Once I had a two hours shoot planned in a studio in Singapore. After setting lights photographer turned to me, gave me his baby oil and asked me to apply it for some sculpture shoot. Alright, even though he did not mention that idea before, I was sort of ok with that. But what he did not mention as well was to apply the oil on my hair, too. I refused, explaining we are in a studio without a shower, I had another shoot afterwards which I would have to cancel due to complete “homeless” look I would get. And – its a child oil, man, not any hair oil, so I would probably not ever get it out of my hair.
It took him around an hour to change his mind and lighting because it was only the idea he had. And then we just had half an hour left for the actual shoot.
If the guy had shown me some example of that idea when booking, I would have told him all of that in advance, and maybe helped him find similar idea without splashing oil on my head. If he had some other ideas ready, we would not loose an hour to do some other stuff.
This is just a crazy example of what can happen when you expect one thing, but reality is completely different. Same with poses. Same with other ideas. So here we are, let’s create a moodboard!
“Moodboard” is magically simple tool (and fun!) for planning a shoot, usually looking as a collage of photos which you find inspiring. Not only it can save you a lot of trouble and time by giving your model clear idea of what your vision is and what you expect- it can lead you, as a photographer, to the right direction while you might be stuck with your ideas, serving as a reference.
If you have your model picked already or if you are just looking for some ideas and inspiration, those 3 ways are worth checking:
- Pinterest – search your keyword- such as “nature shoot” or “beach models”, it will lead you further and further in the search options. You can either save it in your own board which you can create for any project, or just save it straight into your computer. ! Pinterest hides nudity and applies the “nude policy” – this is not the case when looking for inspiration for art nude photos (unless you are inspired by a painting or girl’s back- that’s all they offer in that stage.)
- Instagram – yep, nowadays you can find everything on Instagram, even though with a nude policy & blurred “everything”, you can still find some great work just by exploring other profiles- from wedding, portraits, beach stuff even up to “art nude”.
- Current model’s portfolio/ your own portfolio – check model’s actual portfolio again and give it a more detailed look. Find some poses or mood of the photo you really like. Check expression which you find cool, save those photos and add them to the moodboard. Models usually remember how they did it when they see that, and you could avoid complicated explaining and showing (“Arch your back please, like…let me show you. That. Ok. Ok.. can you help me to stand up please? I cannot move now.”)
In case you want to do one continuous project with different models, add some of your previous work as a showcase, so it’s clear what you want to do.
Save, send, ready to go
Even if you like to start from scratch or love to work under pressure, consider having a moodboard at least as a backup. Put all photos in one collage or save them all separately, and don’t forget to show them to your model before an actual shoot to avoid any misunderstanding.
Having a moodboard printed or saved & ready on the day of the shoot is very, very useful, if you shoot either:
- More than two hours (will keep you focused),
- if you work with non-professional model which might need a bit of direction and doesn’t know how to pose longer on one spot (will keep her focused),
- if you have a clear and straight vision you want to stick with (no matter how long/ who you want to shoot with).
This is just a small step while planning a shoot – and yet a great one. So are you. Don’t forget that!