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?