Photoshoot ideas: stop stealing, start creating

Working as a photographer or an artist always means playing races with your artistic crisis. At some point or another your brain gets lazy, your mind shuts down and here he comes in all his might and power – the Crisis. He might come exactly at the time when you have to add couple of bright shots to your portfolio, when your client is waiting for you to share your incredible photo shoot mood bards with him, when you have already promised to show couple of sketches to your model. But Mr Crisis knows no mercy, feels no compassion, he does not care that you have lots of work to be done.

What to do with it? How to destroy that heartless bastard? Where to find ideas for a photo shoot when Mr Crisis has hurled out all your own thoughts, leaving your mind totally blank.

Go surfing!

No, you are not going the to beach somewhere at the sunny coast of California, you are going to Google – your hero, your lifebuoy in that ocean of ennui. It seem to sound like a really good thought! Google will save you, google will definitely help! When you have no concepts for a shoot, you can always google some, can’t you?
Not so fast! You open first couple of links from first articles on “photoshoot ideas” topics and you see this:

  • Be creative with how you display your products.
  • Vintage dance party.
  • The plastic age – illustrated with photos of models wearing garbage bags.
  • Vintage cowgirls.
  • Smoke – illustrated by photos of smoke, thanks, captain obvious.
  • Sparkle – illustrated with photos of sparkle.
  • Kitchen – illustrated with rather usual photos of food.
  • The flying series.
  • Underwater photos.
  • Young me / now me.
  • Jumping photos.

That list of “genius” pieces of advice can be endless. Does it help? Has it made anybody’s photo shoot result look outstanding and unique? No. It was as fresh as an addle egg. You could have seen how hard has Mister Crisis been laughing at these pathetic efforts. Of course here you could go to Pinterest or Tumblr for finding at least couple of thoughts and styles you could steal – another way for the enemy to enjoy himself.

So, if Google can’t save you who can? Where to get inspiration for the shoots when it feels that all your thoughts got too scared of mister Crisis and have deserted your mind for good?

How to kill mister crisis?

You know what? You don’t need Google or Pinterest. As it was said in one awesome Russian book – “Assistance of the drowning person is in the hands of those persons themselves”. You already have everything you need. Now then, allow me to reveal you the ways of getting actually good useful ideas for any kind of photo shoots.

Let me introduce you our first and best friend that has been helping people in finding muse for thousands and thousands years – Mrs Book! Yes, that may seem rather obvious, but not so many people use books as a source of inspiration nowadays, which is a pity of course. There are several reasons why Mrs Book should become your number one friend in fighting Mister Crisis.

  • Books can provide ideas even for the most demanding artist. For any age, any taste and any place there is a fine story in one of your cherished books. One will surely find something that will work perfect only for him.
  • Books are simple to use. You do not have to bring to life such masterpieces as “War and Piece” or “Les Miserables” to make the photo look marvelous. Use fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, and they  will still look great on the photograph. Just imagine what a stunning picture you will get if you use The Little Prince as a mood board for your sister’s son photoshoot.
  • Even if two artists are going to use the same book as a bace for the concept, their result will look totally different. Because two people can not read one book, each person imagines everything he reads in his own way.
  • Do you have any beloved fictional characters? Well, it’s a great chance to bring them to life the way you see it. How many times have you seen movies staged by your beloved books and thought “No, that is not how Missis Something looked like! She should have been wearing a dress, not these ugly trousers, and who has created this awful hair style for her?! “
  • You can replicate the whole conception as well as some parts of it. No need to copy everything until the very last detail on the hat of the character. Get motivated with the overall mood or extract only some details from the story. Use a book as a base for your own interpretation.

Yes, not everybody have time to read books. And nobody blames you for it, modern world does not give us enough time for getting some sleep, where to find time for reading, when you have no time for sleeping properly? When there is no time to read a book, switch attention to other means. In fact, have you ever thought that painters are actually the same writers? They just use paints and pencils as tools for telling their stories instead or words. Here is another way to find your muse – works of well known artists.

