Creating an ideal piece of work is a rewarding feeling. To be able to complete a project and see the results after all the hours of labor put in feeds the feelings of accomplishment. But for every great idea also takes a process. Good things do take time.
But what do we do during all that tough labor? What are the steps involved?
Having a project completed from initial idea to its end takes a systematic way of doing things. Especially if your looking to create multiple projects and building an organized way of going forward with success. Building a foundation to how the process will come about is the most important thing. Once you have a clear system in place you’ll be able to handle more than what you or your company thought was possible.
“Free Your Mind And Open Wide”
Before every project I take on. Before I ever step out of the door. Before I open my computer and type in that first keyword, I take the time to imagine how I would want the final result to look like. Before I’m ever influenced by outside information I take the time to use the power of my imagination and immerse myself in the feelings and images I feel the project would need.
It may seem odd to some but there’s a different energy that happens when your alone in a room and allowing any ideas to come your way. Using a pen and pad I write down all that comes to mind without judgement. I like to see myself as an antenna or receiver of information. All I have to do is collect what comes in and leave it later for analysis.
If I’m to create work for a client I would have that same type of experience with whomever is on the project. Combining minds with others will give you the added power to create a work greater than just your own. The dynamic is similar with others but the use of communication and understanding is also very important when involving other people. Just like my solo projects being open to my own ideas without prejudice, the same applies with those coming from others as well.
Ask a lot of questions. Cover all the who, what, when, where and hows. The more information you have then the more you’ll be able to combine the vision into an idea that’s completely original. Make sure to always be in contact and be an open channel for feedback. Once this process is complete it’s now time to organize all these ideas and start applying them in the external world and see what sticks.
“Form The Storm And Redefine”
Organizing examples of works and projects that are similar to your idea is the first process to see what has been done. Personally I love this process the most as it shows the level of creativity the world has already achieved. You’d be surprised how much talent is already out there. It can be daunting to some but I love to take on a healthy challenge!
My favorite tool for any creative visual artist is hands down Pinterest. The amount of work that is available and the possibilities of searches makes the brainstorming process so much more easier.
Being able to create mood boards and sharing them directly with my team members as they add images they like keeps the motivation flowing and a fun process. After I have a set of images that looks complete, I now go back to my initial notes to finalize and organize the ideas into a coherent whole.
Getting Your Hands Dirty
Now this is when the real work begins. Testing and experimenting your ideas in the outside world is where you’ll be hit with a lot of reality checks. First figure out your location. If it’s in studio then come up with a set design that will work. During this process I’ve come to be easy on the outcomes as the initial ideas are always harder than what I first thought.
If your shooting outdoors then take the time to find minimum three locations in an area that can work while bringing your camera and documenting the process. Bring someone else for the ride and use them as your subject to get real world experience before you jump into the actual production day.
Once you have locations and creative boards set, now it’s time to get logical and technical. Figure out your lighting tools for the shoot. When your on location write own your camera settings and bring the minimum to see what possible problems that can come up. That way when the real shooting day arrives you’ll be able to have a smoother process.
Create a plan of action to each area you will shoot so that you’ll know what to do next if something doesn’t go according to plan. But always remember to leave yourself 20% wiggle room for surprise ideas. That way you don’t freeze up or panic if things fall apart.
Once you figured out all the creative and technical bits then all you need is to set a date in line with everyone to go ahead with the shoot. Of course during your own process as the photographer any other team members handling other aspects like models, make up or assistants will have their own work do on their end. As you make sure everything is ok with yourself keep that communication channel open to see how others on your team are doing.
There you have it! Everyday we’re surrounded by images from magazines and billboards but know that nothing is done on the fly. Especially with projects that are new to you. Make sure that you get all your points checked off for the best result possible. That way you’ll be able to increase the level of ideas to a higher level. It takes a lot of up front work to create a great piece of work. Commit yourself to it and no matter the result you’ll always come out with a great lesson.
Chris From MKMI Photo