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"The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Planning is an integral part of life. As we grow, we find ourselves becoming planners because we are the planners of our lives and all that they entail- at least we should be. Our lives are our biggest project and projects require plans. Without plans, things tend to get a bit chaotic, lack vision, and become full of unexpected surprises.
Similarly, photoshoots require planning. It is, after all, a big project. Simple or high-level plans help the photographic process. Some artists will go through some form of planning, whether that is visualizing, conceptualizing, outlining, or the like. Being directed by some form of epiphany. Few will jump right into creating without any idea of where they are going. Being guided by a feeling and producing a magnificent work is incredible.
However, in the creative process, there is still a place for planning. Planning helps you to carve out your goal, vision, and method for what you are attempting to accomplish, organizing necessary details for a successful shoot. It is in this preparation process of planning that you narrow your aim, visualize how you will shoot, and create a recourse for anything unexpected, supporting why it's important to plan your photoshoot.
Planning is not only important for photographers but models and clients. When both sides of the camera plan and communicate the photographic vision, the magic can start happening. Both parties will have different aspects and tasks to handle when it comes to planning the photoshoot.
Craft the Vision
How ever you can best articulate what you want the final result to be, do it. If you do not know what you're aiming for, you can either get something completely outlandish or stumble upon a pleasant surprise. In the event, no planning is done, the latter tends to be the hope, but realistically, the former is more likely to happen.
Nothing can be accomplished without some form of idea. So even if you are not entirely sure what it is that you are targeting, put it down somewhere, voice recording, abstract colors and shapes, or writing. In doing so, you can hone in on what you want your final work to look like because you have narrowed down your photographic goal.
I am big on putting pen to paper, so something that I do all the time before a shoot is write down all the details. I jot down who I am working with, what style and genre I am working in, the location, a time frame, and even do a rough (really rough) sketch of how I want to set things up.
Planning in this way I have tons of journals, notebooks, and pens. There's something about leather journals that I love! College ruled or no lines, I just add them to my growing collection, which I keep in my closet once filled. As they are a collection of my outlined ideas, they are a great resource to go to and see where I've grown. Fine point pens are my absolute favorite, especially gel, because I write small. I also use post-its and small cards. My desk is covered with them and my scribbles.