The power of last-minute shoots

Do you ever have waves of intense inspiration in which you want to make your vision come to life as soon as possible? What if you can? Not to sound like a cheesy inspirational speaker, but what's stopping you?

Not every shoot or concept can come to life overnight. My 5 of a Kind shoot, for example, took 7 months to come together successfully. However, occasionally I'm struck with smaller-scale inspiration that I choose to run with.

Some of my favorite shoots have come together in a matter of hours.

1) Ksenia. In January 2016, I found Ksenia on Model Mayhem on a Thursday night, wondering if she'd be able to shoot a 1960s/1970s theme at my apartment on Saturday. I already had the clothes that I wanted to use, so I had the basic direction in place. I sent her a message on Thursday, didn't hear anything until Friday night (while I was sleeping!), as I woke up to a text from her that morning saying that she could be there as early as 10am. I wrote back immediately, saying, "YES! Let's do it." And we did. I quickly headed to the fabric store and pulled a few backdrop options. I shoved all my furniture to one side of the room and hung up the fabric with pushpins. I had the clothes laid out on my bed. And we worked with my apartment and the surrounding area to put together a fun set of images.

2) Anthropologie. In June 2016, I was heading to Washington, D.C. for my best friend's wedding. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but it hit me 4 days before I was supposed to leave that I might as well do a shoot while I'm visiting the other side of the country. I went on Instagram and searched hashtags voraciously: #dcstylist, #dcmodel, #dcfashion – desperately looking for some team members! I stumbled across a local Anthropologie account (@anthro_chevychase) and sent them a message, wondering if I could source clothes from them. They replied saying that they could bring a bunch of clothes AND models! A done deal. Not to mention, last minute work for a major brand! We met up 4 days later and had a successful shoot.

3) Laney. I guess a big chunk of my inspiration comes from wanting to make use of the beautiful locations I visit. Every summer, my family and I spend most weekends up in gold country near Angels Camp, California for houseboating and waterskiing. For a long time, I'd been meaning to make use of the beautiful scenery. The Thursday before we were heading up to the lake, I got a rush of inspiration and decided I wanted to do a shoot that weekend. I went on Instagram and searched #angelscamp, plus hashtags for surrounding towns, looking for locations and anything I could find in the area. I came across Natural Bridges, a beautiful cave system just 20 minutes from the lake. Boom. That's my location. Now I need a model...After coming up dry on Instagram, I resorted to Model Mayhem. There weren't many options in this area, but I found Laney, and miraculously she was available to shoot! I took a gold slip I'd used for a shoot in the past and went to Target for a few gold accessories, making the theme "Gold Country."

4) Lydia. This time my source of inspiration came from the model. I connected with Lydia on Instagram a few months back and had been wanting to shoot her. She has a really cool look and I thought she'd do well with a classic, timeless theme. The timeline for this shoot was:

Tuesday night: ask Lydia if she's free (she is!); ask Amy if she can style (answer's yes!) Wednesday morning: hear a few "nos" from make-up artists and continue to reach out to others; virtually scout locations for rolling green hills and oak trees Thursday: Amy pulls clothes; Inna (make-up artist) is on board! Friday morning: I scout locations in the Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore area. Find one I like (Del Valle Reservoir) and pass on all the meeting details to the team. Saturday afternoon: We meet at my apartment to prep and then head out to shoot!

Don't underestimate the power of taking an idea and running with it. You'll notice that in a lot of these situations, the team is small (often just me and the model(s)), which helps in terms of travel and availability. It also helps to have a large network of team members so that you can find someone who's available more easily. I ask for referrals from people I trust to expand my network.

I think great work can come out of last minute planning - sometimes the less details and time to think, the better! What's your experience with last-minute shoots? Have they been successful for you? Or are you more of a long-term planner?