It doesn't matter if my next photo shoot falls under the category of lifestyle photography, boudoir photography, wedding photography or even product photography. I ALWAYS pre-visualize my photo shoots, and in a way, I encourage my client's to do so as well.
These six areas are a great basis for the photography visualization process:
The clothing that is chosen for a photo shoot represents personality and style. Clients can give their photographer an idea of the look they plan on going for. An example could be a family is dressing in casual fall sweaters for an afternoon at the park, or maybe an engaged couple plans to wear baseball tees because they are die hard Cardinals fans, or perhaps a family plans on keeping it real in pajamas for a lifestyle photography session documenting their Saturday morning breakfast ritual. It's a win for the client and the photographer when the wardrobe plans are communicated.
Understanding your environment is crucial to the success of your photos. One part of the environment is lighting, which I already mentioned the importance it plays. Architecture, furniture, textures and surfaces are other elements of the environment that provide uniqueness to each shoot and a setting to the story of the individuals being photographed. Clients can help photographers visualize the environment by describing their home or the location they have chosen.
Lighting is everything in photography. If I know a shoot is going to be indoors, I also know that lighting could be limited. This helps me plan which lenses I want to use, as some lenses work better in low lighting situations than others. I consult with clients on natural light and common indoor lights, as well as what time of day offers the best outdoor lighting. For (at home) lifestyle photography, I also suggest that prior to the photo shoot that clients observe their house to see what time of day seems brightest. Clients should also be prepared to open up those curtains and blinds!
Excited faces, warm snuggles, loving glaces, laughter. It's best to be a proactive and prepare for the special moments to occur. The reactive photographer misses the shot. Clients often help photographers know what special moments to anticipate simply by talking about their children. Maybe two little girls love to dance together or brothers can't help but wrestle. Interaction for wedding photography can be a hug between a bride and her Mom, tears during toasts, or even children on the dance floor. Pre-visualizing interactions causes photographers to anticipate and capture more authenticity during the photo shoot.
This could be the flowers, jewelry and gifts in wedding photography. Or it could be the toys, tiny hands and book of choice for the lifestyle photographer. What items help tell the story of the couple, family or event? Thinking about details ahead of time will prepare your mind to look for the appropriate items on the day of the photo shoot. Clients should inform photographers of sentimental treasures.
Specific Shots // Posing
Usually I have enough information to start thinking up some creative photography shots that I want specifically for my portfolio. Photographers shoot for both their clients and their brands. If I know a certain pose or environment will really speak to clients I hope to attract in the future, then I try capture those photos when the opportunity presents itself. Certain genres of photography, such as wedding photography, utilize posing more than other forms of photogrpahy. In this case, it's important to imagine the poses ahead of time in order to direct and execute the shot under pressure and timelines. Likewise, clients also can pre-visualize specific shots that they would like to re-create from inspiration they've gathered on their own.