Ana-Maria – A Remedy for Lack of Inspiration

My inspiration often tends to go into hibernation mode during winter. Looking back at my recent blogging activity I realize that it has been a long time since I actually published a blog post containing images. That is not a good sign as it means that I am not photographing enough. So, last weekend I tried to do something about that together with the lovely Ana-Maria. A relatively small and simple portrait shoot just to get things going again. I am happy with the results we got but I am even more happy that my inspiration has started to awaken from its winter sleep.

Part of the lack of image content in my recent blog posts is actually a result of the fact that my main focus right now is a project that I would like to keep to myself for another couple of months. That is, however, not an excuse for not working on other things in parallel. Winter is another reason for my photography drought. For me, it’s a lot more difficult to find inspiration during the winter when the world seems to dress in nothing but a disgusting mix of gray and brown. But even though I have had trouble finding inspiration during the last couple of months, I have felt a slight improvement recently and it is starting to overpower my frustration. Some ideas for TFP shoots have started to appear in my head. A longing for spending a summer evening in the photo pit at a concert is growing inside of me. The lust after new photography projects has reappeared. I have started to shoot a little again. Small portrait sessions. Like this one with Ana-Maria.

Ana-Maria is, as you can see by looking at the images below, a beautiful girl. I have never photographed her before but I have wanted to for quite a while. After some initial confusion regarding just about everything we managed to meet up at my friend Anja’s place. Originally, I had planned for an outdoor shoot at a totally different location but, due to my lackluster communication skills, I had to revise that plan and try to make the best of the situation at hand. We started outside where the disappearing ambient light and the cold winter day was working against us. At first I struggled a bit with my lighting but, in the end, I managed to get some images that I was happy with before we had to seek indoor shelter from the cold. I would have liked to have a bit more variation in the resulting set of images but I have, of course, only myself to blame. Variation is something that I know I struggle with and I will try hard to improve this during 2014.

Once indoors I first tried a lighting setup where I used my SB-900 together with a large Rogue Flashbender equipped with its softbox attachment. I did feel, however, that the resulting light was a bit too harsh so I went back to the larger light source offered by the umbrella setup that I used outside. The background may not have been ideal for what I had in mind but it was different from what I typically use so, in some sense, I may have managed to get a little variation compared to my usual portrait images after all. Light spill was an issue but it didn’t stop us from getting a couple of images that I really like.

So, what did I learn from this shoot? From a technical perspective, I realized that it can be difficult to handle spill light when using an umbrella as a light source. Next time I will definitely bring my 24″ x 24″ softbox and hope that I can control the light in a better way using that type of modifier. More important than the technical aspects, however, was that I got back to photographing again and that it was so much fun! I can feel my inspiration coming back and I am really looking forward to what the rest of 2014 holds in store for me photographically.

Ana-Maria - A Remedy for Lack of InspirationMikael

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