Pre-Visualisation

One of the key things that often gets raised when I talk to advanced/professional photographers is the concept of Pre-Visualisation.

It’s the ability to understand and imagine in our mind what the final photographic outcome should be. From this pre-visualisation, we are able to better determine the desired shooting conditions, what equipment and setting we might use and also lead the direction when it comes to post-processing. This might come in the form of a sketch or even just an image in the mind.

Unfortunately I’m terrible at pre-visualisation! I tend to come across new techniques and try them out for the fun of it or to replicate similar aspects I might have seen elsewhere.

I tend to find my photography falls into two distinct groups that I define as:

  1. Natural –┬ábeing the capture of what I see and then tweaking that in ways to make it stand out.
  2. Artificial – being a shot that I have prepared by having people pose, scenarios set etc.

With the latter I find it easier to pre-visualise as I am trying to capture what I have imagined. With the former I tend to go out with my camera and simply see what catches my eye.

But both types would gain benefit from pre-visualisation. For those that are really serious about landscape photography and chase the views and lights, The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a very useful tool. I may touch on it in more detail in a later post, but it is essentially a computer program that uses a geographic location and date to provide you information about the sun & moon set/rise times and locations and shadow lengths. Very useful if you have pre-visualised a night time shot of a lake with a low full moon and its reflection in the water!