The easiest way to sort this out is to remember that the image plane (the film) the lens plane (approximately the lensboard) and the desired plane of focus all intersect along a line. You can see the planes on the camera but you have to decide for yourself where the plane of focus should lie.
If you are using back tilt for looming, you'd do that first and then adjust the front standard to place the plane of focus where you want it.
Everything works in the same way sideways, using swing.
For practice, you can take three long rods, garden canes perhaps, and align them with the front and back standards to demonstrate what's happening. All the canes should meet at the "hinge point".
This procedure doesn't sort out the distance from lens to film – the focus. You do that first. You will probably have to adjust the focus again after dealing with tilts or swings and that's normal.
Most LF textbooks will clarify all this. For a much more detailed exposition, see Harold Merklinger.
It would be wise to re-check focus before making the exposure.