Hmmm. Good question. It’s not something I really have thought a lot about. I feel like I’m constantly running around so much that a block isn’t really an option. Though as I think about it 3 things come to mind.
1. Collaboration. Since Julie and I started working together our ideas grow very organically. We’ll settle on a model to shoot. We then come up with independent ideas, looks, themes, designs and then we go to a coffee shop and bring our independent ideas together. By the end of it we narrow down what we like to what’s going to work best for the model, location, time, ect. Most of the time our ideas come together to form lager ideas. This is the kind of chat you could be having with anyone you work with. Some models are open to it, others aren’t as much. But you may ask, how do we get those ideas to being together? That brings us to number 2.
2. Inspiration. I follow a lot of photographer, models, artists, musician, and even businessmen/women who inspire me. You have to look at your brain like a body. Feed it good, strong, inspiring content and it will produce similarly good stuff. There’s so much content on the Internet it’s trickery to find that stuff that truly inspires you and pushes you. But when you do and the more you study it the more ideas your brain will have at its disposal. An important note on that however, MAKE IT YOUR OWN (I know this goes without saying but still worth saying). The internet is a great source of inspiration, but sometimes you’ll not realize you’re rehashing something you saw somewhere else until you go back through your notes and realize you love that shot cause you saw it before. Ive done it myself and had to change things last minute when I realized I was copying a shot I loved by another photographer and didn’t realize it. But, back on track, the third and final point maybe the biggest.
3. Limitation. “The absence of limitation is the enemy of art” – Orson Wells. There are very few more true statements in the world. Every situation is like a box, small, big, whatever, but understanding the walls of your box allows you to understand how to fill it. You need to understand what you have, and don’t have, in order to know how best to work. Every shoot I have different resources and always want to do more than I have. But by understanding what I have that dictates EVERYTHING. How big of a space you have determines lights, lenses, film, cameras and styling. How much light there is in that room you love tells you what camera you can use, and more importantly, which you can’t. You need to know what you have, what you dont, what you can get, and then plan for how to shoot with that information. Limitation honestly is my greatest motivating force. All through film school my films were created out of the notion of what story can I tell with what I have. My photography is very much the same why. Most of my shots are more close up because it takes less gear. I like to move a lot and the more gear the slower I can shoot. Embracing this will narrow the endless scope of ideas and then help you birth executable ideas more easily.
Welp, thats it for long winded answers with Derek Woods today. I hope that helps.
Take Care and party on!