One of the advantages of scouting a location, event, or a person is the ability to think about how you want to photograph. Thinking about how to photograph is likely the most important step a photographer takes in making a great image. Even if you have the wrong idea it's still the best process to use. Making mistakes is part of the learning process but if you have no idea what you are going to do, mistakes become less instructive. The more you plan the better you get at it; and the better photographer you become. Every outing should have a shooting plan, something you have thought about, an image you want to capture, a technique you want to try. This does not preclude the spontaneous image, coming across something that's wonderful. But you shouldn't depend on these special moments to bail you out.
This is an important subject so Brian Tramontana and I talked about this in our latest Podcast released today. You can hear the Podcast here, or click on the sidebar. You can also go to iTunes under Hold the Eye Images.