Often times when preparing for a shoot it helps to approach from two different visual strategies, and one of the best ways to force yourself into two different methods of shooting is to bring two cameras.
On a recent look book shoot for “Key Street” I wanted to explore two aesthetics, so I brought out a Mamiya 7II, a medium format range finder, and my Nikon D3, digital slr. The Mamiya 7II is slower to work as well as more expensive to shoot at roughly $1 a picture. These facts force you to slow down your shooting process, encouraging more attention to framing as well as what exposure best suits your scene, two things that work well in conjunction with the heightened sense of description medium format film adds to a photograph.
As this isn’t a “run and gun” camera, I posed the models less actively to make images that were more quiet to reflect the aesthetic. No running, walking, or engaged in any activities one might do in the woods. Simply sitting and standing with hands in various positions.
The Nikon was the complete opposite story: with 32 gigs of space for 12 megapixel images, I could squeeze off thousands of images in a blazing 11 frames per second. For this camera I had the models walking, climbing over fallen trees, throwing knives, shooting guns, and handled the images with a gritty high contract black and white as well as grainy look I felt that suited the more aggressive and active vibe.
These pictures also bring more of a focus to the clothing rather then attempting to create a photograph you’d hang on your wall as art. Closer in framing with an attention to logo placement in photographs who’s goal is to make you want to be the person in the picture was a very different strategy from that I applied to the pictures with the Mamiya.
In the end however it’s best to only release one set of images from the shoot. Two different aesthetics that are polar opposites of each other aren’t going to do well showing a unified vision that a clothing label wants in their look book. When approaching a situation where a client wants a shoot to be more candid/lifestyle then produced/posed, it doesn’t hurt to bring two cameras along to try and tackle both ends of the spectrum giving you options to handle the various unknowns that might pop up through out the day.