I once heard that you should always go to a location before you shoot it. Check out it out. Get a feel for it. Let it inspire you. Watch the light as it moves across the space. For the first wedding I ever shot I heeded this advice (and an entire bottle of TUMS). I drove to the reception site the day before the event and scoped locations. This was immensely helpful since last minute snafus left me with 45 minutes to shoot all of the portraits, family photos, bridal party, and details. If I didn’t have a plan, especially with the nerves of a first-timer coursing through my veins, the day could have been a disaster. But it wasn’t.
Every photo shoot I’ve been on since has been shot “blind.” I did not get a chance to scope out locations ahead of time. So I had to shift my focus. Instead of planning and shooting from a list I devised in my brain, a sequence of photos I vowed ahead of time to capture, I shot from the heart. I let the space dictate my next move. I allowed the light to guide me. I felt horridly frazzled on the inside; as if my clients were looking at me like I was a crazed mad-woman scouring the earth for some lost treasure. “Omigosh! Eeek! Over here! This light is gorge!” or “STOPTHECAR!!! We have to shoot HERRRRRE.” And they did. They stopped. They sat. They ignored my crazy and allowed me to capture the very essence of them.
While there is absolute benefit in seeing locations before you shoot, and I certainly don’t want to discount that, I am no longer afraid to go in blind.
Jesh deRox talks about Experiential Photography. In fact, there’s an entire movement centered around it. While I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with Jesh and learn from him, I can tell you this: he’s on to something. Creating an experience for my clients; those who are gracious enough to kindly step in front of my Nikon, and lend me an hour of their love, and ounce of their trust, deserve my heart.
So I will shoot from it.
I may be blind, but I kind of like the way it makes me see.