On spontaneous shoots

I always have a bunch of ideas written down for pictures that I want to do, but there are days when I feel like I desperately need to go shoot something and all my ideas either need too much preparation or I’m just not excited about them. I stopped doing spontaneous shoots a long time ago because I like being organized and knowing exactly what I want to do. I also don’t really like failing. So in doing a spontaneous shoot I never know if I’m actually going to get something I like. But I had one of those days a few weeks ago, I just had to go shoot something. So I grabbed my sister and we went to a house that’s under construction and just played around. Was I expecting anything? Not really, I decided I would just have fun with it.

Blue Skies Are Calling
Blue Skies Are Calling

I didn’t have a story in mind for this. This is one of the times where the story came during the post processing. I asked my sister to put on a dress, then I was like “ok can you lean back on that metal thingy and flick your hair?” because I thought it looked cool.

The shoot made me realize a few things:
1. Spontaneous shoots are FUN. It sounds silly, but it’s true! After I got over the whole “but what if this fails?” thing, I was able to just go crazy and have fun with it.
2. Not knowing exactly what you want isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes there’s room for failure, but there’s even more room for experimentation. Not knowing what you want means you try out a lot of different things to find something you like. And like everyone says, in every failure there’s a lesson to be learned.
3. You learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t in terms of posing and camera angles. We tried a bunch of different things that just didn’t look right. I tried having her arms behind the metal bar, but from my angle it looked bad. So I kept moving her around until it looked right.

The point is – just go out and experiment. You never know what you could end up with. I’ve seen a lot of people doing challenges where they would pick a prop and go out and shoot something with it the same day. I think that’s an awesome way to keep the creative juices flowing. But I will be honest – I’m still too scared to do that because I feel like if I were to use a prop I need to brainstorm and plan so that the prop doesn’t look like it’s just randomly there, so I experiment with poses instead. I might just challenge myself and do it though, hmm..

Here are some images I did back in 2013 when I was still doing spontaneous shoots. Again, when I did these I didn’t have anything specific in mind but I did end up loving the pictures. And one of them won 2nd place in a photography competition here in the UAE, how crazy is that?!

Remember How To Fly
Hope Remains
You Swore You’d Never Tell

I’d love to know what you guys think – do you prefer to plan your shoots or do you just go out and shoot without a specific idea in mind? And if you do spontaneous shoots, I’d love to see your images! 🙂

2014-2017 Thoughts

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Wonderful post Amani! I know exactly how you feel about wanting to plan everything out, but sometimes you just have to drop everything and go shoot something!!!! I actually have a whole blog post similar to what you are talking about, that you don’t ALWAYS needing a plan. I’m about half an half between shooting totally planned or not at all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robert!
      EXACTLY – it’s like everything has to be put on hold, and you have to do it now now now haha. Ooh, I didn’t know about your blog post, I’ll go look for it 😀
      Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂


  2. I fully understand this post! As Brooke once mentioned, “Shoot first and then think, think first and then shoot.” As Brooke said, none of them has supremacy over the other and I think so too. Although lately I have done more, I think first and shoot later. But that does not mean I prefer more this way than the other. Simply it has been like that in recent works. I think the last work I did in spontaneous mode, shoot first and then think, it is not in my portfolio web page. However, I leave you a link to my blog where I have used that image. Guess what. Now I’m with desire of shooting without plans. Maybe tomorrow I do it! Who knows! I will go to the streets and simply shoot. By the way! I love this image! Is proof that it is possible to go shoot without plans and spontaneously have a magnificent work like this. Well done Amani. I love it! XO


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Paulo 🙂
      I hope you did go shoot spontaneously! It’s always so much fun. Thank you for sharing your blog post. I love the idea behind your picture, and it’s always interesting to see what your brain comes up with when you don’t have a plan.
      Thank you for commenting and I’m so glad you like the image! I hope you’re having a lovely day 🙂


  3. Great pictures! I have recently started doing fine art photography and I also have a book which I call ‘the book of ideas’ where I brainstorm ideas. But most ideas that I have in there need so much preparation that I really don’t know how to get to that place yet, and so most of my photography right now is spontaneous and I absolutely love it!! It is exciting and challenging! I just see a place, an object or a subject and I grab my camera and click.l away!

    Liked by 1 person

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