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Finding Inspiration

Lesson 2 from: DIY Fashion and Editorial Photography

Amanda Diaz

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Lesson Info

2. Finding Inspiration

Lesson Info

Finding Inspiration

How long? Generally, from the time that you have a concept in your mind that you actually do the shoot? Um sometimes it's super last minute and sometimes it was the best shoots I've ever done like there was no plan to them on dh sometimes I'm thinking of this forever because I don't have the right materials or I'm trying to figure out how I'm supposed to do it, so it just depends there's still things I have in my mind and I have not even done them since the beginning and I'm still I just keep coming back I'm like, oh yeah, I got to do this. So what? It really depends collaborate with a stylist or makeup artist or number stylist know sometimes like if you guys are on my page, you must be on my page sometimes when I don't put any credits like there was nothing there because there was nobody else there either. It was just me and the model she did her makeup, I did her hair, I threw clothes on her from my little, you know, dress up box in the basement. So yeah, so I you know, the thing is ...

to is like when you do stuff like this it's very important that you like it like you have to like it if you don't want to do it you know you don't force yourself you're gonna have to find somebody to help out but I like dressing up the girls I like thinking up concepts and fashion style so um yeah good yeah conceptual editorials do you ever do you like start with a look of a model that you want in mind for that specific concept or do cast do do castings or I'm not with the model you start with the model and you build on yeah I usually if I don't have a model in mind I contact the agents and I will ask them to send me ah a little roster of girls that they have available and I explained to them I need I wanted I'm doing this I'll send them a mood board which held over mood boards and they'll look at that and I'll say, oh, I have this perfect girl in this girl in this girl and they'll send it and then I will pick from there if I don't do that if I do have a a specific girl I have a tenant tend to like go to the my same girls over and over again there's certain models I'll just use because they're easy they take directions I can make them into so many different characters I will um pick them that way so it depends but it's always I gotta get the model before I can start uh I'm so visual right? I have to see the model in my head and what I'm gonna do to her and then go from it thank you yeah and I know that we are going to be talking a lot more about finding and working with models tomorrow afternoon so stay tuned for that yeah so this is a recent conceptual editorial example that I had done um the story of this is a youth innocence spring and rebirth and so the mood wass haunting and dreamy my favorite and colorless I didn't want any color no nothing like everything was and I made her eyes like ice blue because I just wanted it I don't know it just had to all tie together the clothing again is from michelle is she's a local paper she makes everything out of paper the hat sold for this hat you guys will laugh but this was actually a too cool you don't call it to care what you call it what you call those winter hats beenie canadians call them tuks but anyways that was from the dollar store and I bought a bag of feathers from the dollar store and I took a hot glue gun and I just put the hat on top of a manic and head the beanie on top of mannequin head and I just glued hot glued feathers all over it and so it turned out really well and um yeah this is all ya and then the middle photo is um same thing feathers from the dollar store michelle's designs on all three of them are the same uh all of the lighting was on ly window light no light was out of here reflected to bring up on the face a little bit first so we could get rid of shadows what flat straight on window light which will be kind of trying to do when we do a shoot um later and elements added again like I said so sorry baby we're yeah this is what the title was called and it was for fashion world magazine and the elements added to go with everything everything needs to tie together like I've explained and he had branches a bird cage feathers eggs there's little little eggs in her hair baby birds sorry um a nest and most everything that wasn't paper was either purchase at the dollar store goodwill and including the bird cage which I have sprayed about three different times it was black and then it was blue and now it was turned white um yeah we got everything in her hair and stuff I got white spray paint and just so everything could kind of go together and make it all white and makeup artist this is just all hola team effort thing that was just for fun but it worked turned out well the makeup artist had the wig and the way we plans was so strange because local photographer back home he's like hey, I have this stuff michelle left at my house I don't know what to do with it you want to come check it out I was like okay you know I looked at it and then my makeup artist was like, hey, I got a white way you want to do something with this I was like okay and then I was like oh my god I got like yeah and then it just kind of built from there so like I said it's not always this wasn't plant this was like two days previous and we managed just throw everything together and create a concept out of it the fashion world took it and I was so happy but yeah and so that's that that's example of a conceptual editorial what is going on with the backdrop there what is that that is a uh piece of cloth and their first of all there's a white blanket and it's just on the backdrop you know for paper I just clamp the cloth on and then that is a sheer material right behind her there and she is pulled out from the a backdrop that's why it's so soft because I didn't want I didn't want that focus there so she's like so here say the carpet was the window and she's about here in the backdrop was probably where the tv wass yeah, so yep anything else? More questions okay, so we can keep going yeah, I think that's great let's keep going. Okay what's uh finding inspiration so as a photographer um I want to talk about where you found your inspiration for your work um how you could take something that has inspired you and make it your own and why it's very important to do so by making it your own not just taking elements from someone's work and recreating it because it's not really good um and when feeling stuck what are ways you can get out of that mindset so this is the kind of things I will go over in this section, so finding inspiration if you're truly looking it's everywhere. So I want to talk about where I find inspiration from a lot of things that I where I draw it from so movies in cinematography so I have a little list here about a read off so we're watching cinematic movies it could be an amazing thing and khun sugar ideas for a conceptual shoot specific movies oh, you pay a close closer attention to the composition, the colors, the atmosphere, the time period, the locations, the lighting um this will help you think of elements toe add and build on for a creator shooting the future some of my favorite visually beautiful movies are memories of a geisha because they've ever seen anybody seen that you go back and watch that now and really pay attention to it every scene pretty much I'd say nine percent if you pause it it's like a beautiful painting it's like a