Storytelling Shoot: Message in a Bottle
For this concept shoot, we're going teo do an engagement shoot themed message in a bottle and so what? I'm shooting an engagement shoot I'm thinking of a lot of different things for what I can do to tell a story because in the end this might be a guest book that the guest will sign at the wedding or maybe it goes on their website, maybe it'll turn into a video, maybe it'll be a slide show at the wedding. It could be a lot of different things, even a cluster on the wall, so I pitch stories and I try to tell the stories through my image is so for a message in a bottle if you think about it, what comes to your mind? What kind of ideas start popping your head so all right, you need a bottle, you're going to need maybe parchment, you'll need a man and a woman, do you? Are you thinking romantic for me? That's kind of where my mind goes? What pieces do I need to tell the story? And then I set out on that day to shoot, and that might mean I need a location like this, so of course message in a ...
bottle, I'm going need water going to need something to tell that story? Um, the next thing that I'm going to need is going to need props and I source these props from a lot of different places. Some of them I got an etsy dot com and I reached out to different vendors there, and I actually have a link on my block to the vendors that I found some of the bottles in the parchment from, um, and then clothing do you go to a vintage shop? Do you talk to the bride and groom to be and say what kind of clothing to have that fits this? So I put together and it's higher concept in my head and then just pull pieces eye, get the location, I get the lighting, I get the props, and then I make it happen, and I shoot, uh, and you know what? You have to be fluid. Now, if I showed up on the day and it just wasn't working well, you tweak the concept doesn't have to be exact. I bring a lot of inspiration, um, so that I have something to look at, and so if I'm feeling stock and for some reason that location or that individual it's just not speaking to me, I can pull out my inspiration and kind of build off of that. So the first shot that I want to dio is going to be the photograph of the man alone um it's thie groom who doesn't have the love of his life yet he's writing his message is sending them out into the ocean and hoping to find his true love um, the next shot of course, that I need to dio is a shot of her alone she's pining for the man to love her. So you have that I need my close up shots of the bottles on the beach maybe I'll need shots of him um writing on the part of our shooting over his shoulder holding the bottle um on of course I need shots of them together, so I have a whole bunch of different props and I'm going to go about doing that now, so first let's start with a shot of him alone. Well, I have here is when I was scouting out this location I liked the leading line of the shore in the background so that's kind of what my mind was looking for if I'm shooting the other direction it's it's just kind of one long curve kind of like this nice s curve I love the texture of the clouds in the background, so I'm going to shoot a few shots of him alone and then I have this bottle over here um and I did have this from somebody at sea, but you can just buy these bottles and so I got the bottle with kind of a page from an old a book, so I'll shoot some of him alone and then a couple with this in the foreground in focus and then him in the background so I'm telling a story perfect. So you're confident you're going to find your woman that's what it is okay for effect. Perfect. Great. Perfect. Okay, so I got the bottle in the foreground. You in the background? Nice storytelling images and now I want a shot of you with the bottle. All right? So I can get that shot and I could do a lot more storytelling if I wanted teo, I can pull out the parchment, get him writing, get more shots of that. I need the shot of him putting the bottle in the water that's kind of part of the story. Um but then I could move on to her if I want. So I'm gonna switch lenses. I'm gonna bring you so you kind of wait up in the water for me and then just hold the bottle at your side and I'm not getting your face in it I'm just gonna get the bottle and your feet perfect just like that, I would like bigger waves one ways perfect and one more shot, many gofer, really dramatic. So I am going to switch to a really wide angle and put my camera on the ground should be really dramatic shots. All right, here we go. I'm gonna get dirty, uh and look like you're gonna toss the bottle good and when we're back at me perfect. The next shot that I need is an intimate shots of the two of them together, but I don't want to do close up yet. I'm going to get a couple far shots. I want to make use of these clouds. Why have them on the really beautiful, really dramatic? So I'm going to stand back news a seventy, two hundred to compress the scene, and I'm just looking for a kind of intimacy interaction between the two of them on and then I'll do, of course, a few shots with the leading lines in the foreground, so okay, so I'm gonna have you put your arm around her back good, and you're gonna snuggle kind of into the nape of his neck. Perfect. And so one of the things to with this dress, I have clips on the back, and so what you're doing is you're either watching to pose it. Um so that's not in the frame or you're posing it's that you can photo shop it out easily this is a rented dress you work with what you have you know not every dress you're gonna have is made for that individual zack you look at me for one good okay, now you kiss the top of her head perfect that's perfect ice closes great and softer hand on a shirt israel soft perfect and can you dip her back just a little good and that's great perfect all right so now I need a shot involving the bottle to tell my story okay, what are you going to do? Kind of a snuggle dip not is don't have snuggled up you know you're stumbling anything um and I'm gonna have the bottle in the foreground to tell the story looks cute when you get really really loathsome literally on the ground perfect good snows will kiss exceptional okay and turns I can see his face a little bit more too good and look at each other this time perfect right now I'm gonna get a shot of them with the bottle because that's their