Creating to Music

Building on my last blog about getting out of a creative rut, I want to talk about creating to music. Most photographers I know do create with music on, but I'm talking about intentionally creating to music. It's an amazing exercise if you haven't tried it.


I didn't start doing this until I starting filming. Music is the universal language. It was the best way I knew how to convey to my model how I wanted her to feel.  So before my shoot, I would go to MusicBed and find the style of music I wanted, the mood and characteristics I wanted my character to feel.  I would then have that playing throughout the day as we filmed. It was much easier for my model to stay in character this way and for me to film in a consistent way that made my film feel more cohesive.

When I started photographing again recently, I put this idea into practice. It made such a difference in my work with film, it had to do the same with my photography too. Well, it did!

I don't always do this, but if I'm trying to pull myself out of a creative low, then this is the first thing I do. I'll pick a few songs, plan an hour shoot and send the songs over to my model beforehand. Then when we get together we can play them (putting them on repeat) and begin shooting. It's amazing to see what comes out of these shoots. Both you and the model have a common connecting ground and it's such a great way to open the communication up.  Work through the emotions you are both feeling and see where it takes you.

Be open to shooting in new ways. Have the model tell you her ideas instead of only directing her. Be open to not being in control. Be open to making a mistake. Be open to failing. I promise you that then you will create something amazing and that you are proud of.

Jackie Palmer