What struggles have you encountered in your series work?
The process of developing a series usually has two major drawbacks. The first being time and the second, cost. Finding multiple people, outfits, or locations will always take more time and energy. The more a photographer can understand the workflow, the easier the expectations become, but that will always take a few years.
Another struggle is working through an idea and coming to the conclusion that it might not be well thought out enough to mold a series around it. The idea or look might be too simple or too shallow and thus cannot be expanded to the required number of images. The outfits or poses might look too similar, forcing the photographer to go back to the drawing board.
A struggle that was more specific to me before I moved to Berlin was transportation. Not being able to drive in California meant that getting from place to place was either almost impossible or extremely expensive. Most of my work took place in my studio, which can be good and bad. It was helpful because I could schedule shoots back to back without changing lighting too much, keeping the look consistent across different models, but it also limited me.
How do you go about planning your series?
The first step in my planning process is purpose: what or whom am I photographing and how or why am I photographing them? This can be shorts for a sports brand, dresses for a dress shop, a sport or athlete for a school, or tools for a catalog. Once I know the basic facts I can structure where it’s going to be and whether its a composite or not, then I can start my shot list.
The shot list is very important, but perhaps the most crucial thing is the number of images we need to produce. Based on that number I can start figuring out which angles are the most valuable and which can serve as runner up. Establishing a primary shot, the cover of the series if you will, can give you more ideas about secondary angles or poses.
Getting started with planning can help any photoshoot – the more you know going in, the faster you can work during and after the shoot. This applies well when deciding what each image can offer a series. This can be shown in posing, color work, lighting, emotion, location, makeup, or clothing. The more images you plan, the more well-rounded of a project you can build. For me, it really makes me flesh out how and why I’m photographing the subject. There is a lot of talk of developing your own style, and one of the strongest ways to build one up is through concentrated bodies of work. An example of this can be seen in the Lego Vehicle series, consisting of a few Lego vehicles built for a personal project.