The outcome of styled stock is just as important as the preparation, because you get a greater outcome when you're prepared and plan your sessions. Even when I did portrait sessions I had to take time to plan for my sessions. I gathered inspiration, I sketched thumbnails, and I thought through a sequence of images I hoped to create. The same goes for shooting styled stock.
One thing I really struggle with is actually making time to plan my sessions. It's not that I don't have the time, haha! It's that I don't always want to plan my sessions. I often feel boxed in when I have to plan something I am creating... I'm not sure whey I feel that way, but in the end I always do better when I take the time to plan my sessions. Planning my session gives me a blueprint of my desired outcome and in the end hopefully saves time too.
PICK A THEME
Before I get started with any session I choose a theme. I decide what kind of story I am going to tell. This could be a styled desk top, a breakfast theme, a minimalist theme, a watercolor/art theme, or whatever else I can dream up. Choosing a theme provides art direction for the two next steps. Without a theme, I could end up with a mash-up of random photos and props.
CREATE AN INSPIRATION BOARD
Pinterest, of course, is the one stop shop for inspiration boards. I create a variety of secret Pinterest boards that allow me to curate inspiration for the session I want to create. I'll pin other styled photos that I like, photos that inspire me, props that I like, and a variety of lifestyle photos. I gain a lot of inspiration from lifestyle photos because for me there is a lot of freedom in lifestyle photos, even though they are sometimes the most difficult for me to create.
MAKE A PROP LIST
One of the last things I do is gather my props and I'm working on getting better at writing out my prop list too. Writing out my prop list also gives me an opportunity to outline my props, which props will look best together, and which ones will go best with me theme. Writing out a props list helps me to visualize my images. If I take the time to go through my props and really think through what I would like to do with each, by the end I should have a variety of ideas. This prop list will also help keep me on track with my theme.
BONUS: SKETCH OUT YOUR IDEAS
Sketching out your idea is another great way to flush out your ideas and keep your theme on track. Sometimes when I start a session I"ll be really excited and I'll with a few ideas bouncing around in my head. With just a few ideas I'll start shooting and it won't be too long that I'm all out of ideas. My excitement kept me from fulling thinking through my session. What would be a better idea is to take those few ideas and excitement and sketch out each idea. Once I would have the first few ideas flushed out, I could sketch out a few more ideas, that way I'm not left in the middle of a photo session without ideas.
My goal for each session is to create a sense of organized creativity. I know that if I start without organizing my thoughts, ideas, or props, that my session will fall flat and I'll be disappointed with what I create. How do you stay inspired and organized when you'r creating? xoxo. Samantha