Concept Creation

Even the greatest ideas need some form of planning before pulling out the camera. There are many layers or planning and organisation that go in to creating even just one image.

Where it starts.

I find the easiest way to start is with a statement that summarises the composition I see in my head.

"A horse eating grass alone in a wide sweeping field with a cloudy mountanous backdrop."

From that point on, the name of the project & concept can be horse.

The next bit's fun. "Brainstorming" might seem a little old hat, but it's the best way I can get on paper (albeit electronic), the detail that will make the concept reality. It's easy. Just write the project/concept title in the middle, then add nodes to capture the task groups needed to plan the shot. Consider the questions below triggers to aid the planning process.


  • What is it that you are shooting?
  • What needs to happen to access the subject (model, mountain, inanimate object etc)?


  • Where does the subject need to be in the frame?
  • Is it about the subject, the subject in context to the surroundings, or the surroundings with the subject thrown in?


  • What's the story?
  • What's the mood?
  • How do I express/communicate the mood?

Weather/environment -

  • What is the main light source?
  • Do I need to consider the position of the sun depending on the time of year?


  • How easy is it to get to the location?
  • How much gear is really needed to make the shot?
  • Do i need extra hands?

It can seem a little daunting however once it's out in a physical form, it can be much easier to plan nad highlight the issues before they become a problem. The above prompts may seem like a lot to think about at once, so don't. Better results will be achieved is due time is taken through the planning process. Whilst it's easy to get caught up in the detail of the shoot day, the composition planning and visulaising the end product is more important.

There are many options available for planning a project like this. It may start as simple notes on a page, but the bigger & more detailed the project, the better the planning system needs to be.

For creative projects (personal or for a client), I have generally found that the more time spent in the planning stage will yield better results. The shoot day at times can feel off the mark or not quite perfect compared to the plan, but remember it's a better plan!