I’m going to explain this in simple terms to get my point across about planning. Imagine you are shooting a wedding; whether or not you realize it, you’re probably thinking of the various shots that will complete this story. You need the bride getting ready, the groom walking down the aisle, etc. You might also be thinking about how you can make that walking down the aisle pic look different…hmm, is there a high vantage point? You also might want to shoot details of the ring, get a portrait of the bride, and on and on. You know the narrative (we all know the narrative of a typical wedding), so you can think about the different ways and angles to complete the story. Put this all together, and you have the makings of a thoughtful collection of images – opening shot, closing shot, details, sense of place, etc.
A long time ago when I was young and foolish, I spent six months covering a story with the idea that if I shot enough rolls of film, I would have a story…automatically! Wrong! I had to learn this the hard way, so learn from my mistakes and don’t be me.
Think about your narrative. What’s the story? What’s the point? Why are you shooting this? Imagine the set of images you will have when you are done. Does it tell the story? Plan, research, write down notes, consider all possibilities, and then be open for the unplanned, unanticipated events that could be great shots.
Figuring out the narrative beforehand will give you a roadmap to success.