Exercise: Editing

Photograph editing is the process of choosing the best picture or pictures from all those you have taken. The pictures that are the closest to, or better than, the ones you imagined in your mind’s eye when using the camera. Editing involved also finding pictures that you thought had failed when you took them, but suddenly afterwards appear to work because of some chance or unexpected element. Editing has gradually acquired more than one meaning. It is sometimes known as ‘Processing’ which uses image editing software. With this exercise, the word Editing will be used with its original meaning. With editing images, you will be using a selection process in which the less-good images in a set are winnowed away to leave the best images. This is an essential and active part of the creative process, and is an extension of shooting.

As you shoot, there are many occasions when you will know perfectly well that some images, even of the exact same subject, are better than others. For example, perhaps you may find a camera angle or lighting, that looks better. This process of improving on an image you have already taken, is an important part of developing your photographic eye.

When you come to examine photographs you have taken, on the computer, you will then be expected to make a choice. The choice you make later, may not necessarily be the choice you made at the time of shooting.

In order to make sense of the many possibilities when faced with a set of images, it generally helps to follow a standard procedure. This procedure is not forced upon you to use, however, it is very useful and a very sound method. Once you have uploaded your images onto the computer, you would then want to use the following step by step method.

  1. The Technical Edit: Remove any images that are faulty or mistakes. Images which may be over or under exposed, out of focus or camera shake. Place these images into a separate folder.
  2. The Selects: Once you have removed any mistakes, you will be left with technically fine images. From these images, choose any images which satisfy you creatively. Place these images into another folder. These will be known as ‘The first selects’
  3. The First Selects: These are the group of images which you have decided are the best out of all of them. You must then look through the first select images, and choose approx. 4 images as final choice images. Place these images into a separate folder.
  4. Final Choice: You would have started off with a large amount of images. You should have whittled them down to a handful, and then chosen your 4 final images.
  5. Editing/Processing: My next choice would be to edit the final 4 images you have chosen. Use your image editing software. Once you have processed your images, you may not decide you want 4 as you final decision. You can then choose 2 as your completed final choices.

For this exercise, you could combine it with a previous one from this set of work. I decided to combine it with the first exercise, which was workflow 1, where I had to take portraits. I have explained and showed my workflow for this, however, I will explain it some more, especially the editing side for this particular exercise.

Step One: I began by uploaded all of the images I had shot, onto the computer. I created a new folder which was named and dated.

Transfered to computer

Step Two: (The Technical Edit) I then created a new folder, where I would then transfer any images which were obvious faults or mistakes.

Mistakes and Faults Image

Step Three: (The Selects) Once I had removed any faulty images, I was then left with images which were all technically fine. These I class as the selects.

The Selects

Step Four: (The First Selects) I then had to look trough the remaining technically fine images, and remove any images I decided were the best out of them. Ones which I could edit or process, and would make great final images. I place these into a new folder called The First Selects.

First Selects

Step Five: (Final Choice) From the first selects, I then had to narrow it down even more and choose approx. 4 images which were overall the best.

Final choice for editing

Step Six: (Un-Edited) I should then have my chosen 4 images which I can then start the process. I have included the images un edited as I want to explain how I edited them and why I chose the edit them the way I did.

IMG_4156IMG_4203IMG_4214IMG_4246

 

I decided that these would need processing/editing, as my model would need some re touching on the blemishes and marks on the face. I also wanted to convert them to Black and white portraits.

Step Seven: (Editing/Edited) I made 2 copies of each original image, as I wanted to see if I preferred the edited image in colour or black and white. I used Photoshop Elements 9 as my image editing software. I retouched all of the marks on my models face, on all of the images. I also made sure the brightness and contrast levels were ok. I cropped the full length image also, as I wanted to crop the stuff out of the picture on the right hand side. I made a colour and a black and white image. I used the same process for each image.