picture every scene and it's gorgeous and I started studying cinematography in there from the beginning started really focusing on that because it was a lot of where I got my inspiration from for composition, everything emotions I got a lot of it from that um the next movie I love I love my foreign films like I don't know, but I just watch a lot of those because they're beautiful some of them they can't compare like you know our movies here that we see you guys watch foreign films sometimes you khun pick up like great ideas from that on the next one is crouching tiger, hidden dragon it's all but I loved that movie oh wow, it was so good! I just love the story line it was inspirational I loved everything it was just it's even if you guys ever go back and look at that, I think if they could they'd have dubbed in english now but anyway that's another one other one the most recent movie haven't had time to watch any movies I want to seem eliphas in't I know that'll be inspirational but is a life of pi that you guys seen that that's gorgeous movie just beautiful every time he would go into his storytelling the way it was all so just oh my god, I got goose bumps, I love it! It was beautiful, the lighting when they're on the boat and it's just gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and then another movie that's huge inspiration I've watched probably twenty times is three hundred, yeah, I love movies like that I'm not into these girly movies, but three hundred is gorgeous red through the whole movie, the makeup through the whole movie, the mood through the movie composition it's again cinematography it's just beautiful. So it's a lot of gore, you know, a lot of killing and stuff, but besides that it's it's really just yeah, so if you guys start paying attention to when you're watching movies, I'm a big movie person. I'm not a tea person and so on. Yeah, so look out, go to google, you can type in cinema, cinematic or cinematography and it will give you like wikipedia has lists of movies, you can go find movies that you like paintings, so this is another big inspiration for me. I draw a lot of inspiration from paintings I like to search paintings online, I'm not, you know I'm not going to pretend I'm some big, like, you know, artists are like art, you know where I look into like I know this artists and that I don't I go online or all go walk through like a museum or art gallery, and I like to look them up online because of the the emotion and stuff that paintings bring out so you can learn a lot from analyzing the posture, the poses, the facial expressions, um, composition and moods. So if you guys wanna write this down, you google classical paintings in motion this you can find on youtube. This is a little clip somebody had recreated. They took some classical paintings and computerized certain elements in the painting. So there is one there's a scene where oh, it's, just beautiful and she's this mom, I don't was mary. I don't know what it was there's. A lot of mary paintings in this but she's holding a baby and the baby's, like, you know, reaching up it's it's, a moving painting, it's, the actual original one, but they computerized it, but it's really cool to watch and it's me and it's just anyway. Yes, there's that. And, uh, the other one was john everett millais he is, if he's the bats that's what we're talking about cristal his last name were trying I have to write it so I set it properly but he made the famous ophelia painting is where she's laying down I can't show you guys that painting but you can google it she's laying down in like a better way water and surrounded by all this greenery it's very popular painting um another he has beautiful work um and francis sydney must champ I'm saying that right? This painting particular painting my mom had bought it's just a knock off it's just a replica or whatever but it's called feeding the doves so you guys want to look that up it's beautiful and it's just it's very ethereal these two ladies one sitting on a step in the other lady standing it takes time back and maybe the sixteenth century and there like in a garden on these steps and it's just gorgeous so my a lot of that is like inspires me I love to see that kind of scenery is heavily with what I d'oh um the next thing is finding our yeah art so art this wood fit in with painting? Same thing sculptures for examples are great for studying body language visiting a museum contribute many ideas if you're willing to take the time, pay closer attention to the little things um once you guys I'm hoping now that like I mentioned this if you haven't already but once I have I've been mentioned this kind of thing you will you know when once you get out and you start seeing like advertisements are you going to the you know art gallery and stuff you really start to like you know take that picture in your head from something and remember it like you know it's it's really good to pick up tips on how to pose your models and stuff rather than always looking like it you know this photo in that photo it helps to kind of separate you from what everyone's doing type thing um music videos okay, this is another thing I look at as if I do with um movies music videos are another great way to draw inspiration many videos are made to tell a story with great imagery, ideas, themes and so on ah lot of music videos are like many movies they do they tell a little story if not all of them but a lot of them dio and so I'm going to give you guys a couple of music videos to look up it's the kind of music I like but um it's so this one's old shot day and it's safe maybe this is I've watched this video billion times because I love the song and it's a story of the little mermaid and the song is called no ordinary love and it's my favorite the scenery, the clothing, the mood it's it's, it's beautiful and it's just it's the story of the little mermaid she's underwater and is gorgeous like you just you can pick up so many ideas just from the way it's filmed and then she she's like becomes a human and she goes out into the world and she's looking for this guy and she's sad and anyway it's really, really good so that's one of the videos and another video I can tell you about is miguel it's my g u e l and he has a video it's a song called adorn this isn't really this isn't really a story it's more off for lighting purposes and for the styling so it's very seductive fashion there in like a I don't know where they are like a park parking garage I don't know where they are they're in someplace and it's they've put gels and colored lights with the whole video and it's even it's good for because I like to use gels sometimes and it's the mixture of colors they use so I get a lot of ideas off things like that and the girl he's singing to she's got this lace thing wrapped around her face and the make up everything it's just really cool so I pick up a lot of ideas from from music videos and things like that and some really helpful locations is another one you pay attention to your surroundings ask fellow photographers if they have any ideas, friends or family who owns or works at a desire location your own home going on photo walks, which is a common thing or a drive um, location scouting in your car asking strangers um I'll tell you guys ho ho, I ask strangers about that stuff, so if you were like strangers yeah, so it's scary as hell I don't like doing it. I don't back those the snow white shot that I had showed you guys previous you guys probably maybe saw their snow white images from that siri's where there is one she's holding an apple and there's like this cottage house