How to Shoot With a Song as Inspiration

The one thing we as photographers and videographers do is tell stories. That's the main reason we do it. Whether it's a story of fantasy or a shot documenting a moment in the real world, it's done to make the viewer tell themselves the story they see in the picture. In this video, Mango Street break down how they tell their stories. Instead of focusing on the moments as they organically happen, like shooting a wedding, they took a conceptual idea that inspired them and directed a shoot to execute their interpretation thereof. They used song lyrics as a concept and took it from there. I must say, inspiration can be found anywhere, but this was a very well executed idea that will certainly play part in my next shoot. 

It's good to get an idea of what happens behind the scenes of a conceptual shoot and the process of putting something like it together until the final images are ready. I enjoyed the fact that the song had two sides to it. The first part is melancholic with sadness and all that goes with heartbreak. The second part was more of strength and the feeling of being empowered and free. So there were two wardrobe looks and two emotions that they tried to get out of the model. The location was also chosen to look like an apartment loft, like we, the viewers, are looking into her life and seeing her candidly experiencing these emotions. 

Now I would've chosen a different song, just like each of us would. However, the concept was sharp, and it's really not the best way to be critical of someone's work if you yourself haven't gone through this type of conceptual shoot.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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