Creative Collaborations With Photography.
The coming together of multiple people of multiple backgrounds and skill sets with a unified goal to create something aesthetically beautiful.
Its quite a simple notion really and one I actually love to do, but its not been without its pitfalls and people wanting to pervert it to be a sole beneficiary.
But that is not what I am going to talk about today.
Creative collaborations are a means of satisfying a creatives persons need to be, well, creative!
In every job there is scope to be creative, it is my job. But the reality is I am there to provide a specific outcome that the client needs using skills and tried and tested means.
That’s why you pay a professional, the wood carvers on the Titanic weren’t experimenting on the job, and neither do us pro photographers.
Creative collaborations can feed into the professional aspect by creating some example images to present to the client for ideas, but its not the purpose of such shoots, and should never be the cause of such or it perverts the work of others to be a sole beneficiary.
So, how does a creative collaboration start?
It starts with an idea! a concept, which sometimes might be vague and need development, or can be much more detailed but need the feedback from other professionals in styling and makeup to add substance to it. To give you an example through the process we went from this image with a breif description that was along the lines of wanting to create the feeling of winter and cold with makeup, to the end images.
Quite a leap from a sketch to the end.
But it didn’t get there by my work alone, so much was discussed over what literally equated to weeks between me and Amy the makeup artist alone. I wont go into the finer points of conversation or list it all as we went over a lot of issues, topics and went so far as model selection together based on our discussions. But here was the initial response I got to the selection of sketches and inspirational images (known as a mood board to us creatives):
Okay its really similar to what i was thinking. Although i probably wont fade the neck to a different colour because i want to define the collar bones and i think id prefer to keep it more natural than add patterns? but i will probably add snowflakes down the neck.
Because i want to white out her whole face and neck ill be adding blue everywhere to create shape and dimension
Amy is a creative professional, one I would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone though at the time of doing this was still in college (and now very busy, and rightly so).
Now if you take a look at what she first opened with, you can see her putting in her professional understanding, noting where certain makeup would fail (white out and using colour to define facial shapes that we all have). We covered lips, how to slick the hair, how much should be in the image like hands and shoulders which came to be used to help proportions in the images. Even threw a couple of jokes about what would look bad in there.
Bringing in a model.
This was a tricky part, me and the makeup artist went through a long list of people we thought would be suitable, those that had a good record for reliability and had the traits we thought suited the intended end result (with some margin for flexibility). Because of the level of work involved that, in this case involved a form of painting a persons hair (extensive preparation and clean up, nothing irreversible) which some weren’t comfortable with.
Luci was the model who was not only comfortable with the idea (mostly) but also one who was excited to be involved in the creation of the end image. You would be surprised how much of a help this is, but also being a member of a team of people had her own input, and subsequently any concerns she had were addressed before the actual shoot. Because you dont want to book a day, a studio space, loose out on income for some one to turn up and refuse, or fail to turn up on the day.
The importance of communication.
Should go without saying, but communication is a 2 way street. You can tell people your intentions, show them sketches and discuss possibilities. People air their cautions and what they are comfortable with, and if you reference the beginning of this blog, it can also enlighten you to time wasters.
Some of these jobs can take weeks to organise, multiple meetings, it can be both the most exciting, dull, and frustrating part of the whole experience.
Exciting as you feel the idea taking shape, the image becoming clearer in your mind, the fact you are closer to achieving it.
Dull in respect to organising, sometimes finding props and other materials and factoring in costs makes a very bored artist indeed.
And frustrating, as ultimately things can, do, and always will go wrong. If making your own props it can bring a person close to tears, if having time wasted, if something breaks or an arrangement falls through can all dampen the mood.
You fight through, things go wrong, you work around, if working on location the weather is typically either your best friend or worst enemy and is more unpredictable that the drunken aunt at family gatherings (maybe that just me?).
But the conclusion, that image you see there makes it all worth it, and when you see other happy faces from the combined work of many dedicated people its even better, and best of all it feeds the need to be creative and to create.
You also come away having learnt new ways of working, learning something about you co-contributors specialities and come the next shoot you are a bit more aware, a bit more capable and a bit quicker to a conclusion and getting the work done.
Its a fantastic feeling in the end.
You want to get involved?
I do love collaboration, and love to hear ideas as much as propose them among the creative community.
I tend to work specifically with people with creative professions to cut out the habitual abusers who are after advertising images for free (its alarmingly common and you can see lots of examples out there), so generally will only engage with such people who are trustworthy.
But if you are new to the whole world and just want to create something, have a good foundation of an idea to build on it doesn’t hurt to ask me.
I will happily take it under consideration on its merit.
All that covered I hope you have learnt something today, and have enjoyed reading.