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Advice from photographer Annabel Williams

Advice from photographer Annabel Williams - Step 6 of Annabel Williams' 10 Steps to success and happiness as a creative person!

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Photo by Annabel Williams
 Photograph by Annabel Williams.
I don't know if you've ever had that "creative block" feeling - where you just don't know what to do next, feel uninspired and uncreative?  It happens to us all at some stage in our photography careers - sometime occasionally, sometimes regularly depending on how your shoot's going or just on how your  life is in general!

I find the best way to deal with it is to keep an open mind.  You can plan things as much as you like, but sometimes overplanning spoils your creativity.  It is essential to plan, for instance, if you are doing a wedding, but make sure you have planned everything BEFORE the day - so that you can focus on being creative on the actual shoot.

On a portrait shoot I never plan anything, apart from knowing who I am shooting and where the shoot will take place.  I love to turn up on the day and get creative.  I feel so much more inspired and motivated when I haven't seen the place before.  My clients will often ask if I want to come and check out the location first - but if I do, then I feel like I've done the shoot.  I would much rather turn up at someone's house and think "wow, look at this" as it gets
Photo by Annabel Williams
  Photograph by Annabel Williams.
the creative juices flowing!  If I turn up and think "oh my God, what can I do with this?!" then it's equally as creative, because I think I have to find the best places, and work with what I've got - either way it's a challenge which makes it so much more fun.

20 years ago, I used to work in a studio, but soon got totally bored - it was always the same four walls whatever you put in it, and I found it really hard work coming up with new ideas all the time.  So, when you turn up to a brand new environment on every shoot - it's always inspiring and exciting to see what you can create from what you've been given on that day - no matter what the weather - that's all part of the fun too!

Many of the photographers I teach, say they worry about what they will shoot, what backgrounds they will use, how they will dress the people etc etc .  I always tell them to keep an open mind.  If you arrive with preconceived ideas you will set yourself up to fail, and be disappointed if you don't get what you expected.  Whereas if you don't expect anything, then everything is a bonus!  You don't have to know what you're going to do; you'll find out as you go along.
photo by Annabel Williams
  Photograph by Annabel Williams.

The first thing I do on a shoot is get myself in the right frame of mind.  If it's a long journey, I will always stop half an hour before the client's house and have a coffee to get myself in the zone.  Your client doesn't want you to turn up tired and complaining about the journey!  I still accept another coffee at the client's house because that gives me time to chat to them and start to develop a relationship - the key part of successful people photography.

I then look for my locations, to give me an idea of what I can use, so that when I have finished in one location, I know where I am going next.   But the fun part is making it up together - looking for clothes that might work with a certain background for instance, and then experimenting and trying things out.  People actually prefer it if you are working together, it helps them to relax.

Don't worry about trying new things - experiment - it doesn't matter if it doesn't work - but it will be great if it does!
Photo by Annabel Williams
 Photograph by Annabel Williams.

Visit Annabel Williams' website for more details.

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