behind her he saw you remember that that this lady lived down the street from me for years before photography always loved her house was like, that is like a fairy tale it's just so cool and this not and so I didn't grow up. I didn't ask her previous or anything like that, we got ready and I said let's, just go down to this woman's house and I'm gonna knock on her door and if she's not home, we'll just quickly snap it and leave and then, but if she is, you know I'll talk to her my heart was pounding but I had to get the house I wanted that house like I needed it in the story and I mean all the other houses were just modern looking and this one was just the right one so I rang on the doorbell dog started barking really loud I could hear him he's like a big guy I could hear the bark and then um I could hear the baby start crying and she was coming like I could hear you coming up to the door I was like oh my god like I don't know I just got freaked out but I had to do what I had no choice right and she'll open the door and she just looked really confused as I was talking a mile a minute I'm like I am just too really we're doing the snow white story and I really love your house and I will photoshopped your address out nobody will know where you live and I'm like you know here's my website but I was just talking like a mile a minute and she's like okay go ahead and I'm like really okay I'll boot I'm like we'll just be like five minutes and then I we did their thing and I got out of there so fast I don't know why I just freaked out and but it turned out and it worked out and from that you know when you want to do it for the first time you're good and you can kind of keep practicing at it. So this is how I go to strangers and ask them things yeah it's kind of I know even like storefronts somebody's car like in an ali some I'll go and be like you know I really like your car can I have the model sit on that for a second and usually the guys there like okay, yeah, sure well yeah so it works out good and yeah, so that's the way I do that whenever I'm out I paid extra attention to all the surroundings and I constantly like in my head anywhere we were driving around last night and everywhere we were going to seattle so beautiful I was like, oh my god, I could do so much here because of all the greenery and the the gardens and everywhere we're going I was like picturing this picturing that was like, look at that house and it was crazy and last night we found some tree. It was so weird I don't know it was like it had all these flowers on it and I just it was like pink purple all these colors I was like is that even real but anyway so paying attention to your surroundings and peyton just pay close attention and even when it's not pretty try to reef like re imagine things in your head to use it in other ways so if it's a dirty old ali you can put contrast and put a princess in there you know that kind of thing there's ways you can just reimagine things in your mind use them differently and so will talk a little bit about light shadows so light can be inspirational I needed to constantly remind myself divisional eyes things in a way that made others I'm sorry maybe others did not see the same and that's what we do is artists right? We all have our own interpretation of things as they grew is an artist and photographer also became more aware of light when I first started I didn't care I didn't I didn't know I was like I'm just photoshopping us at it but I had to start right learning that um the reason I say shadows as well as I try to notice shadows casting across the wall, for example or the models face you know say we're she's signing in front of earth you know, in a tree or something and there's branch is a lot of times their natural reaction is to be like, oh, you need to come out their shadows on your face but I try to utilize that kind of thing because not always but if I feel it might look good I will leave the shadows on her branches or flower you know, whatever dangling in front of her like I said shadows on the wall behind her it adds a lot of drama to the images so you can allow shadows if using them properly I was told you know all the rules we here right? No no hard sunlight don't know you can't have shadows you can't and I I don't know as time went on I thought, well why how come I don't understand why can't I you know so anyway this this is two examples like I just explained the first the first one she is yeah thes air the sun was pointing straight outer and there was some trees and I had her standing between the the two trees shadows teo to frame around her body and I liked it and I did a little bit of burning to really bring the tree out so you see it even stronger because I couldn't under expose the photo right? So I just fix a little bit of that in editing and then the next photo again is, um excuse me it's um these flowers in front of her and I had her in the tree and I noticed the shadow and I told her, you know, just tilt your head up it's like at a little more of that and there and it worked out, so don't be afraid of shadows um now the last one is from other photographers. So it's important to draw inspiration from all the above things that I had mentioned, how to take inspiration from other photographers would be for, um, you know, okay, so all points I'll talk about this one guy I tried to call I could mention someone, right? Um, I tried to contact him. I don't think he really speaks english, actually, so he didn't report back to me was too bad, but I'm talking about him anyway. His name is lee jeffries. So this guy, he is veering a little way away from what he has done. Mostly, um he does deep emotional and haunting photos of homeless people. He goes around the world and he finds, like all ladies and old men, homeless children oh, my god, just like stabs you in your chest. Just he I don't know he just the way he does it. It's crazy and it's. Very sad, it's very gritty. It's very in your face. It's always close up, like cropped in close up shots of these people. You see all of their everything, and he really brings out the lines in your face and the dirt and whatever it is, you know, and it always gives me shivers I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about those work right now and it inspires my own work but in my own style I don't shoot homeless people I don't think I'd want to I just probably have a breakdown but um the way he edits he not everyone is homeless but in the beginning he did a lot of that and he's kind of changing it a little bit but if you guys look him up and look at this stuff it's amazing he so here's two elements that I took from him because he inspired me in his own way he would make the eyes like glass like like there was something behind there right? And it was just the way he would edit it and I I had to figure out how does he make the eyes like glass and I would look online and how do you know google it and not all my shots? But I wanted to learn that cause I seen that element and it was just that's why a lot of times people say, oh, I stare at your photos oh it's all it's emotional or whatever it's because I was trying to get that same feeling that he would pull into hiss write the other thing he would do was again the emotion on dh editing he would he does a lot of black and white and it's bold, vintage looking. Maybe he shoots film. I don't even know. But, um, the editing style was just and adds to the whole thing is, black and white just automatically become this dramatic when you, you know, if it's if it's, if it's suiting the photo, right, but it's just as even more to it.

