One Album, One Story
It is not one bit uncommon for a professional photographer or for that matter a good amatuer photographer to be asked to shoot an album that encomposes within it a theme or story. The subject and brief could vary. It could be a series of pictures of an aging patriarch or matriarch of the family. Many a time, such a shoot is likely to be in the ancestral home which is also aging and has a beauty and personality of its own worth capturing along with the people who have lived their lives in there.
It could be a young child or a newborn in its early days in the house, a young fast growing child in the outdoors or farm close to the elements living and exploring life, a woman expecting a child, a couple living life together in joy tranquility. This is not an exhaustive list, more an illustration of what one might require of a photographer. These are few phases one might want to capture and save for posterity’s sake.
As a photographer taking on such a task there are multiple components and angles to factor in. Given the nature of the desired theme one could end not just being the tool that help them capture cherished moments in life, but being a confidante too. Study the subject and the story they have in mind. Observe and study the personality of the principal subject and the peripheral players in your story. Create a plan to highlight significant traits and personality quirks. Explore the possibility of humor. Nothing like having a few images that bring a smile or a laugh in years to come. Study the subject from a pure aesthetic point of view will enable you to plan your shoot that will highlight the beauty and personality of the subject. Study the environs and the ambience of the location where most of the shoot is going to be done. Study angles, light, objects and soak in the overall feel of the place and people.
Once one has the overall feel for the subject and the surroundings, form a broad story outline, visualise the frames one intends to create and shoot. Sequence and streamline the shoot and the theme. Discuss with the client and brief them on the overall idea and story and how you are planning to go about the shoot, listen to their opinions and desires. Establish broad “Do’s” and “Don’ts” if one is intending and planning for candid shots. Establish ground rules and lines with regards to privacy if there are private and intimate moments being part of the theme and album.
Once the overall plan and broad outlines are established, scout the locale, if time permits, take tests shots of the the locales and the subject. Establish the required equipment for the assignment. As a thumb rules go, there will always be a few essentials, the tripod a variety of lenses – a wide angle lens and a zoom lens would by far find its ways into the essential list.
Consider using the remote release, carry spare batteries, the last thing one wants is to miss capturing precious moments for the want of charged batteries. Shoot in the RAW format for this leaves one with maximum flexibility in the post shoot stage. Attempt to standardise the shoot to either portrait or landscape, unless there is a specific need and demand to mix it up. Try and record some point of reference and context to the picture just in case one wants to make a picture book to tell the word the story one is shooting.
As always click away, have a large stockpile of images with varied moods, one can always pick up the best and this allows for a larger options and possibilities in the post shoot stage.