F/8 And Be There; No Plans? No Preparations? No Problem. Page 2

Right away I realized that the lack of preparation had affected the way I was shooting. Or maybe it was the way I was feeling, I dunno, but it was sure different. Because the whole thing was an improvisation, I was free to take whatever chances I wanted to. It was like playing with house money. Or like playing, period. There was no right, no wrong, no judgments based on expectations. I think the pictures I got really show my spontaneous and relaxed approach to the shoot. Or maybe I'd just like to think they do.

One other thing: With no planning, no crew, and no goal for the use of the photos, I took a lot more pictures than I usually do. If there's no goal, how do you know when you're done? You shoot as long as you want to, as long as you're having fun and think you're getting good stuff. I shot for three days with 10 models each day--five in the morning, five for the afternoon. I took a ton of flash cards. Usually I'd have one person with me who does nothing but download cards to the laptop all day long, but here I had a bunch of cards and didn't think about downloading until the end of the day.

Long story short, I came back with a couple of hundred winners that'll go to different stock outlets, so the thing will pay off eventually. But the really cool thing was the way it felt. In a word: awesome. I'm ready to do it again. I think I need to pull back a little from the bigger jobs, ease off and enjoy more. The thing is, most people would think that having a lot of plans and a shot list and locations chosen and models cast and all that stuff takes the edge off, that there's no tension to the shoot because it's all laid out. But that's not true. The more organized you are, the more pressure there is to come back with something that pays off on all that organization. Just roaming around and freewheeling it, there's a little bit of the attitude, hey, if I blow it, I wasn't serious in the first place.

Anyway, I had so much fun I'm thinking of talking about the Prague adventure in my Shutterbug column. See you in print."