How to plan a themed shoot when you can't visualize anything!

May 04, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Today I want to touch on what the current process of booking a session looks like, and what kind of experience you can create for yourself during the planning stage of your set.

I know that not everyone has a brain that visualizes ideas and themes well. A few years ago, my husband and I discovered that he has an Aphantasia- he can't visualize things in his mind. For those unfamiliar with Aphantasia, it's not a disorder or something that needs to be fixed, it's just a different form of cognitive ability. If you asked us both to visualize an apple, he describes the outline of an apple popping up in his head, but nothing else. I on the other hand will visualize a whole scene with a light source, color, texture, shadow, etc. My husband still has an active imagination and creative thinking/problem solving, it just doesn't translate into visuals in his mind like it would in mine. If I'm trying to explain to him how I want to build a new set piece, or design something, I have to provide visual aids or drawings, otherwise he can't see it in his head.

Okay, so why am I talking about Aphantasia? Pin up, boudoir, and conceptual photography offers so many options for sessions, and you're really only limited by two things:

  1. Resources.
  2. Your imagination.

However, with people who have trouble visualizing things, I think this idea of a concept free-for-all is really daunting. I can't always produce a final concept image or promo shot for a new set. While I would love for people to just trust my body of work as an example that I can do the thing that I'm saying I'm going to do, I get that people want to wait to see what the final product will be before it's booked. Furthermore, Retro Lovely has more special theme editions than ever, and I'm just not able to individual organize or create something for each of those themes. This doesn't mean I'm not interested in the theme, but as I get busy with things through out the year it does fall back on clients to come to me when something strikes them. That said, once the consultation door is opened, I'm happy to start brainstorming and collaborating with you to create the session you want. 

So what can you do before you reach out to make sure you're getting what you want out of your themed session? Here are some things to think about:

  • You can't visualize things, but you can look at a photographer's portfolio to ensure you actually like their work. Ask yourself, do you like their set design, do you like the hair and makeup, do you like the way they edit, the posing of the subject, and the way they light the sets? It seems like a lot, but anytime you hire an artist, it's very important that you like and accept their style of work. Going to a photographer wanting them to completely change their style to fit your vision rarely works out.
  • If you want to design a concept shoot inspired by existing media such a movies, tv, or classic art, share stills and images with your photographer during your consultation. Explain what you like about the original source material so the photographer knows what to focus on.
  • If there are images within your photographers portfolio that you absolutely love, but maybe isn't the same theme that you're looking for, share them with the photographer to further narrow down the vibe you are looking to achieve.
  • If the photographer pitches something during the consultation or even during the session you don't really like, say something. You will not hurt our feelings, and it gives us the opportunity to pivot to better meet your needs.

There is also a lot of other resources you can use such as Pinterest, Google, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. to help you with inspiration for your session. As always, with Bruja Betty we do not turn away new people, and actually specialize in coaching and posing through out your session so you feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera.

To learn more and to get your session planning started, check out our page here.



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