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Preparation vs Spontaneity

August 12, 2009

In general, I tend to be something of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of guy. I’ve been known to schedule workshops that I haven’t even finished developing yet! When I give a workshop, I do not have a script. I sometimes have notes with bullet points to make sure I cover everything but mostly I just stand up there and talk, using the photos on the screen as my guide.

I have used the same camera for over two years and taken over 20,000 pictures with it. I am very familiar with my equipment; with it’s abilities and limitations. That enables me to confidently go out and take pictures even with very little advance preparation.

That being said, there’s a great deal of merit in doing some prep work. Last week I spent part of my vacation scouting for two events I will be shooting in the near future. Both are sporting events covering a fairly large area and being held in locations that are only semi-familair to me.  Given that I will not get a second chance to get it right and the fast action means I’ll have to make even faster decisions, doing some advance scouting will pay off.

By visiting the locations at the same time of day as the events will be held I was able to judge the quality, amount and direction of the light. I was able to see the kinds of backgrounds that would be presented to me and plan my vantage points. Ultimately, the exercise itself put me in a more professional frame of mind. That can only be a good thing.

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