Sunday, 15 January 2012

Your own workflow 1

In this exercise we are tasked with creating & documenting our own workflow. This workflow will later be put to use and tested in a couple of projects.

It has become more important to have a good workflow in place. A digital camera is capable of producing a large number of images very inexpensively. In this digital age we also have complete control over  the editing & processing of image and the way we make it available for viewing, i.e. the internet, digital slide show or print. We also have to consider the fragility of a digital file over a printed photograph. Our workflow has to cater for the storage and security of the digital image.

Although the editing, processing and storage part of the workflow may be the same or very similar for any type of shoot, the first part of the workflow which deals with the preparation of equipment may vary.

This first workflow is for a small, time limited project such as a portrait shoot. I have using been a workflow that has slowly been forming without any deliberate planning so this is an ideal time to maybe firm this up and get it down on virtual paper.

Using the portrait session as the objective, the workflow actually starts even before charging the batteries. First a location is needed. I keep a list of possible locations and now also take a snapshot with my phone or compact when I come across a new one. This location scouting is a continuous process.

In this workflow the second thing I would need is a model or subject. This could be from among friends, family or from a modelling agency. As the shoot is going to be limited in time I will try to make a mental note or a printed list of poses I wish the subject to try out. 

Next comes preparation of the equipment which is noted on the chart. This completes the first part of the workflow. Everything now stops until the arranged time of the shoot.

(click for larger image)

At the shoot itself I must concentrate on the subjects poses and lighting to make sure I get the shots I need. All I can do here is check the camera screen (histogram) to make sure things look ok.

Back at home the last stage of the workflow cycle is the selection, storing and processing of the images. I use Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) as my RAW processor (I always shoot in RAW). DPP is used to transfer the images from the memory card to a newly created folder on the PC. I arrange my RAW images in a folder structure which is split into years followed by months or events, a month if the images are just random images or an event if the images all hail from the same occasion.

The RAW folder structure (click for larger view)
I usually perform the RAW adjustments in DPP and then transfer the image directly to Photoshop for any special effects editing and final output processing for print or web. The Photoshop files are also saved into a similar folder structure as the Raw files but I name the Photoshop files with a sensible name rather than the image number.

This outlined workflow will now be put to the test to carry out one of the upcoming exercises in the course.