PROJECT: A SEQUENCE OF ACTIONS

In this first part of the course we will be looking at the ideas surrounding workflow, which is a relatively new concept to photography, but something that is becoming increasingly necessary in our now digital age.

Workflow is not a new concept, I have been using various forms of workflows for years in my job as an Event Manager; GANTT charts and to-do-lists have been a god send in some instances, but in my photography I have never really thought about the processes and procedures I follow, which in hindsight must be considered as a workflow, I just get on and do it!

Looking at the coursework, it seems that we will be concentrating on the technical side of this workflow, but of course we must not forget the mechanical side of things too, which if done correctly can seriously assist in the ease of the technical side.  Freeman (2011) states that; “These steps need to be ordered.  Of special importance is smoothly integrating the mechanical side of photography with the various procedures on the computer.”

A typical photographic workflow could include:

  • Preparation, including checking all equipment needed, that batteries are fully charged and that there is sufficient space on the camera’s memory card and your computer’s hard drive for images.
  • Camera settings.  Some of these will be standard for all your work, such as the colour space; others will vary according to the shooting project, such as white balance or ISO sensitivity.
  • Shooting
  • Uploading images from the camera’s memory card to the computer hard drive, and managing memory card space.
  • Technical check of the images, with possible deletion of outright mistakes.
  • Ordering, numbering and naming of the saved images.
  • Editing the technically correct images to begin deciding which is the best choice of final selects for processing (especially if shooting RAW).
  • Processing.
  • Retouching, if necessary.
  • Caption and keyword the saved images.
  • Archive the images to a separate, safe location.
  • Print and/or upload to a web gallery.

(Information supplied by the OCA Photography 1: Digital Photographic Practice, Part One, Workflow).

I understand that this course is about Digital Photographic Practices, but I just want to touch base on the mechanical side of things before moving on.

As you can see, there are 13 points to the workflow above, which in hindsight could be broken down into three separate workflow practices; one for preparation, one for shooting and the last one for post-production, and I am sure if you sit and really think about this, the list for each discipline can become quiet extensive!

Building on the first three points, which I would place under preparation, I would, and often conduct the following workflow for big photography outings.

  • Decide on the lenses I am going to use, then clean all of them to make sure there are not spots, dust or hairs present.
  • Clean my camera body and also conduct a sensor clean, just to be sure.
  • Make sure that any filters I am taking are clear of spots, dust and hairs.
  • Check that all batteries are charged and packed in protective and plastic containers.  This will make sure that they are kept clean and safe for optimum use.
  • Upload all images on memory cards, and then format the cards so that they are clean and clear.
  • Check that I have a stock of cards with me, just in case.
  • In my camera bag, make sure that I have cleaning cloths, water resistant covers and any other incidentals packed.
  • Will I need a tripod, external flash, shutter release? And if so, are they charged or do I need to take extra batteries.
  • Check functionality of my camera to ensure it is working okay and change the settings to those I assume I will be needing on the day (ISO, White Balance, Metering, Auto Focus).

So, I have been able to increase this list to make it a nine-point list.

Surrounding the photo shoot, the list of checkpoints can be endless and really depends upon the conditions you are shooting under, but those items that should take serious consideration are:

  • Image type – RAW or JPEG?
  • Colour space, which concerns capturing a greater range of colours and something I need to look into – and will probably get a chance too in this module.
  • Image numbering.  At present I have my camera set so that JEH (my initials) precede the numbers produced by the camera

NB, although these items have been included in the workflow for shooting, they could actually come under the preparation title.  One the day of the photo shoot, the following are definite processes/settings/tasks to think about:

  • What exposure mode will I use; the camera’s preset functions, programme, aperture priority, shutter priority or manual.
  • White balance requirements, will I be using JPEG’s?
  • How do I want my photos to look, therefore what aperture will I be using?
  • What is the light like today, don’t forget the exposure triangle!
  • Consider ISO values.
  • What Metering options should I consider?
  • What am I photographing, so what Focus option should I consider.
  • Will I need Exposure compensation?
  • Design elements for setting up my shots.

With the help of Steinmueller and Gulbins (2010), these are just a few things to be considered, and the design elements of your photographs can probably be considered as a whole separate workflow, but I am sure that there are things I have missed along the way and as soon as I post this I will be kicking myself over other things I remember!

Just to tie this up, and before moving on, according to our coursework, a brief summary of key actions within a workflow would be:

  1. Shooting
  2. Transferring images from memory card to hard drive
  3. Examine the images in a browser, delete mistakes
  4. Identify selects, process and caption
  5. Save and archive all images

An image moves through the hardware by:

How an image move through the hardware

How an image move through the hardware

And an image moves through the software by:

So, these are the fundamentals of workflow.

How an image moves through the software

How an image moves through the software

As I have been reading up on this, I think I need to take a little time to understand RAW and the benefits of using this medium, as it looks like this will be the format we use during this module and I need to understand it more before moving on.

Source:

Reference:

Askey, P.  (2006) Nikon D40 [Online Image].  Available at: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond40/ [Accessed 18 January 2013].

Coupon Frugality.  (n.d.) Cannon Printer [Online Image].  Available at: http://www.couponfrugality.com/deal-by-store/walmart/canon-pixma-mp280-all-in-one-photo-printer-4gb-centon-datastick-pro-usb-2-0-flash-drive-29-free-in-store-pick-up/ [Accessed 18 January 2013].

Freeman, M.  (2011) The Digital SLR Handbook.  Revised 3rd Edition. East Sussex: The Ilex Press Limited.

Hyphenet.  (2012) Macbook Pro [Online Image].  Available at: http://www.hyphenet.com/blog/2012/06/22/buy-a-15-4-inch-macbook-pro-md318lla-for-1560/ [Accessed 18 January 2013].

Steinmueller, U., Gulbins, J.  (2010) The Digital Photography Workflow Handbook – From Import to Output.  Heidelberg: Steinmueller Photo.

TechnGear.  (2009) USB multi card reader [Online Image].  Available at: http://techngear.com/usb-multi-card-reader-with-memory-card-storage-box.html [Access 18 January 2013].

Bibliography:

Freeman, M.  (2011) The Digital SLR Handbook.  Revised 3rd Edition.  East Sussex: The Ilex Press Limited. 

Freeman, M.  (2008) Mastering Digital Photography.  East Sussex: The Ilex Press Limited.

Martin, B., et al.  (2009) Ultimate Field Guide to Photography.  Washington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society.

Steinmueller, U., Gulbins, J.  (2010) The Digital Photography Workflow Handbook – From Import to Output.  Heidelberg: Steinmueller Photo.

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