For any shoot I do, may it have a concept or not, I visualize what I will shoot and sketch (terribly) what I see will be the final image. This is sort of my goal lists of the shots I wanted to achieve. I normally sketch around 20-30 shots, hoping to get at least one that would work. I may tweak it a little bit on the actual shoot, depending on the situation, but I'll try to get it as close as possible. (Please bear with my sketches :) )
I also sketch the lighting set up for each shot, even if it's just the sun lighting the whole picture. This helps a lot during the shoot, as it helps me visualize and direct the subjects better. Sometimes it also helps "break the ice" when I show them the sketches and have a laugh about it.
The shot above was from a couple of weeks ago in the open areas of Clark, Pampanga. This was a former US military service base that now houses the Philippine military (I think). It's a beautiful place with a lot of open fields and woodland areas perfect for the mythology themed shoot. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating with us. We waited for the rain to slow down a little, and then started the set up. Just before shooting, the rain started pouring again, and we were so wet that we decided to pack up and try again on a future date. On our way back the rain stopped, and we saw this beautiful area with the setting sun lighting it. It was around 4pm and the sun was going down fast.
So I jumped out of the car, took out the gear as quickly as I could and had my set up ready in a few minutes. This is where the sketches came up useful. Prior to the shoot, I have discussed to some of the subjects on what I wanted to do. It also helped me get to know the subjects better, even though I only met them. For those that I wasn't able to talk to, the sketches helped me visualize the set up that would be suitable for them. The time I saved was priceless, as I was able to get as many shots that I needed. I was shooting until it was so dark that my camera couldn't focus anymore. Also by using portable flash units, I was able to create my light, even if the sun was going down. Here are some of the other shots for the day.
It was a lot of fun and adds up to my learning. I guess sometimes it takes a little challenge (rain) and some preparation (sketches) to make amazing photos.