(Final Edited Colour Images)

1 Colour2 Colour4 Colour3 Colour

(Final Edited Black and White Images)

1 Black and white2 Black and white4 Black and white3 Black and white

Step Eight: (Finals) Once I had edited everything. I could then choose my 2 final images. I decided on these two.

1 Black and white2 Black and white

I decided on these two as I wanted black and white portraits. I find them more striking to look at. Once I had processed them and removed the blemishes etc, they came out really well. I was very pleased with the final results.

Overall Opinion:

Editing/processing images is a very interesting technique, and is quite fun to do. You have no limits what so ever when it comes to editing. You can change colour, backgrounds, lighting, hair colour, eye colour. The choice is yours, and that is what I like. In my opinion, as long as you stick to the procedure above, you should always end up with great looking final images. The rest is then up to you, such as editing (Using editing software). I enjoyed the editing exercise. I do still need to learn how to use my Photoshop elements 9 a lot better. I do read as many books as I can or tips online, however, I always forget how to do it once I am set loose on editing an image. This is the one thing I know I must learn and I will sit down one day and write down the tips I need.

 

 

References:

John Ingledew, Photography. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2005.

ISBN: 9781856694322

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Exercise: Histograms

As you have seen, workflow has a special importance in digital photography, because you are now in charge of the entire production of each image, from shooting to printing. A very useful indicator of how the images looks ‘Technically’, and how it will process, is the histogram, and becoming familiar with this will help a lot.

A histogram is simply a column graph. Pixel brightness is plotted from left to right, whilst the number of pixels of each level of brightness, are plotted vertically. The scale is the standard 8bit kind of 256 levels, and runs from 0 (Black) at the left hand side, to 255 (White) at the right hand side.

The purpose of this exercise is to increase your familiarity with histograms by relating each one to the image you have just shot. Histograms will appear twice in a normal workflow. The first time is on the cameras LCD screen, the second time is when the image is being processed. It is valuable to make use on both occasions.

For this exercise, you will need to find and shoot the three most basic categories of scene by contrast.

Low Contrast: Something which is flat in appearance, with a low dynamic range.

Average Contrast:

High Contrast: Something with a dynamic range greater than that of the camera.

For each of these picture situations, shoot not only an average exposed version, but also one that is approximately one f-stop darker, and one which is one f-stop brighter. This will therefore make 9 images in total.

As you shoot, make a point of checking the histogram as it appears on the cameras LCD screen.

The lower the contrast, (the flatter), the more the values are squeezed together in the histogram, whereas a high contrast image will be spread right across the histogram, right up to the edges. Varying the exposure will shift the bulk of the values either left with (Under Exposure) or right with (Over Exposure)

When you upload your images onto the computer. Open up your processing software. I will be using Photoshop Elements 9. And screen shot the histogram or any shadow clipping warnings that appear on the images. Write a note for each image and histogram, and explain how the histograms vary with exposure.

Low Contrast Image:

With this image, I noticed in the LCD screen, that the histogram showed it as being of Average Contrast as the histogram levels were mainly in the middle. However, when I looked at the final images here on the computer, they were infact of low contrast. The image is shot for low contrast (Not this), when I processed on here, showed it as being of average contrast. But I will discuss that below.

Average Exposure:

IMG_4400

Average Exposure

With the average exposed image. The histogram is almost level. It only touches the sides towards the black, mainly because the cat is fairly dark furred.

1 F/Stop Brighter:

IMG_4401

Fstop brighter

With the one f stop brighter, the histogram leans more towards the white, but the rest is still quite low.

1 F/Stop Darker:

IMG_4402

fstop darker

With the one f stop darker, the histogram is almost the same as the average exposed image. However, the mid tones have become higher and more towards the black.

Average Contrast Image:

When I was shooting this image, the histogram in the LCD screen showed this as being of low contrast. However, when processing, this was infact of average contrast.

Average Exposure:

IMG_4414

average contrast

The histogram for this image is quite central. It is touching part of the right hand side towards the white. I think this is due to the brightness towards the top of the image.

