Interesting subject. When photographing people I sometimes experience that I may be thinking to much about technique (or rather, my lack of it) instead of putting myself out there, trying to get connected with the subject. A mild alcohol intoxication usually helps, and makes me more relaxed, the negs and images usually gets better too.
However, a total lack of knowledge seems stupid. If you're at point A (the scene or subject) and what to get to point B (a final image), it's usually good if you know some kind of way in between the points, it may not be the way everybody takes, but should you at least have some idea of what result you want, and how to obtain it? Seems a bit haphazard otherwise, to me at least.