Visual journaling and keeping an Idea file…
One of the tools that I use to help record ideas for photographs is an idea file. An idea file can be as simple as some notes scribbled in a tiny notebook or a notebook with photos cut from magazines or printed off of the Internet of poses/ideas that you’d like to try. It needs to be compact so that you can carry it in your camera bag and take it out to look through when you need ideas or need quick info on lighting a scene, etc. I keep my ideas on 3″x5″ index cards held together with a binder ring.
Another great tool is using a note or sketch book to jot down notes and ideas as well as pasting in copies of your own photos with information on where and how you took them. It’s a place to draw inspiration from and, like the idea file, it can also include pasted in pictures torn from magazines or printed from the Internet of things that inspire you and photos that like to try.
“Creating an expressive photograph is ultimately about bringing together the inner and outer worlds of experience. To strengthen what we are saying through our images requires self-exploration and personal understanding. Through the Visual Journal process, investigate the inner experience of creating photographs to cultivate a deeper awareness of our motives and our responses. Through journaling and inquiry, explore the deeper meaning of the creative process and the photographs you make. Here journaling is not about being a good writer; it is about exploration. The Visual Journal is like a sketch book of ideas, inspirations, experiences, and feelings about your photography that will help you get more in touch with the significance of the images you are creating.”
A visual journal can be an invaluable tool. Many modern photographers keep visual journals as ways of recording ideas and information to help them in their photography. Photographers such as Allan Jenkins, Ben Watts, Dan Eldon, Peter Beard, Cindy Sherman and one of the fathers photography Henry Talbot.
Here is an interesting article on keeping a photographic journal.