Plan but don't over plan.
Have a vision of the final image, but be willing to let go of it.
This is usually the mantra going on in my head as a I pedal to a job. Most of my assignments require me to shoot in a limited amount of time with a limited amount of information. Most of the time I have no idea what my subject will look like, what the environment will look like, if the light is good or bad, if my subject is willing or ornery.
At first I found this extremely stressful. I would stay up the night before and storyboard, or dream up different approaches and contingency plans, all of which I either forgot or went out the window once I got to the location.
Needless to say, I've learned to deal with it. I simply accept things won't be perfect, that there will be constraints, but within those constraints is my arena.
This assignment today was a good example. I had talked to the PR person for the two DJs and had anticipated being able to shoot inside the club. When I arrived it was in full swing and there was no way I could set up in there. Luckily, the club had a foyer with a big green wall. Unfortunately, there was a whole bunch of stuff in front of it. So the first fifteen minutes was moving stuff away from the wall and then dragging a speaker from the other side of the room into the frame.
Also, there was a lot of outside ambient light coming in, which wasn't helping the picutre. So I had to dial down to my lowest ISO and my hightest flash synch speed so I could make my strobes the only light source. But to do that, I had to pump the strobes up to almost full and bring them in really tight, giving me a limited number of shots and slow recycle times.
It's organized chaos.
I feel most alive when I'm shooting, it's as if everything in my head turns on and I'm observing and judging variables all at once to create the picture. It's turning the survival instinct into art.