Seeing Before you actually see….the key to strong images!!
Let me start this one with a simple question.
Can you list down the steps that you go through while planning a trip?
Here are the typical responses
- Shortlisting of destinations based on subject
- Shortlisting of destination based on cost of trip
- Planning for the trip in terms of ticketing to reach and come back
- Booking of permits as needed
- Booking a guide for the tour
- Preparing camera and lenses for the tour
- Preparing clothing for the tour
- packing in extra gear like torches/caps etc.
- finish packing and ready for tour
Do you think there is anything major missing in the list mentioned?
For me there is one extremely important point missing
- Listing down the kind of compositions/shots you want to come back with
The simple statement above is what will make you different from the glorified point and shoot photographers. Step back for a minute and think about it. How many times before planning the trip have you really given a thought to the different kind of shots that you want to get or the different compositions that you want to try.
If you ask the professionals, most of them will give a lot of importance to this step because not only does it help in composition on the field for that trip, it converts into a habit of thinking about composition every time you click and that is how it has to be.
The shots that you are aiming for will also help you decide what kind of gear you want for a tour. For e.g. if you think that you are going to want a wide angle composition of a mammal, chances are that you will end up picking up that wide-angle lens that you were not planning on taking.
The same activity also generally makes you search for images that have been made at the same destination by others. It helps in widening your line of thought and increases your rate of growth as a photographer immensely by doing so.
Here is an example of a pre-thought image. I knew that the water at this particular waterbody gets a rich brownish hue due to the reflection of sunlight from a bridge built across it. This happens every evening and I spent a couple of such evening waiting for any duck to pass by that patch of water. The result is not a difficult to execute image. It is just a pretty image that was not by chance, but by design.
Not all pre-visualized compositions would be possible but those that are, are that much more satisfying and easy to execute because you have already thought it through in your mind.