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Mental Imaging

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On the past couple of shoots I've come to realize that I mentally picture entire shoots and possible angles before moving to the location or even getting to the shoot.  This is a skill that takes time to develop, but being able to pre-visualize a shot before you carry the gear over to it can save time and energy, and helps with figuring out the best angles.

Even when I'm in position and have the shot lined up, I visualize where the athlete will be, and how I can compose to get the best shot possible.  This is definitely a skill that can be learned and improved with time and experience.  

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To learn how to pre-visualize, first you'll have to experiment with actual visualization through the lens.  Walk around an area you plan to photograph, and try using different lenses from every angle imaginable.  An experienced photographer once told me that when he taught nature photography, he would put all the students in a 10×10 square area in a scenic location, and from that, every student created multiple different and unique shots.  Finding your own vision takes time and experimentation as well.  By walking around and testing all the angles of an area you plan to shoot, you can learn what works and what doesn't.  You can also find the best possible angle and lens choice for your own artistic vision.

With enough practice, this will become second nature.  You won't need to walk all over anymore, and instead will be able to visualize every possible shot from one location.  This saves time and is all part of the process of learning how to get the best shots possible!

Now get back out there and start visualizing.  Just as a log sculptor can find exactly what he wants to sculpt each log into by studying it from the outside, you too can find the perfect photograph by visualizing throughout any location.

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