To previsualize takes a little talent. Certainly those photographers who can see through surfaces to the truths within can learn to previsualize freely and spontaneously.
Practice makes us believe that visualization is of the essence when creativity relates to photography. Photographers can visualize before making the exposure, before correcting the image, and visualize how viewers may respond before showing the image.
Today, we must clear the mind of past practices. Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from practicing is the concept of previsualization. The word itself means simply "to see ahead of time." Isn't that what the whole picture making process is about?
Before you go to make a picture and try to make it "come out" like some notion in your head, realize that you can't take a scene which is multidimensional by nature and produce an exact copy of it in a two-dimensional photograph. The masters understood that we cannot reproduce exactly a scene which is before our camera; we can come up with only an approximation.
Your mental picture may, of course, be one of many things. You may have a mental picture which is absolutely unlike the scene before you. Your mental conception may be a composite of two, or three, or more pictures; it may be sharp or fuzzy. This is where your individuality comes in. Knowledge of photography allows the photographer to make successful photographs from these mental images.
The declarative or expressive position of the photographer in relation to the photographic medium should be based upon the fullest understanding of all the ingredients essential to his craft. The proposition is one of vision, and in an interesting way, vision can ultimately extend craft.
A technician works with the hands. A craftsman works with the hands and head. But an artist works with the hands, the head and the heart.