it since I thought it was a pretty original reimagining of a fairly well-worn concept. But I was also feeling very particular about it. I didn’t want the concept to fall flat or not come out the way I’d pictured it. Looking at the set, I can say I’m happy with how it came out. Not as happy as when I started but that's what happens when you stare at your own work for too long.
Another thing I did differently was color grade the photos the way they wanted to be color graded. What I mean by that is, I usually go for cooler, blue tones. And sometimes I force that tone onto photos that wouldn’t necessarily benefit from it. I basically force it to be something it’s not to stay consistent with a certain color trend. Yes, maybe that’s the tone you wanted but is the photo better for it? Does the color grading enhance the photo? Or does it come off as over-processed?
For this shoot, I skipped that whole song and dance. I knew the red gown was going to be central. The gold crown accented it and the green of the forest made it pop. I had everything I needed right there, it was just about tweaking things and enhancing what I’d already captured.
I don’t think I’ve expressed just how pleased I am with this set! I just really love it.