The importance of image scouting (…in my process)

The images I really enjoy making are usually originated by a preparation work which include scouting and previsualization.

Scouting is the process of finding special images, storing it’s location and imagine what would be the best possible conditions for making the image. From scouting I usually get a set of images and/or drawings tha will allow me in the future to recall the spot and plan for a shoot.

Nowadays, smartphones with small cameras and GPS are a major help on the process. I usually take several pictures at the possible location and sleep on it, leting my mind flow into the sea of possibilities. From then on I imagine how the place can look on every possible weather condition (sun, rain, fog, overcast, etc), tide, light, moon, etc, etc.

When do I scout? Well, to tell you the truth, I’m always in scouting mode 🙂

Whenever I’m outside, driving, running, hiking or any other activity, my brain is always looking for possibilities; and when the trigger goes off… click, I’ll take a geolocated snapshot, so I’ll recall what I’ve seen.

Some examples (no post edit in place! these are just as shot):

From a train (note the window reflections 🙂 ). From inside the train i obviously not the best place to take a good picture. This is a place I have to go back… by car 🙂




During a family day t the beach. This water pool formed and is a very interesting composition element during first/last light reflections.




During a photo session for a future shoot. The water doors will be an interesting spot when this dam is dumping excess water. local contacts will be a great help to know when the dam doors are open.



During a photo session for a future shoot (another one). This rock formation is interesting, but with the high tide it doesn’t work well. a nice place to come back with the right light and tide.



As you can see, the images are very basic, with little quality, framing, technique, etc.. Those are all beside the point. The idea is to allow me to remember the place and plan for the real photo in the future.


Sometimes years go by before I get the chance to go back to the location. Others probably I won’t ever go back. For the rest of them, after mapped, they allow me to plan for a family weekend or a photowalk in order to capture THE picture I have imagined.

Hope this post inspires you to revisit places and on the long run, plan some your best captures.

Translate »