I took a week off from blogging and photography to do a little retouching job, which will help pay for the Hasselblad HC 50 I got from KEH.com last week. What an amazing lens, I can't wait to use it. If you haven't bought anything from KEH before, you should check them out, great prices on gear, totally professional, bulletproof return policy. Don't be afraid to go for their Bargain grade, you can always send it back if you don't like it.
Anyway, I want to talk about developing a concept. I've experienced this many times before, and just recently it happened again and the little light went on. Many times when I have the skeleton of an idea laid out, I already know the props I'm going to use, the location, the model, and what gear I'm going to need. But sometimes I'm missing that last detail, the why. For instance, my Nefertiti shoot is missing a why.
To me, the why is a pivotal aspect of the concept of any photograph, why is this person doing that? I mean, anyone can take a bunch of thriftshop furniture to the beach and put it in the water and have you friends sit in their semi-submerged living room. Fun shot, not that hard to do, but you still need to answer the why.
If you are going to take the trouble of putting an elaborate shoot together, go the extra step, that's what will make the image interesting and take it to the next level. You need to tell the why story, in this case it could have been that they were so engrossed in a game they were playing that they didn't notice the water come up. That's what's going to make you photo compelling.
So what do you do if you have the bones of the idea, but are missing that last key aspect? Tell someone. That's right, talk it out with your friends or another photographer, just talk your way through the shoot. It always works for me; last night I was chatting with a friend, telling her the shoot I had planned (the idea for which which was only 3/4 complete at the time) and as I was grasping at straws trying to convey how awesome the shot was going to be, the missing bit just popped into my head, right as I was typing. Of course! The girl is parachuting onto another planet in a latex body-suit!
I really think that talking about it accesses some part of the brain that just thinking about it doesn't, and allows you to use your brain more completely to come up with ideas. Next time you're in a bind, try it for yourself, and let me know if it worked.