All of my shoots start off as sketches. The sketches serve as a sort of road map for getting to the finish line, which in this case is the final image. My sketches represent what I envision, but when you throw in "real life" factors like lighting, composition, wardrobe, props and anything else that appears in front the lens, you could wind up with something completely different and that's exciting. I recently did a shoot with male model Loren Shoop. This is what I originally envisioned: A man hunched over a broken typewriter trying to fix it.
Simple, right? As I started to place the set, things already began to deviate from my original vision. This is how I originally placed the table and the objects:
I wanted to shoot it horizontally so I could get more objects in the shot. I wanted to convey that this man has more unfinished projects than he has time. Problem was, it felt completely flat because everything was on the same axis. So I rotated the table to give more depth and placed my model at the head of the table. This is what it looked like after that change:
Much better. But no matter how I arranged the foreground objects, the overall shot seemed "off" still. Then it hit me why -- the table he was working on was too sleek & modern. So I grabbed one of my spare plywood planks and made a makeshift workbench. The warm woodtones had an immediate effect and arranging the objects was a breeze after that.
A few lighting adjustments and I had my final shot:
The lesson here? It's always best to plan everything ahead, but plan to change it until it's perfect.