In this behind-the-scenes we look at the work of photographer Donovan Guertin @warviews and gain a deeper understanding of his creative process when he is out on a shoot.
Donovan’s work carries a consistent tone of quiet moments of reflection with the occasional action shot utilising practical shots. The more peaceful one-shots allow for Donovan to really capture the emotion and experiences of the character and inject his plastic subjects with a lease of still life. Read on to see how he goes about capturing his shots in his own words :
“My process of shooting usually consists of three steps: location, shoot, and edit. The first of the three is simply choosing a location of where I’m going to shoot. Most of my ideas come from the location I’m in, but occasionally I’ll have an idea for a shot that’ll require a certain location. Once I’ve chosen where I will shoot, I bike over to the spot and start walking around. Once I find a suitable spot where I can take photos, I brainstorm ideas. I then have to decide whether the shot needs practical effects, however most of my practical effects shot are shot in sand. If it does, I set up my camera on a tripod or on the ground and turn on self-timer, which will help me time the explosions.
The type of effect I want depends on how I throw dirt. If I’m trying to make dust or create smoke, I shovel a handful of sand into my hands and set the timer. About one second before the camera takes a burst of photos, I drop the entire mound of sand on the ground so that it kicks up a ton of dust and creates a smoke-like effect. If I’m trying to create an explosion, I create a mound of sand on the ground and set the timer. Much like the smoke effect, I kick the mound of sand with a lot of force so that it shoots out a burst of sand and debris to create an explosion look.
If my photo doesn’t require practical effects, I simply pose my figures and snap a photo. The final step is editing the photo. I shoot in the RAW filetype so I can extract as much data as I can. I then edit the photo in Lightroom, adding effects that will add to the image. Once the editing is done, the picture is now finalised and ready for posting.”
Donovan’s work is a mixture of planning and spontaneity and this is a great thing to keep in mind when shooting your next project. Plan what you can but be flexible enough to let new ideas come to you when on the shoot. Be sure to head over to Donovan’s page over on Instagram to see more of his and to see his creative practise in action. Drop a comment below to let us know your thoughts.