The following photoshoot was done in a very short time and with minimal technical effort. There were no “special” costs involved – except for having to buy a few cheap candles. Despite the very little sweat required, I would say the images turned out to be very compelling.
As always when starting up the actual shoot, I was meticulously prepared regarding the narrative and mood I was looking for. The ambiance presented in the final imagery here was created way before the actual shoot, namely in the early concept phase, following my regular pre-production habits.
Creating A Coherent Concept Based On Keywords
I guess we can all agree that the word “romantic” creates a fundamentally different association than – for example – the term “wild”. Right? OK!
So, whatever keyword we decide on to be the one for our next photo concept, the term chosen leads to an immediate (and automatic) association with a few (clichéd) situations and settings attached to that term.
Of course, every person has different inner bonds to a specific term, and considering the different cultures of SWP’s different readers, even more so. Naturally “romantic” is perceived (and depicted!) in more diverse ways (which is wonderful btw). But whatever your very personal take on “romantic” is, we generally hardly confuse it with the perception and feeling (and therefore storytelling) of a term like “loneliness”, “diva” or “wild” for that matter.
And here we are again, right in the middle using the simple but powerful “Keyword First” approach that I was comprehensively talking about in my last article. Remember? A particular keyword lays the foundation and leads the way to the yet-to-be-developed story.
Choosing This Shoot’s Expressions
Let me stick to my very own stereotypical, clichéd, simple, impromptu associations of romantic”: Warm light, soft forms, calm situations.
In a shoot setup, this could be translated into natural lighting feeling, soft poses, harmonious composition, shallow depth of field, probably even a set in a night-ish feeling.
If we concentrate on the term “erotic”, we are able to create an effect/message without having to go explicit in posing/depicting at all.
The simplest way to do so is to add oil to a woman’s skin. This automatically has an impact on the story; even if it is rather subconscious most of the time. I am very aware that this “trick” is very superficial and can be waved aside as literally slippery (= too much of cliché, too cheap) but it works excellently. Using the sledgehammer method is not always a bad thing.
If you implement the concept of oily skin in a sensual, careful and tasteful way and based on certain aesthetics (= like not shooting open legs), then it works fabulously!
1 Simple Shoot Exercise Based On 2 Keywords
“Romantic & Erotic.”
Let’s now go one step further which makes my simple “Keyword First” approach clear: Let us simply combine the terms “Romantic” & “Erotic”. Since “romantic” is the foundation and tends to be rather soft, round and innocent in feel, “erotic” plays it up with allure, appeal and tease.
So, simply by mixing a squint of erotic sense into a romantic setup, the result turns out to be sizzling, captivating and wonderfully sexual on a tasteful level.
This little series here illustrates exactly those feelings in a warm, soft-lighted, tantalizing way. Romantic, erotic skin – implemented in the most simple and inexpensive ways.
- Available Light Only
- 3700 K
- ISO 640
- Focal length: 50-180mm
Tip: Use My Process For Planning Your Next Concept
Last but not least, let me give you a wrap-up and illustration of my understanding and process for a simple concept development when aiming for your next shoots.
I strongly recommend you to follow this process’ idea for once.
- Keywords are a great, raw fundamental setting, an outline to let your creative thoughts flow.
- Keywords are immensely helpful when it comes to communication and getting you on the same page with your model and MUHA (if any) before the shoot.
People will easily understand what you are talking about. Plus, complement your words with some sample images grabbed from Pinterest, Google Images, stock photo sites, former shoots etc.
- Take your time to develop a small situation (story) based on one keyword during the conception phase. You will get an idea of a little sequence that your model would have to play through (= acting & expressions). The more “acting” that is involved, the more experienced a model has to be, the more expensive her fee normally gets.