An Idea, a Concept and Execution in 2 Hours.

by | Jan 18, 2016 | 0 comments

DSC_4199The Idea

Portrait sessions with collaborators often start with the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if we did…” or “What do you think of this idea…” For Amanda Deboer, the idea was, “What do you think of a Nordic look?” First thing that comes to mind, Vodka, herring and an outdoor jacuzzi. Probably not what she was looking for, but nevertheless, the idea was born and concept needed to be designed.

The Concept

There’s a difference between an idea and a concept. An idea says, “What if we did X?” and concept is all the details to make that idea’s image come to life. For Amanda, we had two hours to get this thing together near Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Having flown in flown in for some work out in Chicago, we knew we had a limited time span, especially with the ever changing weather conditions. Basic things we considered over the phone, hair style, clothing, and most importantly, location. Where to get that quintessential Nordic landscape without being across the pond?

There’s a lot of trust that happens with a collaborator, especially on a budget. With having no fashion stylist, or hair and makeup artist on hand, a photographer is often at the mercy of his subject. Thankfully, having built a wonderful relationship with Amanda, I wasn’t too worried about what to expect, but then again there are always curveballs. Amanda picked me up with hair pre-styled. With her vintage leather jacket and wool knit pull over in hand we hastefully started scouting locations. With an hour left of our shoot to execute the shot, my mind was drawing a drawing a blank. Having grown up in Oak Park, Lincoln Park had never been in my wheel house for locations. As we scoured the area, it hit me that the shoreline would look amazing, especially with the right white balance on this cloudy overcast day.

The Execution

Now, it’s one thing to get models outside there comfort zone and try something they might be uncomfortable with, it’s another when that request is to scale wet concrete rock formations in the name of an image. It’s a liability and legal nightmare. Reminded of the possible scenarios that could go wrong, Amanda and I made our way closer to the shore line to get the following shots.

Slinging two cameras, thank goodness for my Hold Fast harness and not much else, photographers throw caution into the wind to get the moment and the shot right. In this instance, I threw a shoe, well not threw but stepped into frigid cold Lake Michigan to get the shot.


Frozen foot aside, the images created on a tight timeline turned out to be more exhilarating than the previous days work. The vision is key, but the planning is everything. We planned well that day my friends.

Happy Concept Designing!


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