Recently I have been cooperating on the project aimed to publish a book. We are almost done and he book is to be published somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2012. I have been asked to participate in the project because of the photos I took over the years in the school of my wife. Since the book is a summary and kind a commemoration of 15 years existence of the school, the photos taken last couple of years are nice contribution to the textual content.
The book composition and layout has been done by a professional graphical designer and I cooperated with the guy from the very beginning. It was interesting (and still is) to watch his creative process. One one side he got all the materials prepared by others (text and the photos). Even the initial concept of the book layout (text sequence, chapters, etc.) was given. Yet the designer went through 3 iterations each time turning the project practically upside down. Not because of the significant drawbacks of each version, far from that: from the first time the book looked nice, was appealing and interesting to read and look into. But he wanted more. He reworked composition several times until it fit his vision. Or maybe the vision has evolved over time, I don't know.
Looking from the perspective of the project constraints (budget and time) it is not the most straightforward way. As an engineer I would try to build up adding stuff piece by piece to the final solution. But: it is not engineering, it is graphical design. And comparing the first and third version of the book it was worth doing so.
Back to the photography. I think this approach applies in many shooting situations: rebuilding the scene completely, redesign of the composition from scratch leads to the totally new insights, different scenes, and maybe even better photos. The only thing is to be opened for such 180 degree turns. Definitiely something worth trying during next photo session.