R Gill Photography | 90% Imitation, 10% Inspiration

90% Imitation, 10% Inspiration

June 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Commercial photoshoots are often the most interesting as it gives me a chance to be creative.  Although the client will give me a detailed brief of what is required, there will be a bit of time for me to try out some other ideas.  It is often these unplanned shots that produce the “wow” shot of the day.  

I am often asked how did I come up with that idea, and the short answer is, they just happen!

My goal is to give every client at least one wow shot.  Sometimes it is just not possible as the brief or the subject doesn't allow for much creativity, but whenever possible I hope to exceed my clients expectations.

Having set myself this challenge I realised I needed to understand how these shots are produced.  I started to research the behaviour of other creative people.  I soon realised that many other artists just have things happen.  I watched an OkGo video and was intrigued to hear when they were asked, “where do your ideas come from?" They replied “it feels like we just find them.” (If you haven't heard of OK Go, check out this TED talk).

In Will Gompertz’s book “Think like an Artist” he points out that most artists steal their ideas.  They look at the work of other artists work for inspiration. They review the old masters, or other emerging talent and prime their subconscious, and during their training they might spend many hours copying the work of other painters.  It is this priming of the subconscious with old ideas that triggers the creative process.  When these images are mixed with the uniqueness of our own personality and temperament then a new idea or image emerges or hits us like a brain wave. 

Although I hadn't really appreciate it before studying this, I realised this is what I had been doing.  Before a photoshoot, I plan carefully the shots I want to take, but also include a few ideas that I just want to try.  I am not sure if they will work until I get to the location and see the lighting and conditions, but hopefully one of them will just become the "wow" shot of the day.

At a recent photoshoot for a home made ice cream manufacturer I studied lots of food photographs before the shoot.  On the day I took this shot (below) inspired by an entry I saw in the PinkLady Food Photographer of the Year competition.  My shot is different from that entry, but my subconscious was definitely primed by it.  This turned out to be the shot that my client loved.

A family looking into an ice cream cabinet to choose their favourite flavourWhich flavour?A family looking into an ice cream cabinet to choose their favourite flavour

In another example this photo below, taken for a pet portrait competition, was inspired by a photograph of the interior of a washing machine which had been entered into a competition on Interiors.  This definitely turned in to a "wow" shot as it won the competition.

A dog looking into a washing machineAny socks in here?A dog looking into a washing machine

So next time your are planning a photoshoot leave a bit of time and space for the photographer to be creative.  Then maybe you will get a fabulous surprise shot.  If you like my creative style and want to work with me for your next photoshoot please give me a call on 07557 780336 or email me richard@rgillphotography.co.uk. 

If you are interested to see more of my creative work - take a look at my latest project Food Film Puns


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