I’ve been to a lot of coffee shops this year.
Like, a lot of coffee shops. And I’ve been to more since then. You see, I don’t really like shooting indoors. Actually, I’ll say it: I don’t like shooting indoors. I’m not good at it. But, how do you get better at something? You do it. Your practice it. And (un)luckily for me, I get to practice shooting indoors a lot. Whoop-dee-doo!
Faith and I originally wanted to go to Public Espresso but apparently they close at early…who knew! We walked a fair amount to a Spot Coffee that was a lot farther away than I thought it was, and in really bad snow conditions. Buffalo has been putting the snow on us recently and it’s been super enjoyable for me, but not so much everyone else.
There’s a certain aesthetic that comes with coffee shops. The natural light, the ceramic mugs, generally the plain or artsy backdrops, and so on. There’s certain challenges that come with them, too. I have this book called The Photographer’s Playbook and it details 307 “assignments and ideas” written by other photographers. Some of them are quite simple and others make you think! One of my favorites, and one that I applied to this shoot is this:
“Confining yourself to certain parameters can actually lead to a discovery of a universe of subject matter that is hard to find when you tend to wander endlessly. Make a set of parameters within which you will work. This could be a geographic parameter (one city block, for instance), or a psychological, thematic, or technical one. The point is to create a method of working where you make some very strict and precise choices about how you will not work. The stricter, the better.”
This little passage goes on to discuss time constraints (one week, month, whatever) and then repeating the assignment with a totally new set of parameters! It’s a fun way to get the brain moving and thinking creatively about getting interesting photos. And for me, being constrained in a coffee shop, indoors, at night…gosh, it was hard!
I honestly love this book. I enjoy going though and bookmarking pages and going out and doing those assignments! I’ve probably marked about 40 or so pages and I haven’t been through the whole book. There are so many endless opportunities and that’s what’s so great about this book! The assignment I posted above can be interpreted in an infinite amount of ways, if we’re being honest. I could do that one assignment for a month straight and, figuratively, come up with different parameters for 30 days.
I’ve been to a few coffee shops since this one and have come away with completely different shots while still photographing the same essentials. Yes, they have been different shops, but the mind is a creative pool of endless ideas. It takes time to train the mind to think differently and come up with creative spots.
So bring on more coffee shops (preferably during the day time), I want the experience! I just want nice big windows, a nice ceramic cup and someone to enjoy it with. And hey, if that sounds like you, let’s do it.
More. Coffee shops. Yes.
Next blog: Lex and Sarah, here we go!