  • Learn from the best ones. Recreate masterpieces of well known artists in your works. Study their style, lighting. Find out the story behind the painting. Show how the same scene could look like in real life, on your picture.
  • Take a closer look at the masterpieces of world art. Each of them hides a great story, and sometimes you’ll find several wonderful stories behind only one painting. Think about how you can integrate it into your works.
  • Imitate the style of your most loved artist. Create some filters that will make your pic look like a Claude Monet painting. Don’t forget about such thing as surrealism. One Salvador Dali can help you raise the quality of your works to a brand new level.
  • Don’t recreate every single detail, couple of components will do. Portray the overall mood of the painting, it will make your photo look picturesque.
  • Have a look at the lighting on the paintings. Some artists spent years to gain the look of special lighting effects on their works. You could use some of that techniques for your studio shoot. Make sketches of the schemes and bring them with you next time you are going to shoot at the studio.

Mrs. History –  another huge hidden treasure, of which for some reason, few people remember, trying to find any new conceptions for their work. Don’t make her sit in the corner alone, take missis History into your squad, you will not regret it.

  • First of all, it’s historical figures. Individuals, that had a great influence on the world. Don Juan, Cleopatra, Saint Laurent, Napoleon – countless of personalities that are waiting for them to be found and brought to life in your works.
  • Historical era – let yourself be encouraged with the elements of Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic. Can you use architectural elements of that time as a concept for the makeup of your model? Borrow the elements to complement your photographs. Find out if your city has any building with the same architecture style. Find out the terms on which it is possible to get a photoshoot done in that places.
  • Fashion through the ages – focus on the costumes of the time, to which you heart lies. Posh Rococo dresses, simple peasants clothing – something similar can always be found for rent in the near theater or boutique.

Who else would love join our team of resistance? Ms. Music of course! You will hardly find a person who does not listen to any music at all. Radio on the way to work, pop songs on the iTunes while jogging, techno as a background music for fashion shows – music is everywhere. So take advantage of it!

  • Create a visualization of the song. Let your hero finds out whether there is a “Life on Mars“, help him find out that actually “All You Need Is Love“, send him to the “Ride of the Valkyries“.
  • Many artists have bulk of different video clips. Most likely your best-loved artist also has them. Repeat style of the clip to bring it to life on the pic.
  • Take musicals and operas as a basis for your work. Their scripts are beautiful, soulful, interesting. From La Bohème to Phantom of the Opera anyone will find something suitable. The team of professional have already prepared everything for you – decorations, costumes, hairstyles. The only thing you need to do is use it.
  • Let your mind start to soar with the help of your cherished composer. Plunge into the magical atmosphere while Listening to elegant waltz, let the emotions get into your head. Imagine how people were dressed, what were their surroundings at that time. Bring it to life.

Look who can’t wait to join us! Mister Cinematograph – a buddy of half of people on that planet. Movies, cartoons and TV shows play a significant role in this list. Surely you must have a couple of top movies and TV shows that are your fav. So create a high quality cosplay.

  • Bring a cartoon that you enjoy watching so much into reality. Does not such adorable story like Balto deserve a magnificent visualization? Use Aladdin as a script for love story photoshoot. Make minimalist series on The Iron Giant theme. Make funny pictures inspired by monsters from Monsters, Inc.
  • Copy the identity of the hero from favorite film. Stylists, makeup artists and writers have done everything for you. You just have to find similar outfits and choose the place for recreating it all. Or maybe you have imagined Forrest Gump in your own way? How does Back to the Future look in your mind?
  • Series, like books are untilled field for inspiration. Do not get carried away too much though as you risk to get stuck. From Game of Thrones to Downton Abbey – series can be a useful source of bright thoughts.
  • Edit the images so they would look like a screenshot cut from the movie. Give them the right mood, atmosphere. Make the viewer feel the photo instead of seeing it.

To sum up all of that, now we have five friends, five strong weapons to defeat Mr Crisis. Books, movies, paintings, history, music – choose whatever you love and enjoy most. With these little helpers you’ll never have to sit without ideas and you’ll never ever in your life have to steal them. And while your competitors are desperately surfing Pinterest for robbing other photographers and repeating the same pics over and over again, you have everything for creating something fresh and truly outstanding.


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