Pre-Planned vs Spontaneous Photography

Jim Hardiman Photography 2 Comments

Recently, Judy and I joined Wayne Bennett and Ron Caimano on a trip to Ocala, Florida to shoot the sunrise in a familiar spot.  When we arrived, it was foggy and it was clear (pun intended) that there was not going to be the classic golden sunrise that we were going to shoot.  In any case, the shoot was wonderful.  We made images in the fog, in an area, that we had perviously (a couple of years ago) shot with nice golden early morning light.  So, while I went out with several ideas for photographs, having shot there before, I had to change gears and shoot what was available.  After the shoot, I started thinking about the difference between pre-visualizing shots versus shooting spontaneously.

Some photographers spend as much time pre-planning their photography as they do taking the images.  I almost always have a plan before I shoot and tend to plan where I want to go and what I want to shoot and in what type of light.  This can lead to some wonderful photographs that meet your expectations but equally, you can be disappointed when the conditions are not perfect.  What do you do then.  Well, instead of packing up, it is time to take a look around for other opportunities.  In our case with the fog, taking shots where you can find leading lines that go off into infinity, or better yet, have a distant but discernible object, you can leave with interesting, story-telling images.

I thought that I would post three of the images that I took a couple of years ago and include the photographs that I just made to illustrate the point.

Image made in April 2015 during sunrise.
Image made in March 2018 during sunrise with fog.
Image made in April 2015 during sunrise.
Image made in March 2018 during sunrise with fog.
Image made in April 2015 during sunrise.
Image made in March 2018 during sunrise with fog.

What’s the point?  Don’t let unexpected conditions stop you from making images.  The worst case is you will learn something and the best case is you will likely make some wonderful photos and perhaps some memories with friends.

If you have gone out to take some planned images and your plans were changed by the conditions, it would be great to hear about it in the comments.

Tip:   When shooting in fog, I usually overexpose by about 2/3 stop to make the fog white.  Otherwise your meter will expose for 18% grey and your fog will also be grey.

Jim

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