While Rodwell may prefer breaking the rules when she's lighting on location, that doesn't mean she's winging it. All of her shoots—whether client-driven or personal—involve extensive prep work and deliberate previsualization to the point where Rodwell knows exactly what she's going to create before she ever sets foot on set.
"I'm planning an upcoming shoot in the forest," she explains, "so I've sent my casting submissions out, and I'm locking down location shots of the forest that we're shooting in for the different times of day so we know our start time and how many shots I've got to get when that magic hour light is perfect. Looking at the weather and working with the stylist and seeing the clothes—it will be a whole week of this. And then by the time we get to the shoot, everything is nailed down, and I know what the final images are going to be already in my head. I'm formulating that now.
"You get some happy surprises and some things you weren't expecting," Rodwell says, "like when you're there and you're like, wow, this is an awesome angle, this is an awesome location inside of the location, let me shoot something here real quick. Then you get these happy surprises, but for the most part things are really nailed down."
See more of Melissa Rodwell's photography at www.melissarodwell.com. You can find her fashion photography blog at www.fashionphotographyblog.com.
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