1 F/Stop Brighter:

IMG_4415

fstop brighter

The histogram shows that the bulk of it has moved towards the right hand side towards the white, simply because it is 1 f/stop brighter.

1 F/Stop Darker:

IMG_4416

fstop darker

The histogram here shows a dramatic change. The bulk of it shifts towards the left hand side into the black, and the amount of pixels has risen quite large.

High Contrast Image:

Average Exposure:

IMG_4409

average contrast

As you can see from this histogram, the levels are quite high, and there is a large bulk towards the black, left hand side.

1 F/Stop Brighter:

IMG_4410

fstop brighter

This bulk in the histogram has began moving more central.

1 F/Stop Darker:

IMG_4411

fstop darker

With the 1 stop darker, there is a sharp point, almost triangular bulk, on the right hand side by the black. The rest of the histogram has now smoothed out.

Overall opinion:

I have to admit, I had some issue with this exercise. I got quite annoyed because everything I chose to photograph, didn’t produce what I wanted it too in the histogram. I chose really detailed coloured items for the high contrast images and plain blank items for the low contrast images, however, they didn’t have the required results on the histogram. Therefore I had to use lighting to give me the desired effects.

The one thing I found quite odd was when I was photographing the cat, it showed on the LCD screen that it was of average exposure. The histogram showed most of the bulk in the middle of the histogram, and touching the sides, however, when processing it on here, it then showed that it was only just touching the sides, and was infact of low contrast as the histogram was quite rounded and smooth.

The union flag cushion was supposed to be the low contrast image, as like with the previous images I mentioned, when I looked in the LCD screen, the histogram showed everything being smooth, low and central, however, when I processed it on here, the histogram was stretched across the graph, touching the sides.

This exercise has definitely taught me that histograms are very important for making sure your images are correctly exposed. I have noticed that the histogram changes dramatically with just one movement of the camera, and the lighting. I have learnt to take more notice of what my histogram tells me, as even though the image may appear correct on the LCD screen, it may not look the same once processed. Histograms also show that sometimes, you may have to under or over expose your image by one f./stop, in order to produce the correct exposure. I will definitely read up more on histograms, as I did have some trouble using them, and I would like to re assure myself some more, so I can take advantage of them in the future.

 

 

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:
Editing
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.
Editing
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.

Exercise: Your Own Workflow (Part One)

The main goal for this exercise is to devise and then put into practice, a workflow that suits you personally, for a specific short assignment.

You have been asked to make this exercise a short portrait session, which will be limited in time. For this, you will need to find a suitable location and a model. You must then begin considering different poses for your model. They could vary in scale, from head shots, head and shoulder shots, three-quarter length shots to full length shots.

The important thing to remember when devising your workflow, is to remember that you will be taking a large number of images in a concentrated period of time. You should plan your work flow in advance and write it down as a flow chart. Follow this workflow for this exercise, however, you are able to depart from it if you find it restrictive or if you decide that your workflow has shortcomings.

When you have finished your shoot, write a short assessment of how suitable your planned workflow chart was. Say whether or not it helped you or if it needs some adaptation.

The editing or selection process will happen later, when you will examine the entire shoot on the computer. You will then look at images which contain the best facial expression, poses etc.

I will be dividing my workflow chart into three stages.

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

Pre Photo Shoot image

During Photo Shoot Image

Post photo shoot image

Before I began taking any portrait shots, I decided to research more into portrait photography, and research some well known portrait photographers, in order for me to gain more knowledge, which would hopefully influence my portraits. Whilst studying photography at A-Level, I was aware of the well known portrait photographers, as I have previously researched their work before, however, I wanted to go back and look over their work again, so I could pick up some ‘tips’ with poses or lighting, which I could incorporate into my work.

Taken from Photography by John Ingledew, Some photographers have a passion for people and a fascination for faces. Their natural subject is the portrait, but what makes a photograph of someone a portrait? A portrait attempts to express the character of a person and pin down the sitter in the hierarchy of their world, socially and physically, showing status, authority and significance. A portrait offers insight into a person beyond the details of appearance, revealing unknown sides of his or her character or showing a fresh perspective on someone we know well.

