“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
I loved this quote when looking into ideas behind planning. I find that this part of my work is vital; its one I think easily overlook as we never see it in each others processes.
When I dream up an idea, or have a concept I want to see instead of only imagine, I turn to my notebook: This is something that will usually travel where I go. I am always coming up with ideas, usually it’ll be in the most random of places where ideas spring into mind.
When this happens, I will grab my nutcracker pen and notebook, draw a box, draw a terrible attempt at what I can visualise, and then write down anything I need to remember about this photo idea. I try and write in two parts, technical notes and conceptual notes: meaning I’ll write down how I will capture my idea- equipment and things required for the shoot. I will also write down exactly what will be in the photo, for example: a girl in a blue dress, sat in a woodlands, looking up to the sky, holding a dagger. *writes down that idea because it just came from my mind so spontaneously!*
The other thing I do is write my concept out. Sometimes I won’t shoot that idea for more than a year after I’ve planned it, so I find it beneficial to get all of my mind out onto that page so future me knows exactly what past me needed them to know. I will write down a narrative and try to create a little blurb or description on that characters journey.
the plan vs the final photo.
Usually, these notes are only for my sake, so they will be very much scribbled and messy. But if you can just get what you need to out onto paper, you can alway refer back to them and create that idea whenever it is right for you to do so.
I always find notes like these help me for many reasons:
1) If I don’t shoot the photo close to coming up with it, I always have a point of reference that has as much information as I would need planned. Meaning that if I were to shoot the concept a year later (which I’ve done before) I will have all the information I need to still create that photo exactly as I had intended a year prior.
2) Whilst I’m shooting, I can refer back to my notes and see what I need to remember. I don’t know about you, but when I’m shooting, I end up going into a different world! So having those notes to hand always helps to ground me and remind me what I need to get!
3) When I am packing for a shoot I will typically look back to my notes, so sometimes I will write a sort of shopping list of what I need, and tick them off when I have them ready to go! The amount of shoots I’ve done where I’ve forgotten something, lists like this makes sure you don’t end up like this! (Learn from mistakes!)
I hope this helps, and if you don’t yet, PLAN! No matter what you do, writing down a little plan for yourself and referring back to it when you may need it is a great practise and I encourage you to try it!