Assignment 1: Workflow

For this assignment I have chosen to photograph London in a black and white street photography style, this is a type of photography I really enjoy, the interest of capturing everyday people about their days in black and white which tends to focus the viewer on what they are seeing rather than the boldness and contrast of colours.

To make this assignment more focused and coherent I have separated the sections of the workflow into a sort of, beginning, middle and end, for example pre-shoot, during shoot and post production.

Pre-Shoot Steps:

  • Choose subject.
  • Find a suitable day/time.
  • Pick specifics within the subject.
  • Charge camera batteries.
  • Format memory cards.
  • Clean lenses and sensor if possible.
  • Pack kit in a suitable bag for the day.
  • Pack any other items of use.

Amongst the initial steps when setting up a planned shoot and especially of this variety the weather plays a vital part on the success, as much as rain, wind and snow can make interesting and atmospheric shots it is all dependent on what you are setting out achieve and also prepared for. For the subject of street photography for me its all about getting about in your surroundings and moving around seeing what appears and happens around you so I had initially chosen a limited number of locations around London that I wanted to cover while also always on the look out constantly throughout the day. I had selected, Big Ben, the tube and Camden Town as three areas I specifically wanted to cover. To decide what kit to pack I considered firstly what I will be using them for, the light I should have available to me and also what I would be comfortable carrying for a long period of time walking, so with this thought I had selected my 18-55mm and a 50mm 1.8 prime lens, these both gave me an unobtrusive angle of view and also with the prime it gave me some variation in low light situations like the tube. After formatting a selection of memory cards and placing a 16GB in the camera and two further 16BG cards in the bag I set about cleaning the selected lenses to ensure of the best possible outcomes after photographing, I also took great care in cleaning the view finder and as the sensor didn’t need doing I left it alone. Finally I packed the kit into my smaller shoulder bag as I felt this gave me more flexibility with movement and space if things got very busy in London, I also packed in there a small waterproof, lens cleaning equipment, gorilla pod and filters that may be useful, like a ND filter.

I think that this part of the workflow is very dependent on the type of photography one is undertaking and what each specific type requires, however taken to the bare bones of it they will become very simple in that you need to think about and decide on what needs to be prepared to make the shoot as successful and stress free as possible. I think if I was to reattempt this scenario again I would consider taking a telephoto lens and sitting back a little more and shooting from a distance, as this may give a different view than other images where you are much closer.

The Shoot:

  • Find initial location and scout out interesting viewpoints and angles.
  • Take test shots to confirm the exposure.
  • Set the camera as the test shots dictated.
  • Wait for that ideal shot.
  • Continue to look for shots non stop throughout the time available.
  • Continuously review and delete definite poor photographs as I go.
  • Travel around London towards different locations always ready with the camera.

Due to the constant weather changes and lighting it was a constant battle trying to get it right, this therefore resulted in a number of images being deleted as I reviewed during the day. It is always important to consider the framing and composition of a potential image before you have a limited time to capture it, so with this in mind I always attempted to frame an image and then wait for a subject to fit it perfectly, on the other hand I would also aim to frame an image around a subject if I happen to notice the potential in a subject rather than a location.It is also best , before there is a chance to miss the shot you’ve been looking for, to constantly take test shots to ensure the exposure is as suitable as possible, obviously it can vary largely in the smallest of spaces it is important to make a consideration of it before hand to ensure you are at least someway there to being correct. I find with a lot of street photography it is always that fleeting moment that you are aiming to capture, something that wont happen again so therefore it is important compliment these moments with the scene and therefore by being patient and seizing the moment that really creates a great photograph. When photographing on a large scale it is very important to maintain a sense of quality so it is imperative that as the photographer you continuously oversee and check the images that have been taken, deleting the obvious mistakes due to changing in light or blur if it is unwanted, this not only results in more space on the memory card but also speeds of post production.

This part of the workflow is extremely important towards producing a quality final piece, maintaing the concentration and coupling that with the preparation made during the pre shoot helps the photographer a great deal towards being. I feel this part of the workflow really suits me in that a lot of the steps are things I do naturally and work very well with the style that I seem to use. I think the best way to improve this section of the workflow for me would be to allow more space for spontaneity, however these may lack the thought out process, by creating a fleeting image we can evoke a whole new set of emotions and thoughts.

Post-Production:

  • Import to Adobe Lightroom.
  • Review Images.
  • Select best of the images for post processing. (Tag them all with blue)
  • Review remaining images again and select any with potential. (Tag them all with yellow)
  • Edit the best images, aiming to maintain a continuous theme throughout the images.
  • Edit the potential images, adding any to the best if editing has improved them enough.
  • Index images, saving the finished and edited images into specific folders within the file containing the other images.
  • Publish the images.

This final section of the workflow is the culmination of everything before it, taking the camera processed images, sorting and ordering them into a collection of images for, in this case an online web gallery on both my website, and my Facebook page. When importing the images using Adobe Lightroom, while doing so I add keywords and metadata to all images, this allows me to find these images easier when searching and if they are chosen to be uploaded it also aids with search engine optimisation. I then choose the folder destination for the entire collection of images, I generally name them by location and date, however on a specific job I will use a customer reference number as well. Once imported I will then view the images in the loupe screen giving me a quick and large view to easily remove the poorer images that perhaps fail due to wrong settings, poor composition or perhaps due to an oversight not noticed at time of capture. I then meticulously go through the photos, selecting the ones that I feel are the strongest, I tag them in blue, this then enables me to easily find them when going through the editing process. I then do the same again, this time selecting the images that I feel have potential and hopefully with a bit of editing should make them strong images, I then tag them in yellow, for the same reason as I do with blue. Working only on the images tagged in blue I then edit these using Lightroom develop, this enables me to do all the basic editing in RAW that I require, however when I need to use the clone tool I find it easier to do this in Photoshop CC so I therefore open up the individual images that I need in there to finish these images. I then continue to do the same with the images with a yellow tag, this then allows me to review these images again, and any that I feel were made strong enough I move to a blue tag. With the finished images, all tagged in blue, once selected I then export these using the inbuilt feature in Lightroom, in this feature I am able to determine firstly the destination of these images, any renaming, quality and format of the file and if I want to use a watermark on the images and once I have chosen the required settings I then export these to the chosen folder.

I find with this part of the workflow it is obviously dependent on your software and skill in said software, I feel my workflow will change considerably as my knowledge of both Lightroom and Photoshop change. However the process of critiquing and selecting although depends on the photographers standards will more than likely maintain the same approach although as time progresses perhaps the amount of good photographs reduces due to the standards raising. Obviously working towards different outcomes requires variations on the work flow, for example for stock libraries it is important to have the key wording correct and accurate so more time would be spent on this.

Final Images:IMG_2032 IMG_2046 IMG_2063 IMG_2088 IMG_2094 IMG_2140 IMG_2184 IMG_2198 IMG_2208 IMG_2234 IMG_2238 IMG_2397

Each photographer works differently towards a similar goal, mainly to produce an image or images that they are proud of, it is then in there best interest to create a workflow best suited for themselves and this assignment and the exercises has seen me mature my workflow, adapting my process to utilise more the software has to offer. I think overall my workflow is succesful in ensuring I prepare, execute and review my photography well and this inturn ensures I am succesful compared to the brief, this time set by myself. However as mentioned throughout this assignment I do feel there are ways to improve and will consider these as I continue throughout the course while also continuing my understanding of Adobe Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC.

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