One of the things I am aware of when I’m teaching fine art nude photography workshops is the speed at which participants work. I’m all in favor of not overstaying your stay when you are working an idea, and at the same time I know it’s important not to rush along to the next location.
Like so many other things in life, creating art is an evolutionary process and you don’t want to cut it short. The reason is simple. By studied observation of the model and location, and being open to serendipity, whole new areas of exploration can reveal themselves. And when they do, and if you seize them, the rewards can be enormous. In fact, you may end up with a much stronger photograph than you originally envisioned.
To that point, I want to show a series I did during the Watch Me Work at the Joshua Tree Nude Photo Workshop. Please keep in mind that I am showing these not because I think these are all “keepers” but to illustrate the progression of where I started to where I ended up. I am sharing them so you can see that images, born from a good idea may not work all that well, but ultimately lead to something you love.
There are some wonderful boulder formations on the property we use near Joshua Tree. I saw this repeating pattern in the rocks and thought it would be a good place to work with Emily, my model. We had already been working for about five hours so I knew her abilities, and she knew my openness to collaboration and play. I showed her the framing in the LCD of my camera and where I wanted her to start.
Over the next 45 minutes, we shot a lot of variations. Here are a few of those.
Once I felt we had explored the options, I asked her to take a break so I could think about what else we might try. Emily stood up, picked up a small tumbleweed and placed it on her head in jest.
As soon as I saw her do it, I quickly shot a frame, and knew we had the beginnings of another series exploring the options with this prop. I showed her the frame, talked about some possibilities, and we started down a new path. Here are some of those.
In the end, we shot for another 40 minutes, and came away with far stronger images than I had envisioned to start. The second round really showed her gracefulness borne of classical dance training. And had a fresher, more sensual feel.
So my recommendation is to not rush, and always give yourself time to let the process evolve in its own way. I think you will find great things come of it.