story of how they met so hold a bottle really really far out towards me okay and you guys are gonna have your face is basically in the back or not to focus so like they're perfect good perfect looks great and well if you close your eyes perfect. Get a little bit more focus in the background ready for reflector I'm just gonna fill in a little bit of light in their eyes most of the time it doesn't matter. It's actually, right now, it's kind of overcast, even light. When have their eyes closed? Just kind of shapes the face, but I'm gonna actually have them open their eyes in a second. So I want to add a little bit of silver, phil just right underneath right there. Perfect. Okay, so first close your eyes, both of you. Perfect. And pull your head just a little bit. Gets hidden behind his face. Turned overshadow her. Listen. Okay, good. Perfect. Just like that. And heads together a little more perfect. And then one laugh to proof it perfect. Okay, I'm gonna get really low in there and reflects that kind of fill in the shadows. Perfect. Just like that right now. But see, you're complaining that you don't look happy. Perfect good and, uh, kiss the side of the simple good and your hand is kind of covering his face just a little good. Yep. Perfect. Good thing. All right, I didn't do anything I e d s they're not actually dating for the audience out there, so another thing that I sometimes like to incorporate into my shots our signs it's really great ifyou're doing engagement session if you have maybe for a save the date card if you have a sign that will actually say the date that they're getting married or messages that communicate something about the couple s o in this shot because we're telling the story of the message in the bottle she is waiting to be found she's waiting to find her love so I have a sign that says waiting to be set found uh I'm going to have propose and I'm gonna have him in the background out of focus so she's thinking of him he is her dreams that's a suggestion sona focus on her I'm shooting with my eighty five probably shoe at around two point oh maybe two point eight so he is visible in the background but out of focus and it's all about her and she's looking a little sad I don't know what to say head perfect just like that can look a little happier like like hopeful perfect just like cats all right when do one really dramatic and low close your eyes again I'm gonna take silver reflector I can't take this for you guys okay? You know that hot perfect just like that beautiful head shot perfect close your eyes again for one kind of snuggling her and now hizb oath at me and now both of your faces big smiles perfect this was the message in the bottle engagement shoe, and so as you saw throughout the shoot, I'm telling this story I'm having the shots of him alone shots of her alone, putting them together, having props, having a great location, trying to get the lighting pretty much all of the elements just to come together to tell that story. And I'm thinking about romance, I'm thinking about intimacy, trying to capture moments of them together, really powerful compositions, and in the end, I'm just trying to tell the story of their love. So hopefully by doing this and taking all these elements together, I can stand out from my competition it's not just a typical engagement shot of the two of them together, but instead it's a story it's engaging it's eye catching and helps me stand out as a photographer and that's how I mark it myself and stand out from the competition. So really quick, um, we have five minutes before break I'm going to flip through the end shot s and tell you kind of what I would use them for, and the ones that I selected there are a whole bunch of different things also a bunch of images you didn't seem issue on camera, so I have for my story have shots of him alone um, I would pitch this as an album I would pitch it as the core at their wedding. Especially if maybe I say, you know what? Maybe you could do kind of beach themed. You can have a message in a bottle there. Maybe that's kind of your party favors. Can you integrate that? And so I'm helping people have more stylized wedding. I'm telling the story. I could also put some of these things on a save the date cards or wedding announcements. But here the shot of him alone, a shot of I thiss was eleven dollars for that little suitcase at a seymour. Um, and then we bought the bottles and the bigger bottles I got from etc. But the little bottles were ninety nine cents. Uh, a seymour. So I mean, it's kind of I'm not actually really that crafty, but I come up with an idea, and then I try to find people to help me with those any of shots of him putting the bottle in the water. The next part of the story is the bottles in the water. So that's a seventy, two hundred shot of it on his own. Um when you're telling a story it's okay to have pictures of products now of course they might not buy this but if you're putting it as a cluster as a collection it's it's a nice image I mean, I saw a lot of your eyes go up like oh that's pretty so it is it's a stabbing yourself again as an artist telling a story um next to have her alone so I have her she's looking a little sad and longing like she's looking for somebody um and then a shot this is kind of think would be an extended version bottle in the foreground her out of focus in the background I am making sure I have kind of a nice leading lines and a dark and down the sky so I used what I had available because that at first you know, I heard one of the people with me say like, oh man of course it's another seattle cloudy day and I thought no that's great because it's dramatic and it's romantic uh and then of course they found each other. So you guys saw that shot? Um typically you don't want a fist and a hand like kind of just a big bald like tense fist, but in this shot I took it as she's found him she's not letting him go she's holding on a real tight so this is an example where? All right, so maybe if you entered it in a photo competition they would probably complain about the hand but for me it worked just like I've got this guy s so this is where I shot really low up against the sky on and he saw that the effects that I added that coloration is all done in in light room on the only things I go into photo shopped for are the things like, uh, getting rid of some wrinkles on her neck