Part of what I do as a photographer--what we do as photographers--is create an image. Some prefer to place an emphasis at different points in the process (before, during, after), but I think we'd all agree it's a culmination process. I, however, have been thinking lately how much I work on the before component to what I do. Namely, thinking/dreaming/creating an image before I'm even in front of clients, specifically during engagement sessions.
On a wedding day, things unfold naturally and while there's a bit of time for posing of the bride and groom, most of what I capture is photojournalistic in nature (candid, unposed pictures). Engagement sessions are an entirely different thing though. For an hour and half, my clients expect me to create a fun, fresh, and fabulous environment at a location of their choice. Uhhh, this is hard. Very hard. And it takes a lot of thinking in advance.
Previsualization is the idea of thinking of a photo far before you're even holding a camera. Thinking of poses and photos in advance make you feel more confident when approaching a long photo session. Of course, so much of what I do is created on the spot (and depends on location, light, and client interaction), but having a mental library of some-day photos allows me the freedom to create a photo...with confidence.
How to Previsualize?
Well, I don't have a concrete answer, but I can tell you what I do...
1. Sketch out photos in your mind on note paper. This helps me remember what I want to do later.
2. Collect magazine ads for inspiration.
3. Study photos and truly dissect what each person in the photo is doing, and later instruct your clients to do the same.
4. Practice the pose in advance. Yes, this sounds so lame. But, whatever, deal with it. It's better for you to practice with a spouse, roommate, Cute Boy in Class, and get it right than having to make it work later...and using your clients as guinea pigs.
5. Keep all your inspiration in one place, so you can easily access it before a shoot.
Here's a recent photo I previsualized (this shoot is getting blogged soon!) and I'm happy to see my idea come to life...