I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t think to do this in the first place. Why not write about my shoots, what I’ve learned from them, and the concepts behind them? This shoot is my third “official” shoot, and by official I mean I paid to have someone come out with me and take pictures.
Amy, the model, is actually someone who I’ve been messaging back and forth since I joined Model Mayhem (a kind of Facebook/job list for models and photographers). Over the course of two months, we finally found something that worked for both of us. And by both of us, I mean mostly me. Since work got in the way and sometimes I’m just really bad at scheduling.
Anyway, the shoot took place at Prince William State Forest. I’d shot their before with another model, Melanie. While leaving that first shoot, we completed the loop that makes up the basic trail and came across a small waterfall that was full of life. It was absolutely something I had to take advantage of.
So this time, heading out with Amy, we made our way out to the waterfall. Or maybe it’s more of a “rapid”. I’m not really sure what makes one different from the other… except maybe height? Either way it was amazing. The heat was intense, but the water was cool, which made shooting in the water way easier than you’d think.
One thing I’ve never really been afraid of is getting messy in order to get the kind of shots I want. The problem this time was that I didn’t realize how deep the water was and almost sunk my phone while it was in my pocket. I soaked my wallet and everything else in my pockets though. Thankfully the phone made it through in tact. Lesson learned on that one.
In terms of concept, I didn’t have anything super solid going in. For nature shoots, I tend to make it up as I go because I’m never really sure exactly what the landscape will look like when I arrive. Being able to adapt on the fly isn’t the worst skill one can have, but it can definitely make for awkward silences between you and the model while you rack your brain for the next shot.
A few ideas did come to me though. There was a tiny little alcove right near where we set up our “camp”. Part of the stream ran down into this area, creating a tiny pond. It’s one of things you must take advantage of in the moment. Thankfully Amy was super game for whatever I wanted to do and settled into the pond.
As you can see from the shot above, we were able to create some very natural looking shots. There’s something serene about being bare in a body of water. Especially this one, where Amy was enclosed by the nature around her. It was very cozy in there.
This was also my first time working with someone who was willing to take their clothes off – so to speak. Personally, I don’t find nudity to be offensive. It’s the natural state of being after all. Thankfully Amy felt the same way. She has a long history as an art model, so she’s no stranger to being nude. This helped us create our more unique shots, such as the one above.
The other major idea involved the small waterfall, obviously. We took so many shots in the rushing water, which thankfully wasn’t nearly as powerful as it looked. A lot of my favorite shots had a bit of fun in them. Either they were candids while Amy was setting up, or they were shots of her playing in the water. They added a sense of motion as well and didn’t look super serious. It’s good to alternate tone.
Lastly, I think one of my favorite shots is of Amy lounging in the center of the fall. I just think it looks incredible to see someone just sitting in the center of a waterfall like it’s a comfy chair.
The editing process is always a tough one. You spend a few hours taking roughly 500+ shots and then whittle them down to about 50 or so. I think during this shoot I took around 250 pictures and by the end I wound up with 58. My thought process in choosing which to keep and which to ditch is really what’s interesting. I try and limit myself to one (two at most) photos per pose. You don’t need seven shots of the same pose from the same angle. Hell, even different zooms don’t really make a photo look that different.
By the end though, I’m proud of the work Amy and I were able to do. Though, the style is very similar to my last shoot, which is something I need to work on. I still feel like my work is very basic. Hopefully as time goes on I’ll find a more unique style. I imagine something like that comes with time and practice???
Anyways, those are my rambling thoughts on this shoot at 1 in the morning. Hopefully it made some sort of sense to you and you found it at least vaguely interesting. I’m going to try and do this for all my shoots going forward. I doubt they’ll be as long, but I’ll try and make them as detailed as possible.
The full album can be found here! 🙂
You can find Amy at http://www.modelmayhem.com/AELopez!
You can find all of my work either on Instagram or Facebook!