Red Dress

“Success is very often down to plan B” — Will Gompertz

In Think Like an Artist: and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life, author Will Gompertz talks about how plans often change and morph and move us into new directions.

Be Ready for Surprises

My best photoshoots wouldn’t be half as good without happy accidents and surprises. Sure, I make plans for the photos I want to create. I never want to end a shoot without something worthwhile to show for my efforts. But I always leave room for the unexpected opportunities.

The real magic happens when you let go, just a little. When you’re just flexible enough, and willing to take a chance here and there on an idea that’s out of the ordinary. It might be something in the way a piece of fabric moves or something your model does that reminds you of a scene from a movie. It doesn’t matter what gets you there. What matters is your willingness to flow with the ideas.

The following images are a result of a quick evolution from one idea to another; what Gompertz might call the emergence of a “Plan B.”

I started with the idea of doing something along the lines of a photo spread I saw in Inked Magazine featuring model Ivory Suicide, shot by Pookie.

Inked. Photo by Pookie

I was focused not on the look of the model, but really the look of the lighting and treatment of the images. The lighting appears very simple and it falls off into the shadows. No rim or hair light to “pop” the model off the background. And the images looked just a little soft, instead of crisp. I liked that. But of course, we ended up with something different.

I asked my model, MKBlondie, to put on a vintage red gown to “see what we come up with.” I setup my single light and tried a few images that way.

MK Red Dress 1

MK brought up the idea of using gels so we tried some different combinations, just messed around and had fun with it.  I mean, it would’ve been my loss if I’d just stuck to the plan and been stubborn about it.  And whether these images worked out or not, I’d end up learning something that could be applied to another shoot down the line.

The uncropped images below give you an idea of what the actual setup looked like.

Some background info on this shoot here.

MK Red Dress 2


MK Red Dress 3


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