Carin and I are always thinking about wedding photography. Often times we get to travel to a new place for the purpose of photographing a destination wedding. Sometimes we are just travelling for fun. Last month, we visited several Caribbean Islands, including Puerto Rico. We weren’t there for a wedding, but we still wanted to do a wedding themed photo shoot, so we brought our camera gear and a dress with us and hired a model in San Juan to try out some ideas.
Model shoots can be pretty complicated from a logistical standpoint. Logistically it is every bit as complicated as photographing a destination wedding, and in some ways more so. We still have all the normal details such as scouting locations, arranging transportation and lodging, and travelling internationally with thousands of dollars worth of gear. But on a model shoot we have the added tasks of arranging for the models, stylists, etc…
When photographing a wedding, we remember that we work for the people in the photos. That means we work around their schedule and needs, and we work to create the type of images the client wants. An actual wedding is no place to be experimenting with new ideas and concepts. A model shoot is the exact opposite. We get to pick the best time of day for a particular location, and the model works for us. So unlike an actual wedding there is no pressure to create something for the client. That allows us to take bigger risks and experiment with concepts that may or may not work.
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I think model shoots are one of the best tools a wedding photographer has to maintaining creativity. Photographers that are only photographing at weddings they are hired to photograph, run the risk of disappointing clients with their experimental work which may not be expected, or worse, getting into a rut of “safe shots” that limit creativity.
Read more about my philosophy on model photography in this post: