The idea of pre-visualization is at odds with digital photography. Digital photography allows instant feedback and the “film” is free, so it’s common for digital shooters to shoot hundreds of images per hour. Old school large format photographers spend so much on each image that they’ll only take a couple in one day, but they spend a lot of time visualizing and preparing for the image, and they usually get it right the first time. Well, I’ve been trying find where these two worlds meet. Who knows, maybe my photography could improve a bit. Ya think?


So here’s the story. I decided to go to Pawnee Buttes last weekend, because that coincided with the full moon. The idea was to be looking east at the buttes, with them lit up by the sunset glow / final light of the day. The sun and moon schedules said that the moon would rise about 20 minutes before sunset. Also, this was supposed to be the biggest full moon of the year as well.

I didn’t quite get the angle I had in mind, and the sun was behind clouds as the moon was rising, but I got a good result anyway.


I found it really helped a ton to have a clear idea of the image I wanted to make. It was different from just trying to capture an image, which is what I normally do. It’s the difference between taking a picture and making a picture.¬†Pre-visualization¬†helped me frame the image, helped me know what color and light to look for, and helped me figure out where I wanted to be to take the best photo possible (which I wasn’t able to get to in time).

What images have you pre-visualized? Did it work out?


One comment on “Pre-visualization

  1. Jason says:

    Less often than I like, but I’ve pre-visualized a few in my portfolio. I agree, the exercise is an important one and the images where I did I think reflect that. Great idea here which ties into one I had a while back over at CB about a possible resurgence in film – perhaps it’s because we miss the thought out and planned days of photography.

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