I like to plan before any photoshoot. I have at least a rough strategy, know some shots I want to take, have a starting point, know the location.
I also like to collaborate and improvise, discussing ideas as we go, trying them out to see what works and moving on when it doesn't.
The latter is fun to do, but I also know that I need to trust and chase my own ideas and vision. Chase them because they can be elusive. An idea isn't necessary going to work out on the first shot, or the tenth or the twentieth. Maybe the idea just doesn't work, but maybe it needs a small change, to the light or the gesture or the angle, composition or environment. It needs commitment and persistence. Maybe it needs a re-think, a different location or different lighting or processing.
Heather (www.heatherpalmerw.com) is a yoga instructor with amazing flexibility in her body. I've photographed her a few times and at first we started to capture the more extreme poses, as a demonstration of her capabilities in the images. We realized though that if she relaxed a little more, using poses that she could achieve more easily, then there was an ease and elegance that came across in the pictures.
With Connie (www.conniesaltzman.com), as an actress, I thought it would be interesting to visually explore the idea of self alongside a character being portrayed. This was taken in-camera using a long exposure. It takes time to achieve and get right so it takes a certain amount of trust. Trust from the subject in your ability, that you have an idea and it will be worth the time to try out. And trust in yourself, that the idea is worth pursuing and that you're allowed to fail sometimes.
The words of a preacher many years ago back in the UK have always stayed with me: "The greatest generals are not those that avoid the most defeats, but those that plan the greatest victories." - David Townsend.