Scavenger Hunt: My creative process
20 September, 2019
While we are waiting for album reveals of the current round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt (round 26 already, can you believe it...?!), I thought I’d share a little about my creative process.
As always, I start by copying the list into my notebook. I went back from digital to paper and pen a few rounds ago, as I find that actually writing down ideas (as opposed to typing them into my phone) helps my creativity. The list form has the added benefit that I can (literally) check my progress. I use different symbols for different states: * means “I have a concrete idea”, 🔘 means “shot, to be edited” and finally, ✔️ means “done”. It is very satisfactory to see the number of check marks grow over time! (and of course, “done” is only really done when the deadline is there 😉). I leave a blank page for overall ideas, possible themes and photography or editing techniques I want to try or improve that round, then I write down each word separately every four pages. This leaves me enough space to write down different ideas and even add a sketch when needed.
As English is not my mother tongue, the next thing I do is to research and write down possible meanings of each word. Then I spend one or two hours with a hot or cold beverage (depending on the time of day) and some music to do an initial brainstorming. This does not necessarily mean that these ideas will end up in my final shots (just to give you an idea, this round only two of my initial ideas made the cut and one of the images was still unfinished when the deadline came), but it sets in motion my brainstorming mode.
I do this initial brainstorming as early as possible, to give my brain sufficient time to develop ideas. Every time I have an idea, I write it down immediately. In addition, I will go back to my notebook every few days to browse through through the list and give my brain a gentle nudge 😉
When I have a couple of concrete ideas, I will go through my prop cabinet to see if I have something that can be used. After 10+ rounds, I have gathered quite a few items (especially wigs 😂), but there is always something I “have” to get in addition. I have always admired Mark Rodriguez for his craftsmanship, so this round I actually built something myself instead of buying it - which is much more satisfying!
I am a visual person, so even though I have an image of the shot I want to take in my head most of the times, I will still try different camera and lighting angles, facial expressions and prop placements during the shoot. Quite often this will change the image I had planned to some degree, sometimes the result will even be completely different from what I had envisioned.