On Creative Direction in 2019

Little musing, looking back at the year or so as I archived today: The photo industry, or at least my little corner of it, is in a day and age of packed shoot days and shot lists that are bursting at the seams, where each of the 23 shots in a day are pre-scripted with swipe reference and we have 8 minutes for each shot; we have a pre-pro where basically the client knows 〰️exactly〰️ the assets they’re getting before the shoot has even happened, we count in shot numbers and not in feeling, and the prep-pro book gets referenced so much on set that it nearly perforates from being folded and unfolded so many times. It’s nice to get an unscripted moment, I pine for more of these opportunities and approach to shoot days.

Maybe it’s on me to fight for fewer shots and more quality over quantity, but these days the shot list comes finalized with little to ability to give input or pare down without creating a train wreck or major blowup in production. It feels like a game of chicken or limbo to see how many assets can be created into a day. The quantity to quality is getting nuts; if we accomplish 15 shots in one day that sets a precedent that we could probably knock out 20 next time. I’m not mad about it, I’m real to it and slightly resigned at this point, constantly curious to where the line will break, when a company/agency gets all their assets back and nothing feels excellent, just a whole bunch of meh. These days it seems that half of being a successful, hire-able photographer is the speed at which you can work/pummel out images.

Lately I’m pulling about 15% of the work that I’m proud of from a shoot to share online. Maybe that’s a great average, but I’d like it to be way way higher. I would rather make some memorable images you keep in your mind for years but the treadmill is set to sprint from the moment call time starts. CD’s and AD’s: if you’re nodding your head, please make a push for shot lists to stay sane, to give the photographers and creatives you’ve hired some time and space to roam a bit and explore, don’t drill them with swipe to re-create. And fight off Brent in marketing’s request to squeeze in those three extra shots for an IG story the day before the shoot. Again, I’m not mad or salty or jaded or fed-up, this is still the most fun and surreal job— I get paid to take photographs and I’m eternally thankful— this is just a musing on where things seem to be at, and how I see opportunities to make better work for your companies/agencies 🤷‍♂️