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How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1

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Pre-visualising photos or previz as it’s known, is vital if you want to get away from spraying and praying for a ‘good one’. But this is a struggle for many photographers so I thought we’d go to a location and I’ll talk you through my thoughts about what images will work, what won’t and when they should be taken.

Pre-visualizing is about your creative imagination. You have to imagine what the photo will look like in different circumstances and if shot from different positions. How it’ll look with different focal lengths using different apertures for different amounts of depth of field or sharpness. Then where to place that sharpness within your image.

“But how do I do it?” I hear you cry.

Remember when you were a kid? I bet you used to imagine all kinds of things and they were vividly real inside your mind. I’ve always been excited by big machines like farm tractors, trucks and earth moving equipment. When I was little I had an old pram I’d turn onto it's side, grab a kitchen stool and sit for hours on end grasping one of the wheels imagining I was ploughing a field, driving a tipper truck.

In my head I was visualising the field being filled with furrows as I ploughed it. When it was a truck, I’d imagine each bump in the road, the bends and how much to turn the ‘steering wheel’ to get round them. To me it was vivid and real.

What did you imagine when you were a kid that felt completely real? Whatever it was, go back to it now and remember the associated feelings. What could you see in your minds eye when you were doing it?

OK you think I’m nuts! But I mean it. As we grow into adulthood we forget how as children we could see everything in our imagination. We dismiss it as childish because we’ve grown up. But that childlike imagination is the driving force behind everything creative so get stuck in reviving it. Now you’re an adult you can control and harness this incredibly powerful creative tool.

Think about a place you love to visit and go there in your mind. Imagine how it looks as you walk around it. How it changes when seen from different angles, on a wet day, in sunshine, in the morning, at night, with people about, when it’s deserted... This is visualising.

Now all you have to do is look at a whatever you want to photograph and imagine it as a picture. If it’s sunny and there are shadows, imagine how it’d look if the shadows went the other way. Imagine it seen through a wide angle lens, a long lens, from above, below, from just 6 inches to the side. How would it look if you had more sky, or less sky?

Imagine how it’d look with lots of depth of field front to back sharpness. Then how it’d look with a very shallow depth of field picking out just one part of the image. Imagine these things, see them clearly in your mind’s eye. This is pre-visualising your photos.

Obviously you cannot pre-visualise photos if you don’t know how your camera controls and lenses affect the way an image looks. You must know how to control your camera and make it capture these things they way you want them captured. These are the techniques of photography.

You can’t pre-visualise if you don’t understand how to recognise qualities of light and how to use them appropriately. How to compose a photo and the relationship between focal length and composition. If this is you, enroll on my Beginners Course, complete the lessons and practise them thoroughly.

Then it’s time to learn the thought process the techniques together in the correct sequence to create the image you want to take. And that sequence may change depending on each image. That’s why learning to think like a photographer is vital to fulfilling your photographic potential. So stop messing about doing the same thing you’ve done for years, whilst hoping for a different result - and get onto the 7 Building Blocks of Photography.

Sorry there’s no quick fix. If you want to get photographically fit you gotta work at it. And that includes revitalising that childhood imagination so you can pre-visualise how different lenses, focal lengths, apertures, shutter speeds, distance to subject, where to stand and when to click will impact on your images…

