Less is More: The Simple Way to Produce a Successful Test Shoot

Honestly, I’m writing this blog post as a bit of reminder to myself. If it helps someone else too…even better!

It’s so easy to get excited about a shoot—that’s why I do what I do! The problem with this excitement is that sometimes I get carried away. I put multiple ideas together, and come up with an elaborate plan to shoot.  Sometimes, this works out beautifully. Other times, I’m putting too much on my plate and the ideas fall short.

Some of my favorite shoots required the least amount of effort. It’s funny how that works out.

I’m learning that agencies prefer to see a super minimal shoot than an over the top editorial. While it’s fun to be bold, the simplest of shoots can be superbly beautiful.

So, if you’re like me and have a million ideas—don’t try to tackle them all at once. Slow it down and step back. Shoot your model without any makeup on in front of a neutral backdrop wearing vintage earrings and a white button-down. Voilà. Focus on your lighting and use that to make the image really stand out!

Below is one of my favorite recent shoots. It was a test with a new face for Freedom Models LA. First, she was naturally gorgeous and had the stunning features! Second, I didn’t fuss about this shoot. I had a short amount of time to prepare, so I kept it really simple. This ended up working to my advantage and I’m so happy I didn’t over complicate things. Honestly, I can’t wait to do more shoots like this.

Less is more.

Through the Looking Glass // Driving through Agra, India // A Photo Journal

In 2017, I went to India. I haven’t written much about that trip (yet), because I’m still trying to process it all. India is a country overflowing with people, colors, smells, tastes, architecture, knowledge, stories and all sorts of magic. It’s a trip that will stick with me forever.

Without further ado, here is a little journal entry I wrote about my experience driving through Agra, accompanied by some images that simply don’t do it justice.

It was day two of our fifteen day backpacking journey through India. Sunrise at the Taj Mahal was better than we had hoped for. Next stop: Jaipur. We were in a car with our private driver who told us to call him Uncle. My window was dirty, smeared with fingertips and dust. With the smoggy haze, it was an oddly beautiful combination. India is not pristine, there is so much litter and the conditions are sometimes hard to look at. Yet, it’s shockingly beautiful. The vivid colors of buildings and stunning saris, the simplicity of a day spent lounging with friends, the smiles on even the most rundown faces, the children occupying themselves with silly games--all of these details seem to outshine the negatives. Their lives are simple and people don’t have much—but they’re happy. Happy to be, to live, to take in each moment. It’s a lesson we’re reminded of every day, but don’t always take seriously because we don’t have to. India isn’t perfect, but the people will teach you how truly little we need to be happy. Now that’s beautiful.

All images taken by Stacey Lamb. Agra, India. November 2017.