Exercise: Your Own Workflow (Part Two)

The aim and structure of this exercise is, as for the previous one, devising a particular workflow for a specific shooting assignment. The difference, however, is that this assignment should be unstructured and open-ended. A possible subject might be street photography, or recording a weekend trip or part of a holiday. The key elements to this workflow are:

  • The number of images is unpredictable. but probably many
  • It lasts for a sufficient amount of time that you would want to consider reviewing and at least particularly editing some of the images during the shoot, rather than waiting until the end.

As before, plan and write the workflow in advance, then assess it later. How well did you anticipate the needs of the various stages, from photography, to downloading, to the selection process, saving and editing. Did the practice of undertaking the assignment, lead you to any new conclusions about workflow charts? I decided I would try to photograph and capture the lives of my cats over the weekend. I began by making 3 work flow charts, like with the previous exercise.

  • Pre Photo Shoot
  • During the photo shoot
  • Post photo shoot

Pre shoot During shoot Post photo shoot image

Exercise Overview:

After writing out my workflow charts. I already knew that I wanted to capture what my cats got up to during the weekend. I chose this because my cats are very curious, very expressive, and on occasions, don’t mind posing for the camera. The weather had been awful for the past month or so. It has been nothing but rain or extremely cold weather. This meant that I would have to photograph them during the day, inside the house, unless, at some point, there was a day with no rain.

My workflow charts were different from the workflow charts I had used for the previous portrait exercise. For this exercise, I had to accommodate for the fact that I was inside (Unless the rain stopped), the lighting would constantly be changing, so I would have to always check the lighting, and photographing animals would be quite difficult, as they don’t stay still for long, which meant, I would have to use a fast shutter speed. I also would be unable to make my cats pose in a certain way, or stand where I tell them too, which I could do with a human model.

I wrote the charts up, but truthfully, I didn’t think they would work that well. Especially the ‘During’ workflow chart, simply because of the problems above. With this exercise, I knew that I would have to keep my camera with me at all time, simply because, I couldn’t plan what my cats would do, so keeping a camera near by, enabled me to seize the moment and photograph them at any time.

I took into consideration that I could review the photographs I was taking throughout the course of the weekend, and re shoot or take different photographs, as this was mentioned in the exercise. I began by shooting as many photographs that I could whenever the cats were asleep, playing or looking at the camera. The ones which were blurred or faulty, I deleted straight away and re shot them again. I also had to constantly check the lighting and shutter speed, as the cats would not stop moving, which would then end up resulting in a completely blurred image. However, by changing the settings etc, I was able to take better photographs.

Thankfully on only ONE day….. It stopped raining. One cat decided she would go out and explore, which meant, I followed. I did manage to get some good photographs of her. The other 2 decided to stay inside as it was still too cold. I don’t really blame them. I did end up with a large amount of photographs, however, not all of them were 100% and had to be deleted or put into the faulty/mistake folder. This meant I had quite a few images to go through. Below are the results:

Step 1:
Transferring images to the computer
I began by opening up a new folder on the computer, so I could transfer the new images directly into the named folder. I took the SD Memory card out of the camera. I used my SD card reader, in order to transfer the images onto my computer, and into the named folder.
Transfered to computer
Step 2:
The technical edit. (Remove any images which are faulty)
I opened up a new folder, then proceeded to look through the photographs. I removed any that were obvious mistakes or were faulty. I moved them to the new folder.
Mistakes and Faults
Step 3:
The Selects.
After removing any faulty images, I was then left with the set of images which are known as ‘The selects’
The selects
Step 4:
The First Selects
I then had to choose a handful of images which I felt were the best.
The First Selects
Step 5:
A final choice
Out of the first selects. I then had to choose only 2 or 3 images for the final. Images which I could then edit ( I use Photoshop Elements 9) I couldn’t choose 2, so I decided to choose 5. This way, I could edit them all, and pick my favourite 2 or 3 final images from there.
final choice for editing
Step 6:
I made a copy of each image I had chosen for the final edit. I use Photoshop Elements 9 for my editing. I took each colour photograph and removed any blemishes, enhanced the lighting etc. Once they were done and saved, I then did the same again, but changed them to black and white, and then again, but changed them to a sepia colouring.
1 colour1 black and white1 Sepia
2 Colour2 Black and white2 Sepia
3 colour3 black and white3 Sepia
4 colour4 black and white4 Sepia
5 colour5 black and white5 Sepia
Step 7: Final Images
These are the three final images I have chosen.
1 Sepia
5 Sepia
4 black and white
Overall Opinion:
Truthfully, I found this exercise more difficult than the previous workflow exercise. With this one, even though I had a longer amount of time to take photographs, and I was able to re shoot images, I still found it tough as working with animals is more challenging than working with humans. I did expect this, especially when I was writing out the workflow charts for this exercise. I knew that with animals, I would be unable to tell them where to stand, or how to pose, or where to look. I also couldn’t plan when they would do something cute or funny, which meant I had to keep my camera near me at all times.
Therefore, the workflow charts did work somewhat. With the pre shoot and post shoot, that was simple and easy to follow. However, with the during workflow chart, I did somewhat manage to follow it. I always had to keep changing the shutter speeds and settings, as the cat would move, causing a blur, so choosing the faster speed would capture it quicker, yet I then had difficulty with the lighting and camera shake etc. So overall, I did have challenges. I therefore took a lot of photographs as they were over or under exposed, blurred, shaky, or out of focus. However, I was able to look through them, delete the mistakes, and try again, which I couldn’t do with the previous timed exercise.
I also found it difficult as one cat did nothing but sleep, as you can see from one of my final images. The other cat was the more expressive one, and I managed to capture some lovely photographs of her in the garden, and the third cat also did nothing but sleep, so trying to photograph cats who wanted to do nothing but sleep because of the weather, was also quite annoying as having a huge amount of sleeping cat images, wouldn’t be great for my final choices.
Even so, I am pleased with the final choice images. I decided to choose 3 final images, as I wanted one of each cat. I couldn’t choose just one or two and leave the others out. I also thought that converting the images to black and white or a sepia tone helped create more striking final images.
From this exercise, I have learnt that working with animals is much different to working with humans. The workflow charts are noticeably different for both. With a human model, I found it easier to follow the workflow charts, as everything was set out, human models listen to what you say or want them to do, whereas working with animals is completely different. The workflow charts must adjust for the fact that they move a lot, don’t listen to commands, do as they please, and you have to accommodate for this and realistically just photograph them as they go about their business. With that, I had to change shutter speed a lot, lighting settings etc quite a lot. It actually worked out quite well, and even though I didn’t tell them to sit still or pose, they simply decided to do it on their own on a few occasions, which meant I was left with some really lovely photographs.

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