In today’s society, almost no one blinks an eye at having their portrait photograph taken.  Taken from Photography The Key Concepts, by David Bate, While we may not like the look of our face on a passport photograph or identity card, we do readily recognize the importance of ‘looking right’ on those occasions were pictures matter personally. How we look to friends and family in photographs matter, especially in social rituals like weddings, birthday celebrations, religious ceremonies, vacation trips and meeting people on the Internet. This is because we know they are part of how people see each other.

Portrait photographs are typically made up of four key elements.

  • The Face: This includes facial expressions, Hair, Smile, Make Up. – Personal Appearance.

The expression on a face in portraiture is crucial and can exert a considerable impact on how a portrait signifies meaning. An expression can have a dramatic impact, even with the slightest movement of the eyes or the mouth. The mouth is read as smiling, sad, angry, gaping, pouting etc. Eyes can seem alive, glaring, seductive etc. Facial expression can also indicate a certain mood that the persona is feeling, such as anger, sadness, frustration, melancholy, happy and joyful. However, the face it seems, is something to trust and distrust. Someone looking downwards might be showing piety or sadness, modesty or shyness, an example of this can be seen in portraits of Diana Princess of Wales, taken by photographer Mario Testino.

Mario Testino Princess Diana of Wales Portrait, Vanity Fair Magazine.

Diana, Princess of Wales, London, Vanity Fair 1997. By Mario Testino

tumblr_mm06gnhfiX1rnfvefo2_1280

Diana, Princess of Wales, London, Vanity Fair 1997. By Mario Testino

Whether the subject is smiling or frowning, looking happy or sad, we know that these are ‘expressions’ and are not necessarily a fixed state of being. Yet, for us the viewers of these portraits, we may still try to read beyond these surface characteristics, simply because we know hey are not a permanent state of the subject. They are temporary or are even merely masks.

  • Pose: The subjects manner and attitude in the photograph

The pose of the sitter within a portrait photograph, is itself a visual argument, a form of rhetoric. The sitter may be standing upright, slumped in a chair, thinking, stern folded arms, laughing, hands on hips, such postures are ‘read’ in combination. It is the job of the photographer to spot or direct these combinations and poses, in order to understand and control what they signify together within that portrait.

Similar to the facial expressions within a portrait, the pose of the subject can also be misleading or untruthful. An ‘upright’ pose for example, may suggest that the subject is an ‘upright citizen’, although it could just mean that the subject is self conscious about being photographed. These characteristics are sometimes social and at other times psychological and to do with mood, or a combination of both. How a person carries their body, posture and conveys it in gesture, can be read as ’embodying’ their psychological  attitude.

  • Clothing and Accessories: Social class, Sex, Cultural values, Fashion and Trends

Clothing, or its absence, and the various accessories that go with it, for example, hats, jewellery, scarves, handbags, all contribute to the rhetoric of the portrait. Clothes can indicate a great deal about someone’s social identity and how they relate to it, in their pose. A uniform for example, can make it easily distinguishable between a doctor or nurse, someone in the military, a police officer or fireman.

Denim jeans, invented in America, can signify a ‘causal dress code’. They have become universal in value for being practical, hard wearing, worker quality. The body itself is caught up in the rhetoric of clothing as difference. Which part of the body is covered or uncovered, clothed or unclothed is crucial in fashion. Roland Bathes, for example, argued that fashion, eroticism, is located in the gap of clothes, the parts of the body that are revealed by fashion clothing. Each year, the fashion moves around, to emphasize different parts of the body. Cleavage for example, highlights or hints as to what is concealed within the garment.

  • Location: Will it be taken on a plain background, Coloured background, Textured background, Social scene, In front of buildings, On the street etc.

