How To Plan A Gig Shot

Photographer Down. © Knut Skjærven.

Elisabeth Maurice, many thanks for your question.

The question is very relevant so I answer it as a separate post. I hope that is ok with you? Let me add that photography comes very individually, but here is how I see it.

First your question:

I need a piece of advice :-) . I take my camera with everytime I go out and try to figure out such a situation but it’s not coming… Maybe i don’t know how to visualize this. I guess my eye is not trained enough. Your advice would be very helpful.

I think that you will work yourself into to hard times trying to plan gigs. Of all types of photography it is probably the hardest to predict unless you want to do a copy of someone elses work as a training session. My 2P is just to get our there, put on the alert glasses, move around, start shooting and things will happen your way. Not always, but pretty often they will.

Keep your mind open for gig shooting and know that is what you are after, but planning it in the meaning of “try to figure out such a situation” will be hard to do.

That said, some preparations can be done. Again it takes you back to doing basic homework before you go out to take pictures. Check out the best gig photographers, Elliot Erwitt being one of them, and see how he did it. You can probably learn a lot from that.

Secondly, you got to have it in you. If you are not into to humorous situations at all you will probably not get any gig shots. You can’t photograph what you can’t see.

In your case that is not an issues since you have plenty of  humour. Don’t tell me you planned this shot :-). Or had visualised it in advance.

I shot Photographer Down yesterday. Gig or no gig. My plan was to buy an external hard drive, and look what I ended up with: a fallen photographer and three models. Could I plan that? No, but I was prepared for it. It is called luck :-).

Try to work yourself into a situation where the images come to you and not the other way around. First you learn (takes a lifetime), then you unlearn (takes a lifetime plus), then you start taking pictures of our own. Luckily all of this can be done at the same time

Oh, I got the hard drive as well.


See Street Photographer’s Toolbox at Facebook too.


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  1. #1 by Elisabeth on September 12, 2012 - 6:52 pm

    Many thanks for the advice. You’re definitly right the more I try to plan the less I shoot what I planned :-). What I learned since I started is that the photographs I like the most were taken on places I know well. That’s important for I know people’s habits time so I can kind of prepare just in case something happens. This just what happened for the shot you refer to. It was definitly luck but I knew that things of life would happen a this time. The crop is not that good eveyday that’s for sure! and most often scenes i didn’t plan at all :-). But I try almost everyday. I don’t wish to copy a classic, not enough well shaped for that. I posted a shot on EOS I hope would enter that category. Eager to have some feedbacks :-).

  2. #2 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 21, 2012 - 7:01 am

    Since I am in a location at present that has very few opportunities to see people it’s been a challenge engaging in this genre of photography I really appreciate. Having these assignments r inspiring. With the goal of looking for visual gigs it gives me something to consider as opposed to shooting what I like. Since I find this area very uninteresting thereby making it dull and therefore ignored. To separate my esthetics for potential street takes , via these gigs, gives me at least a perspective by which I can learn to detach my preferences to approach a broader understanding of this genre.
    Now to combine my vision with this gig…remains to b seen. While I have gotten a couple of shots that I are at least approaching this concept, I will use the remaining time to further execute this gig more fitting to my vision.

  3. #3 by Knut Skjaerven on September 21, 2012 - 8:22 am

    Many thanks to both of you for this enthusiasm.

    I will comment on the pictures that you have submitted later today or tomorrow. Please also note that there is a second commission running. The one on Cross Transfer of meaning. You are, of course, welcome to deal with that at the same time as you deal with gigs.

    I’ll be back real soon. Have a good day.


  4. #4 by 1000 Pixelated words on September 23, 2012 - 5:16 am

    Yes…I have both on my mind. 🙂

    • #5 by Knut Skjaerven on September 29, 2012 - 8:50 am

      Stefanie, I am looking forward to you next posts. You will soon make it to the galleries too. You are on the right track. Just ask if you have questions :-). Have a good Saturday.

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