depending on how her head was turned if I need to retouch the armpit if there were the like in this shot, there was clips coming out from behind her elbow, so I'm going to photo shopped for those things you saw these they found the bottle shots of them together pretty intimate shots picture you can see their face I think that looks like the cover of a romance novel. Um, I definitely do that's the use of the sign I again I was playing with ok look like you're coming to find her, so I'm telling the story of and all that kind of try to verbalize what I'm trying to achieve in that shot like okay, so right now you're sad and you're wishing your man was there like, okay now she's waiting to be found on your coming from behind um the waiting to be found I wouldn't have a link on my block which will be available tomorrow that this is somebody online on etsy who makes these signs if you like anything like if you have a session where you want the save the date, the date of the engagement or right save the day on a sign she can make it different fun she could make it as a sign so I find people that I team up with and then I know what her turnaround time is, so for each wedding I know I could go to that individual and so even though it's not your hair makeup wardrobe creative team it's still part of your creative team um and another sign never let me go um of course you have to get the interaction emotional shots and this is what I would say more towards traditional portraiture, which I still think is beautiful and that's why I'm saying what I'm saying do fashion flare it's not because there's anything wrong with beautiful emotional traditional portraiture it's just because I would need to do something a little different to stand out because a lot of people could take the shot, which is beautiful for a lot of these poses you'll see later, I actually will you bring inspiration in the extended video? I'm pretty sure they'll have it I I show where I get my inspiration from um and I actually haven't I've had out for posing for couples that I actually use with couples, but you can also save images, and so you'll see later for the shoot we have later on, I've printed out images I found online and more interaction you need you need the normal shot, we need the shot that they're actually going teo may be put in the paper or something like that more interaction. Um and then I got really dramatic and did some shots in the ground, and this was inspired. I brought this pose along from a shot that I'd seen by another photographer totally different shot it's not cheating it's just giving me some kind of inspiration and so I literally onset showed them I said, see this okay, we're gonna do a pose like that. Is that okay with you? It looks really beautiful. I think you'll be great for this shot because normally it's ok, go lay down on the ground like, I don't know if I wanna lay on the ground, but when you show them what the end result is, okay, all right. So you know, I trust you and they know what direction they're going, so those were the message in the bottle shots oh, it's exactly ten, three look at that very that was very cool. I like that a lot do we want to take it maybe one or two questions even though you're right on time for this because we'll come back and do something else before you go on honey, I do all right, so, um a question was from um martin in london can you talk a little bit about a natural light exposure and do you overexpose slightly to keep it bright and airy? Okay, so when I'm shooting on location if I can I try not to even use light modifiers I try to pay attention the light on the face imposing individuals what's catching the light right work I turned him around so that the light is nice in the face or so that it's hitting the hair uh I think that's one of the most important things you could possibly do as a photographer is actually pay attention to what the lights doing and trying to just instead of trying to just say okay, I'm gonna stick you here threw a flash on and try to overpower and then just I know what my flash does really paying attention light on the face so in in this instance most shots when I'm shooting on location I often will overexpose by a third two thirds of a stop particularly when photographing a woman because then it makes the skin lighter and it draws less attention to wrinkles or blemishes for these shots a lot of them were actually somewhat under exposed because I was going for moody and then I went in light room with the localized adjustment brush and darkened down the clouds and so it's how I pulled out the details in the clouds there um but typically yeah, I will overexpose I'd just paid attention to make sure my background isn't too distracting once I overexposed have a question from your nam godly from redding, california how do you keep rented clothes clean on location? Okay, a couple things, so depending on what it's from where it's rented from like this place, I have a cleaning fee that's built into the rental so you don't want to ruin this stuff but I am paying for cleaning fee, so if I want to get little dirty they're gonna wash it uh kind of uh you know wanna ruin anything? What I usually do is on location I always bring several colors of garbage bags, so what I can do is I'll put like, for example, I don't want her laying on the ground because I don't want to get the dress dirty I'll put a garbage bag down black or white depending what the dress looks like there's, other color garbage bags as well I have relaying on it and then I just talk it under and I'll just tuck it under her body so that it's not visible, uh, when you're borrowing shoes. True story, completely true story. Uh, not that you want to buy return them, but when we're running them from like high end places, people put cut sanitary napkins and put on the bottom of shoes. I swear to god, that's what my silas does s so that they don't get scuffed, it doesn't ruin the shoes. I don't personally, but that's what she does that's, her solution. Um, so right, I do not get credit for that idea. Um, and so most of the time, it's just taking something I can kind of talk under. So and then and again, the reasons garbage bags is. If it's wet, it doesn't soak through. If you just use a cloth, which I did in the past, I brought kind of just like a towel, and we'll talk it under the water would go right through.