Best wishes…

mike signature clear

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Comments

How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Hi Mike, when i first looked at your location, sorry but i thought you were bonkers, how wrong i was, your video got my imagination going big time what fantastic compositions you got out of it. Cheers and look forward to part II. ps, that location reminded me 20 years ago in Teguise i rememended a part completed hotel above the village, they the locals said it broke the high rise planning regs and they put the kibosh on it.
peterscott1 28, Apr 2018 @ 00:21
Hi Mike, when i first looked at your location, sorry but i thought you were bonkers, how wrong i was, your video got my imagination going big time what fantastic compositions you got out of it. Cheers and look forward to part II. ps, that location reminded me 20 years ago in Teguise i rememended a part completed hotel above the village, they the locals said it broke the high rise planning regs and they put the kibosh on it.
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How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Hi Mike. Thank you for this really insightful video. Unlike Peter, when I saw the location I thought, wow, brilliant, just what I get fascinated by. But, I have struggled when photographing derelict/run down structures to capture what is in my imagination. Together with the 7BB and other tutorials, workshops, videos of yours, I have done, this latest video has helped me once again to 'think like a photographer'. I can't wait for the next opportunity to put your advice and guidance into practice. I too am looking forward to part II.
sandie 28, Apr 2018 @ 12:40
Hi Mike. Thank you for this really insightful video. Unlike Peter, when I saw the location I thought, wow, brilliant, just what I get fascinated by. But, I have struggled when photographing derelict/run down structures to capture what is in my imagination. Together with the 7BB and other tutorials, workshops, videos of yours, I have done, this latest video has helped me once again to 'think like a photographer'. I can't wait for the next opportunity to put your advice and guidance into practice. I too am looking forward to part II.
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How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Hi Mike, yet another superb video but I can't grasp how you hold a selfie stick, talk, walk and operate a DSLR at the same time without falling over lumps of rubble. Lanzarote may not be the perfect holiday destination for many but, like you, I love the island. Glorious weather, great food, lovely people and, of course, seemingly endless photo opportunities.
I've been there many times and taken thousands of photos of sunsets, sunrises, architecture, street life, volcanoes and just about everything else from Playa Blance to Orzola. I thought I'd done the place to death to the point where I found myself struggling for inspiration.
I've seen these derelict hotels many times on the drive from the airport at Arrecife to our apartment at Los Molinos. I've always considered them to be a bit of an eyesore but it never entered my head that there could be photos to be had within these wrecks.
I guess I'm yet to fully develop that sixth sense where a shot pings up in the corner of your eye when you're not even looking for it.
I particularly like the shot with child's trike, the splash of colour against the decadent greyness of the dereliction humanises the image.
Thanks for the inspiration, next time we go the wife can spend a couple of days toasting her ass by the pool but I know where I'll be going.
russell 28, Apr 2018 @ 12:54
Hi Mike, yet another superb video but I can't grasp how you hold a selfie stick, talk, walk and operate a DSLR at the same time without falling over lumps of rubble. Lanzarote may not be the perfect holiday destination for many but, like you, I love the island. Glorious weather, great food, lovely people and, of course, seemingly endless photo opportunities.
I've been there many times and taken thousands of photos of sunsets, sunrises, architecture, street life, volcanoes and just about everything else from Playa Blance to Orzola. I thought I'd done the place to death to the point where I found myself struggling for inspiration.
I've seen these derelict hotels many times on the drive from the airport at Arrecife to our apartment at Los Molinos. I've always considered them to be a bit of an eyesore but it never entered my head that there could be photos to be had within these wrecks.
I guess I'm yet to fully develop that sixth sense where a shot pings up in the corner of your eye when you're not even looking for it.
I particularly like the shot with child's trike, the splash of colour against the decadent greyness of the dereliction humanises the image.
Thanks for the inspiration, next time we go the wife can spend a couple of days toasting her ass by the pool but I know where I'll be going.
0
How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Excellent Mike, I to thought u went loony. But after seeing ur video I now realise the things and thoughts that went into a shot how much of I got to learn. The hard part for me is being stuck for inspiration, but now I know that u have to go exploring and use my brain and see the shot then go back at the right time. Thanks a lot Mike.
alandrez68 28, Apr 2018 @ 12:59
Excellent Mike, I to thought u went loony. But after seeing ur video I now realise the things and thoughts that went into a shot how much of I got to learn. The hard part for me is being stuck for inspiration, but now I know that u have to go exploring and use my brain and see the shot then go back at the right time. Thanks a lot Mike.
0
How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
hunnybee730 28, Apr 2018 @ 16:25
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
0
How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
hunnybee730 28, Apr 2018 @ 19:14
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
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How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Great video as always Mike. When I first saw the location then you started your walk around I was looking for the appearance of the odd one or two people from within the derelict buildings. A strange looking place with it's own history that your video has brought to us. I also saw the odd items I e the child's trike, the odd chair here and there, the graffiti and the tumbled down rubble all of which you captured in the examples perfectly. I can't wait for the next follow on video. Thanks Tom.
tomandhiscamera 28, Apr 2018 @ 20:51
Great video as always Mike. When I first saw the location then you started your walk around I was looking for the appearance of the odd one or two people from within the derelict buildings. A strange looking place with it's own history that your video has brought to us. I also saw the odd items I e the child's trike, the odd chair here and there, the graffiti and the tumbled down rubble all of which you captured in the examples perfectly. I can't wait for the next follow on video. Thanks Tom.
0
How To Pre-Visualise Photos PT.1
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
hunnybee730 30, Apr 2018 @ 15:26
Wonderful video! As you were walking around, I saw that lonely chair sitting in one of the rooms and screamed at the computer, "Mike! Turn around and look at that chair!" I see at the end, you did go back and shoot it. Gorgeous shot! My husband and I love shooting abandoned buildings. They all tell such a story that you can capture with your camera. Great video! Thanks!
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