Planning & Preparation PLUS Work in Progress

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: November 23, 2012

Category: General

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’ve had a good week and those of you celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday had a blast!

Today I need to keep it brief as I’ve a few things to prepare ready for tomorrow’s Photoshop seminar in London [Link], so I just want to show you a new/old-ish photo…

Ok so what I mean here is that this photo isn’t one I actually took in the last couple of weeks; it was shot when I was over in the Netherlands for a combined workshop with my buddy and fashion photographer Frank Doorhof in August.

The model in the shot is Nadine Stephan; a photographers dream…an incredible model who is not just great in front of the camera but is one of most creative stylists I know. Seriously, what she can create out of seemingly nothing is mind blowing!

Anyway next week I’m going to give you a look behind the scenes of this shot and a couple of others from different sets that we worked on over the 2 days but for today I just want to explain a couple of things…

Firstly, this image is what I call...Work in Progress; there’s more finishing touches that I want to do but, and this might sound a little crazy, I don’t quite know what yet.

Now there is a reason for this…
99% of the shoots I do…be they client shoots or personal projects, I know what I want the final picture to be like even before I’ve started shooting and the reason for this is because of the planning that goes into it.

It’s just the way I like to work. Way before a shoot I’ll have collected pictures from all kinds of places…book covers, DVD covers, magazines, the Internet and so on and when I say collected, I mean either taken a photo with my iPhone or a screen capture if it’s on my computer.

All the pictures I collect go together onto a Moodboard and it’s by doing this I can get a real feel for what it is I’m looking to put together…kind of helps me focus in if you know what I mean.

Example Moodboard for upcoming Photo Shoot

I’ll also use these pictures to create a sketch so that I can show the model or client exactly what I’m looking to do…it’s amazing how this helps to get the best possible results and how easy it is. I’ll explain more about this at a later date.

Ok so why am I telling you this now?
Well because when I was shooting Nadine at the workshop we did things different. Nadine was given complete creative control over the looks and so it was as much a surprise to me to see what she was wearing on the day as it was the attendees.

This was great however it did mean I didn’t go into the shoot knowing what I was going to end up with and the knock on effect is that I wasn’t able to start working on the images straight away…I had to wait for the right time to come along when I started to get a feel for what I wanted to do; but like I said…I’m still not 100% with how I want to finish this particular picture off just yet.

Having to wait for me to get a feel for what I want to do to an image as opposed to retouching the images soon after the shoot was taken, is why, when I’m working for a client or on a personal project I always go through the planing process.

That’s not to say it’s a scientific, rigid exercise…far from it; its just that for me the saying of Planning and Preparation Prevents Pi$$ Poor Performance…rings true 🙂

So what about you? 
Do you tend to plan your shoots so that you know the results you’re working for or do you like things to evolve from the time you start shooting?

Neither way is right or wrong…it’s just a different approach because well, we’re all different and at every shoot I do, once I’ve got the shot/s I wanted it’s then that we start to experiment.

Have a great weekend folks and if you’re coming to my Photoshop Seminar tomorrow, be sure to say hello.

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Interviewed by Ron Clifford

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  1. Morgana Creely

    Sometimes l have a clear idea when l start out, and sometimes l have a general idea. In the latter case it’s always fun to see where it takes me. 🙂

  2. Darren House

    Yep since I’ve been on your training courses I have found them invaluable for many reasons. You have given me the ability to focus on projects, plan the shoot and explain the look I am looking for to the model. I use a mood board now aswell. Also a focus on training and improving on a daily basis is one of the best tips I have picked up 😉



  3. Bob Bell

    I was thinking about this last night. I’ve a shoot planned next week with a model, just for fun but also so I can get some practice in and build up a portfolio.
    Now when I first got my camera I asked a friend if she’d model for me and when she did, I was totally unprepared when I turned up and well, lets just say nothing came out of it apart from pretty disastrous pics! The fact I wasn’t used to my camera didnt help either.
    This time I’ve all week to prepare and was thinking I’d have some pictures ready, as you mentioned, so I can show her what I’m after and I’m also going to where I’ll be shooting in the day and imagining what I’ll be doing and where, basically so things run smoothly and I’m not faffing about, least that’s the plan!
    I’m hoping we’ll have a bit of time for improvisation, though.
    The girl modelling for me is just happy to show off some (hopefully) ‘posh’ pictures and while I’ll be attempting to get some stock to put my own spin on a few tutorials I want to attempt, aswell as some artwork I’ve got planned, I imagine there’ll be a point in the future when I find myself staring at one of the pics wondering what I could possibly do to a pic of a girl with an onion on her head that’s holding a doll while blowing water out of her mouth, or something equally as random!

    Hey, least I’d be prepared if anyone did need it! Haha!

    All the best



  4. Adrian

    Always a general idea and then shoot lots and see what fits. Not the best way, but it seems to work for me.


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