I clicked the shutter and when I looked at the photo that appeared on my screen I wanted to shout for joy. After nearly an hour and a half of shooting in the studio, my first time ever, I was finally getting the kind of pictures that I wanted. I had felt trapped by the flash and the backdrop. I let the studio intimidate me. Instead, I focused on what I knew for certain and ignored the ocean of knowledge I had not yet or ever would learn. I went into my first photoshoot with an agency model and an amazing clothing brand telling myself that the most important thing was to learn and grow. I knew perfection was impossible but growth was well within my reach.
How do you bring out the best aspects of your subject? How do you frame the scene for the best composition? These are among the most important questions that any photographer asks themselves. I photograph outside because that's where I find the answers to those questions- plus its free. I have experience answering these questions outside of the studio so from the beginning I knew that shooting in a studio was risky but with the weather being so unpredictable in London I couldn't risk getting a day with flat light. I needed a scene that I could control because from the original plan to final execution it was all me. It was so exhilarating planning out a photoshoot and it truly made me remember why I wanted to be an artist in the first place.
This collaboration originally came about because I reached out to a Facebook group for London Fashion Creatives. This woman named Natalie reached out and she worked for this amazing local brand in south London called Korlekie. After an amazing meeting where it felt like our creative energies really synced, I went off and planned a photoshoot from scratch. It was my job to find the location, models, everything. I know understand why it truly takes a team to make a well put together editorial. Finding models is hard especially for an up and coming photographer. I had to learn how to make mood boards, navigate agencies, and learn the difference between photography categories and use agreements.
I had hoped that I would be able to get some free models from the agencies because of my work shooting fresh faces. I had created this really elaborate and beautiful idea citing one of Edgar Allen Poe's texts but in the end, I had to pay for the models myself which forced me to scrap my plan and edit it so it would fit within my budget. It seemed like nothing was going the way I planned as we got closer to the shoot. I wasn't able to get all the flowers that I wanted because I miscalculated when the flower shop closing. The mirror I wanted to use was scratched and thus couldn't be used in the final shoot.
The shoot was almost canceled out of fear. I was trying to avoid this emotion so hard. As you can tell from the photos the shoot produced some beautiful images, not the ideal ones that I had hoped for but images that allowed me to grow. Fear did creep through my veins during the shoot. I did fail. I almost walked out of the shoot in tears. I was completely out of my element I let my pride stop me from asking for help. But then in the darkness came a light, a resolution that this wouldn't defeat me. that I knew more then I gave myself credit for. I started to tinker to fix, to manipulate both the settings on my camera and the ones on the flash until I remembered that this is all about light and manipulating the light. The photos went from unrecognizable to something that could be mistaken for a human and from blurry to clear and in focus.
While I still prefer shooting outside, I definitely want to start doing more studio sessions. Its a weakness and I must learn and ensure that it eventually becomes a strength. You can't run away from fear, because when you do you often miss out on how great you are.
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