Class Materials

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Lightroom Preset Samples
Photoshop Actions
Texture Samples
Creative Shoot Checklist
Mini Posing Guide
Amandas Favorite Photoshop Action - Enchanted
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Dan ilicak

Amanda diaz has given me inspiration and purpose. I wake up everyday inspired to create a beautiful image, atleast enough to hold your "aww" for a few seconds. I can relate to Amanda on so many levels as I also found myself in photography and never planned for it. Just like Amanda, I also started from scratch with nobody to help or assist me. If I had found this tutorial a few years ago, it would have speeded up the process of learning. Even today I call myself a professional photographer, this course still had a lot to offer me. I can blab on and on about how much I love and support Amanda diaz, however I will make it short and sweet by saying three simple words, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

a Creativelive Student

This was the best creative and most prolific 3 days of a tutorial. Amanda covered the entire spectrum of what every photographer who's trying to become better and bigger go through. I loved the part where she spoke about how to shoot in any lighting situation outdoors and a few indoors. She not only spoke about them, she went into full detail to help the novice or advanced level photog. Despite the tethering issues CL had with Lightroom, Amanda poetically commanded every day of her 3 days. Another point is that she did everything "her way", and not the traditional textbook style of teaching and editing. One prolific point is that NONE of the previous CL instructors touched the issue of drama, unwanted criticisms, or unprofessional things that happen in the industry, however with a brilliant stroke of quiet humility, and courage, Amanda did. I believe it helped everyone realize that no matter what level of photography you're on that it happens and you have to oftentimes "bite your tongue", or "turn the other cheek". It also pointed out that as photographers we should be doing everything to help one another to build our industry, vice tear it down by hurting one another because of the mindset of "competition". Amanda Diaz, and CL I salute and thank you dearly! Semper Fi! Mike

Student Work