Adams outlines "the steps in making a photograph" in a bit more detail as follows:
Need, or desire, to photograph. This attitude is obviously essential. Sometimes just going out with a camera can excite perceptive interest and the desire to work. An assignment—a purpose—can be the greatest stimulus for functional or creative work.
Discovery of the subject, or recognition of its essential aspects, will evoke the concept of the image. This leads to the exploration of the subject and the optimum point of view.
Visualization of the final picture is essential in whatever medium is used. The term “seeing” can be used for visualization, but the latter term is more precise in that it relates to the final picture—its scale, composition, tonal and textural values, etc. Just as a musician “hears” notes and chords in his mind’s eye, so can the trained photographer “see” certain values, textures, and arrangements in his mind’s eye.