The setting or background behind the sitter, whether in a studio or an everyday exterior or interior location, provides a context for the sitter. The location literally locates the sitter within a social place, and we as the viewers judge their position accordingly. Portraits set in studios or locations, allow a range of contexts, The Home can be  (Posing in front of it, doing domestic work, relaxing, leisure time, gardening) The Workplace can be ( Industry, trade, profession, working).

Different types of portraiture, we might call them sub-genres, vary their emphasis on each of these components. Each element affects another in the overall potential for meaning. For example, a passport photograph is usually taken in front of a plain white background. The background serves as a way to make the face stand out, in order for the facial area to be scrutinized. With the combination of these key elements, the portrait photograph provides the aesthetic and rhetorical form from which the demands arises that the viewer reads the picture.

Eve Arnold.

 

Eve Arnold, an American photojournalist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. She began photographing in 1946, whilst working at a photo finishing plant in New York City. She studied photography in 1948 with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Arnold first became associated with Magnum Photos in 1951, and became a full member in 1957. She quotes
“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument. ”

She is well known for photographing iconic figures, such as Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II and Malcolm X. However, she also documented the lives of the poor, migrant workers and even protests. Taken from Marilyn Monroe, An Appreciation by Eve Arnold, Over a ten year period, from the early 1950’s until shortly before Marilyn Monroe’s death, the years in which she went from virtual anonymity to super stardom, photographer Eve Arnold had six photo sessions with her. The shortest was two hours: the longest continued for two months during the filming of The Misfits. Arnold and Monroe developed a strong friendship that was based on the camera, and now, our of the countless photographs she took, Arnolds has chosen those that most clearly reveal the Marilyn she came to know, a woman with imperfections and problems, and a daunting public image to sustain, but who was also possessed of humour, warmth and a formidable shrewdness. The result is in this book, composed of seventy two photographs, most of which have never been seen before, that given an exceptional insightful view into what being photographed meant to Monroe, as well as what it was like to photograph her.

In her rich, perceptive text, the author explains what she saw through the lens: The savvy with which Marilyn approached being photographed, moving, posing and composing herself, with am instinctual understanding and love of the camera’s eye.

Her most well known photographs of Monroe, are those whilst she was on the set of the film ‘The Misfits’ in 1961. Magnum Photos arranged for the exclusive rights to all still photographs on the film. Therefore, Magnum Photos were permitted to take photographs not only during filming, but for any picture stories the actors might agree to do away from the location. The first two Magnum Photographers to photograph the film was Henri Cartier-Bresson and Igne Morath. Monroe flirted and played up to Cartier-Bresson, but was simple and sweet to Morath. Cartier-Bresson left a taped interview about Marilyn and his experience with The Misfits, he quotes “ I saw her bodily, Marilyn, for the first time and I was struck as by an apparition in a fairy tale. Well, she’s beautiful, anybody can notice this, and she represents a certain myth of what we call in France ‘La Femme Eternelle’. On the other hand, there’s something extremely alert and vivid in her, an intelligence. It’s her personality, it’s a glance, it’s something very tenuous, very vivid, that disappears quickly, that appears again. You see, it’s all of these elements of her beauty and also her intelligence that makes the actress not only a model but a real woman expressing herself”.

The Misfits

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1. Marilyn Monroe on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

In my opinion, this photograph shows Monroe as being very vulnerable. Her eyes show some sort of sadness, and it seems as though she was caught unaware when this photograph was taken. She looks tired. This isn’t a ‘Posed’ or ‘Staged’ portrait, this is a genuine photograph of Monroe and shows her real expression, not a put on one.

marilynmonroeproject-2009062112204-aab-original

2. Marilyn Monroe, on the Nevada desert during the filming of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

I also believe this is was a photograph of Monroe, taken as she was unawares. Her pouting expression is very cheeky and appears to be an almost fast response to being caught unaware by the camera.

tumblr_lv6jg0ryKL1r1w31so1_1280

3. Marilyn Monroe on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

I believe this appears to be a photograph taken whilst Monroe was acting, however, if we as viewers didn’t know that she was acting in this photograph, you would honestly believe that she was photographed whilst genuinely being upset. Being in monochrome, Arnold has taken away any distractions of colour and background, and has enabled us as the viewers to focus more on Monroe’s facial expression and emotion.

