Lesson 24 – Create a NOT To Shoot List

30 Day Food Photos Day24

Today’s tip is really very simple. It is so simple that most people won’t even give it a serious thought.

At this stage you’ve decide the story, written down the elements of the story, created a shot list and even sketched some possible frames you would like to try. You’ve also written down the backgrounds you think will work best.

Now you have too many options. Your shotlist is probably overflowing...  To top this off, there is also that advice out there to “explore” your scene and try different plates and all the different variations.

At this point, you are most likely overwhelming with all these options. With all of the advice, there is only one tip that will relieve you – the NOT to shoot list.

As I said before, the idea is very simple. Since you have decided the story, you know what mood or concept you want in the photo.

For Chhole curry example we looked in previous lesson, if the goal is to create a traditional or rustic or royal mood, then using a plain white plate with white background will not work. Those plates and background are more modern or bright looking story so they won’t work in this case.

Similarly, for your own story, you have made several decisions until this point. You’ve decided the background and the plates and the napkins and many other things.

Now take few minutes and create a NOT to use list. Think about your story again, what are few things that you absolutely do not want in your scene.

Like we discussed in the example of Indian chhole curry, write down the options that you won’t use. Is there a certain plate that’s in your closet but won’t even bother bringing it out? Is there a background that you use a lot but it won’t be helpful in this case?

In the example, yes white plates will work independently, but for the story of being at the traditional or rustic scene, white plates won’t tell the same story.

Write down all those ideas that come to your head but will not work at all for this story.

Now, just to clarify, you are not trying to create a list that contains all possible containers you’ve ever scene. This is a list of options that come to mind but won’t tell the same story.

For this exercise, start with your shotlist. Review it and check if you've added options that don't go together with your story. Scratch those ideas off your list.

Pretty simple, eh? Have you written down or created a list like this before? Share it in the comments.

Today’s Assignment

Estimated time: 15-30 mins

Step 1 –  Decide your subject you plan to use for this exercise.

Step 2  – Read your story from Day 2 and read the elements of the story you decided on Day 8.

Step 3 – Take 2 mins and focus on what you don’t want in the scene. What are some obvious plates and backgrounds and other things that won’t tell the same story. When you start creating a photograph, use this list to stay on the story and focus on what you want to communicate.

Step 4 –  Once you have a list that you feel is complete, write two things on a piece of paper – 1) what is your subject and the story 2) What is on your NOT to use list.

Step 5 - After you have completed that, take a photograph of the paper and upload it iLesson 24 Album on the new Facebook Group. If you are not a member of the facebook group, you will not be able to view the album. Request access from the FB Group page.

Step 6 –Now in the comments below, tell us this – have you used a list like this before? After completing this exercise, what do you feel would change?

  • Alina Kun Gazda

    I usually think that are props or background that won’t work with a certain dish but never write it down. I just focus on what’s working, it saves time.

  • I think of many things before I take a picture, but it is all just a thought process and except for a sketch or two I have never written any of that down. I have found it a big plus this week to go step by step with each segment of planning and have it in written form. I plan on continuing the process for all my image making.