Would we approach creating a novel by just writing thousands of random words? Then read those words hoping to find a story. Yet photographers taking lots of random photographs, hoping to find a good one during editing are taking that gamble. Think and edit first, shoot later; is a winning formula because you replace luck with intelligence. it forces you to take less images, but high-quality images. Photography previsualization is imagining the final photograph in your mind first, before touching the camera. Taking the photograph in your mind then factoring in the Photoshop transformations. This allows you to decide at the camera, if the scene could become a good photograph. Previsualization differentiates the professional photographer, makes you use your time efficiently by not taking photographs you end up not wanting, while helping you see potential in scenes that you would otherwise have dismissed and not taken in the first place.
Photography previsualization is both the starting point and foundation for creating photographs with quality because you now create photographs with a clear idea, a purpose and plan of action. Clarity that will then be communicated throughout production into your final photograph and finally being communicated to the viewer. Equally, lack of clarity can also be communicated to the viewer; resulting in confused images. Clarity of idea is the essential quality of all good art and photography; the very reason for the photograph to exist; to communicate something of value. All photographs, like books, need purpose; a story, a journey, an adventure, with a feeling of reward afterwards. The photograph is a visual story or statement just in a different media, using different skills. We need to think of each photograph that we take as a single, self-contained story, then learn the visual skills to communicate good stories with clarity, speed and purpose.
For photographs to communicate extremely well, there are a few fundamental principles we must first understand, then employ. First, keep all compositions simple. Everything in a photograph either works for the image or against the image; even the details have no neutral content. Compose the photograph with only relevant content that adds to your story, then crop out all irrelevant content that detracts. Think of the photograph as a game of visual ‘Jango’ – just before the story falls apart, not enough relevant content to tell your story, is your most efficient composition. Simple compositions have less information to communicate; so, what they do contain, they communicate faster. Simple compositions grab viewers’ attention; strength through minimalism, less is more. However, clarity comes not only from what content is kept, but how that content is composed in the camera then treated in post-processing, Photoshop retouching.