tumblr_m6244vFNJd1qizogqo1_1280

4. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. Los Angeles, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

I really like this photograph. Again, keeping it in monochrome, Arnold has made Monroe’s black dress almost disappear into the background. Monroe’s pale skin jumps out of the dark surroundings, and you as the viewer are drawn into her smile. It does feel like a staged portrait photograph, however, she does look comfortable.

lacrymosa-2009060625311-img1095798640-original

5. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. Los Angeles, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

This is an unusual portrait photograph, a unique composition. Photographing Monroe from behind is interesting as she is a famous actress and you would assume that everyone wants to see her face on, however, Arnold has chosen to photograph her semi naked, exposing Monroe, making her vulnerable and ‘real’. Roland Bathes argued that fashion and eroticism is located in the parts of the body that are revealed by clothing. Therefore, for some, this can be seen as being very erotic or provocative, however, I believe this is a very revealing and exposing photograph.

Arnold has managed to capture Monroe laughing at someone towards the side of the frame, making this photograph less serious and more mischievous, yet still keeping the sexual element with her being semi naked.

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6. Marilyn Monroe, on the set of  ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

This appears to be a photograph taken whilst Monroe was not filming, but taking a break. It is a very fun photograph and Monroe seems to genuinely be happy. She doesn’t appear to be looking directly at the lens, and there seems to be something blocking the frame on the left hand side. It is as though Arnold either snapped this photograph quickly with Monroe unaware, hence why something has been accidently included in the frame, or someone may have walked into the shot. But why not remove the distraction? Perhaps Arnold wanted to keep the mistake in the shot, in order to show that this was a genuine portrayal of the real Monroe, and by removing it, could be seen as manipulation, thus leading to the question as to whether or not Monroe was her genuine self at this moment in time when this photograph was taken, or if she was posing for the camera.

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7. Marilyn Monroe, Resting between takes during a photographic studio session, Filming The Misfits. Hollywood, USA, 1960. Eve Arnold

This in my opinion is a photograph which shows the real Monroe. Sleeping or resting whilst naked is an intimate thing, and by allowing Arnold to photograph her, Monroe must have felt comfortable. Being comfortable with each other, means that Monroe didn’t have to play up to or pose in front of the camera, whilst Arnold was photographing her. She could be herself.

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8. Marilyn Monroe, on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold

This again appears to be a photograph taken of Monroe whilst she was unaware. However, she appears to be looking off into the distance. Perhaps looking at fellow actors on the set. Or perhaps she was looking off into the surroundings of the desert. We will never know what Monroe was looking out to, and I think that is what makes this a lovely photograph. Arnold has used a head shot, to draw as much focus to Monroe’s facial expression. With this photograph, we as viewers want to know what she was looking at, at the time this was shot, and how she was feeling, because she appears to be happy.

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9. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. California. Los Angeles. USA, 1960. Eve Arnold

In regards to this photograph, an outstretched hand is adjusting Monroe’s hairstyle, as she glances back towards the camera for reassurance. In 1960, stardom was just beginning to be looked on as a contrivance and as an affront to personality. Monroe was interpreted at the time to be as both a victim of that system and also as a representative. In 1962, she protested, ” I do not consider myself a kind of merchandise but I am sure that many people do not see anything else in me… That is what annoys me: A sex symbol becomes an object. I hate being an object” Unlike the colour version of this photograph above, Monroe appears to be nervous and concerned in this photograph, even though you can’t see her full expression due to the hand being in the way. Perhaps she was nervous and looked back for reassurance from Arnold to make sure that she looked ok or was sat in the right way. Who knows, perhaps the assistant made her laugh to steady her nerves, hence why she is laughing in the colour version of this photograph.

