As a photographer, one seems to spend a multitude of time either alone in your own head or on location lost in possibilities. I know for my self, as I go through a shoot, I am always thinking about angles, composition, color or black and white monochrome photography. Should I be facing upward on the model or down. Should I use long exposure or freeze the time. Sometimes I am not sure what I am doing and just have a overall large concept, but never really develop the process until I get on location. Other times, I try to plan each step and each shot to a tee. Regardless, as a professional photographer, we spend countless time alone with in our own minds.
On this shoot, I had this overall concept to take a model on a little self discovery trip with in her own emotions. I thought to my self that it would be cool to take a model and dress her up with a nice dress and make-up and place her in an area contrasting to her style. In hopes I thought that I would make is seemed that she was lost and timid of her surrounds by being out of place.
The location that I picked for this shoot was a train drop off area close by my house. This was not a depot, but in fact was just a spot in the middle of country land where two opposite tracks met to have an additional 4 tracks to add or remove train cars.. At this location are always at least one or two large trains. Also there are always a few cars the are empty. No building or people are at this location so I thought the spot would be perfect for what I had plan.
The model, make up artist and myself met up and headed over to the location. I began shooting at least a stop underexposed to help set the mood of confusion and sadness. However, not bring in lights during a harsh sunny day. I change the shoot style some what and had the model up on the track and move about the trains to set the mood to being free. So that I shot the images either at metered or just 1/2 stop over exposed. I did get some of the original ideal, but being lost in my own head and thinking or overthinking the shoot style changed so I could feel like I salvaged some of the location.
After shooting at this location, I decided to make a move, I kept spending time thinking about how I wanted to portray a feeling of lost and emotion with in my shots. So the next location about a mile away still within the confines of San Marcos, Texas was a field with large trees. In that field are two building. One of the building made of stone, which was falling over looked to be at least 80+ years old. The second building was more of a shed missing one complete wall. However this shed at least 50 years old was built to resemble a wooden house.
As we began to shoot, my mind started once again flowing with thought. These thought now were geared to the first style of a lost women in an uncertain environment. My thoughts now became compositions and flow. I needed to make sure that my subject was the focal point but the surroundings and overall tone of the image met the needs that I was going for. This can be tricky some times when you don't have some equipment like lighting or reflectors. Of course reflectors would have been nice. I knew I need to have an exposure set to make sure that her face was illuminated enough to show, but not having the environment to bright. This sometimes can be a back and forth process.
At the end of the day, yes you now have the options of software to do what ever you want as far as lighting, cropping, and even making your image a scene of an oil painting. And yes sometimes I do stretch the artistic nature of the piece that I am working on. But first, I am a photographer and that is my goal is to capture the art with in exposures of light on film and or a digital sensor.
The Last step to the shoot was to add a little flare to the shot. Sometimes this can be done with a prop, outfit and or make and hair. On this occasion I decided that a mascara smudge from a tear would just make this photo session reach a new level. So I had our make up artist that was on set work her magic.
Adding the tear also allowed the model to get into a different mind frame for the shot. So once again, in my head I continued to make sure that I was capitalizing on all the angles with very shallow fields in the view finder. Overall, I think that this shoot started out in one direction and ended right where I wanted. Over or under thinking the process and sometimes get into your way. But nevertheless, it is this time when you are thinking quietly in your mind, that one can come up with solutions.
Even as I type this out, I am thinking about this day. I am lost in my mind trying to recall the feeling and thought process of what I was going through as a professional photographer on that day. And even thou that day has been done for a while, I am thinking about what I could have done, what I should have tried and so on. As a photographer it is at this time I feel in control of a uncontrollable situation. I know that is contrasting, but we do work with contrast.