The Importance Of Previsualization In Street Photography

When you look around and see potential images do you see them the way they will look after you have processed them or do you only see the immediate composition?  Previsualization is the process of seeing the end result of an image before you’ve even taken the photograph (I first heard of the concept while reading about Ansel Adams).


You don't have to be an Oracle to previsualize something (though it probably wouldn't hurt).

The image above is a great example of previsualization, I saw the potential image in black and white and realized what type of mood I could create with post processing.  Below is the original image unedited and converted to JPEG.


Previsualization takes some practice and, for me, it actually starts in post processing.  By that I mean for you to be able to previsualize a photograph you need to have a working knowledge of your post processing program and know what you’re comfortable with in terms of editing.  If you are more of a naturalist when it comes to post work then previsualization isn’t as paramount to your process.  If you believe photography is an expression of your interpretation of a given scene then you may rely heavily on previsualization.  Either way, without knowing what kind of post processing magic you can do there is no way of knowing what potential an image has before you take it.

Which type of photographer are you?  Naturalist or Visionary? 

Try to think about what the final image will look like as you walk around with your camera looking for interesting shots.  When you look at a subject think about what the image would look like in black and white and then in color.  What would it look like if the shadows were stronger?  Weaker?  What if the highlights were blown?  Considering these different variables and their impact on your image is previsualization.

Do you use previsualization in Street Photography?  If so, share a shot with us where you realized the vision you had…  You can upload your images to the Facebook page for us to ogle.