I have always loved Arnold’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe, and I myself own a few prints of them. I particularly love the black and white portraits of Monroe, as I feel that black and white portraits remove any distractions caused by the colours of the clothing and backgrounds, allowing you to concentrate more on the persons facial expression and body language. Arnold’s photographs of Monroe, show her in a way that people had never seen her before. The private side to Monroe. We as the viewers get to see Monroe behind the scenes at film sets, and her personal life. Arnold was able to capture Monroe’s emotions in her photographs, extremely well. I have noticed that Arnold photographs not only full length shots of Monroe, but also shoots a lot of head shots or half body shots. With head shots and half body shots, you are able to see the Monroe’s facial expressions better and are therefore able to see any emotion in Monroe’s eyes, especially in the photographs, 1&3 of Marilyn Monroe on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold. These two photographs have an almost hidden story behind them, and you wonder what Monroe was looking at, or thinking at the time these photographs were taken.

In regard to the photographs Number 2, Number 6 and Number 7, You can really tell that Monroe felt comfortable around Arnold. Monroe shows her personality in these photographs, and doesn’t seem to be ‘posing’ for the camera or film, she seems to be portraying her normal self. This is something I definitely want to capture in my portraits. I don’t want my photographs to show my model being un comfortable. I will take some tips from Arnold’s work and try to incorporate it into my portraits.

Bert Stern.

 

Bert Stern was a well known, self taught, American commercial photographer. He worked on portrait photography, as well as fashion photography. He too has photographed many iconic figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Madonna. His most famous series of photographs, was that of Marilyn Monroe. He published the book ‘The Last Sitting’ in 1982, which included 2,500 photographs, which had been commissioned for Vogue, of Monroe, which had been taken over a 3 day period, only 6 weeks before her death. Stern quotes ” … recounted being enchanted by Monroe until a near-intimate encounter after the second day of shooting; he then realized that she was deeply troubled” The collection also includes the contact sheets, with images Monroe had disliked and crossed out.

Stern quotes “I took audacious pictures that got people to want things,”

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1. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

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2. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

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3. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

Stern’s portraits of Monroe, are different to those taken by Eve Arnold. Stern has captured Monroe flirting with the camera, she playfully taunts us the viewers, with the jewellery. She is in other words, posing for the camera. Unlike several of Arnold’s photographs, where  Monroe has been captured unawares. She looks ‘happy’ in the photographs above, however, as mentioned previously at the beginning of this exercise, just because someone is smiling, doesn’t meant that this is how they are feeling. Smiles can be false and put on, just like a frown or a pouting expression.

However, similar to Arnold’s photographs 9. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions, and 7. Marilyn Monroe, Resting between takes during a photographic studio session, Stern has managed to capture Monroe in the portraits below, looking very vacant and sad. I have seen Stern’s portraits of Monroe very frequently, and I have to admit, I felt a different feeling when looking at his portraits, to those that were taken by Eve Arnold. Monroe is obviously posing for the camera, and has probably been told how to position her hands and arms, and where to look, by Stern. However, her facial expressions and her eyes, show tiredness, sadness and she has a vacant stare. It’s almost as though she was ‘Going through the motions’, posing and smiling for the camera, but there was no life or feeling in her eyes.

I don’t believe that this is an emotion or an expression that someone can falsify nor ‘put on’. I genuinely believe that he has captured just how she was feeling at that moment in her life. We must remember that these portraits were taken only 6 weeks prior to Monroe’s death.

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1. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

Similarly to Eve Arnold’s portrait, 4. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions, Stern has chosen to photograph Monroe against a simple, plain background. The choice for Monroe to wear this beautiful black dress can be seen to show her somewhat in mourning. Especially in photograph 2. Choosing to convert these portraits to monochrome was a good idea, as I believe that monochrome portraits enable the emotion from the sitter, to show through more. You are less distracted by colours or patterns in the clothing or make up, thus meaning that you can focus more on the facial expressions and posture. The black dress can be seen to be used in order to remove distractions from any pattern or colour, and the largeness of the black dress, helps to frame her, and guides our eye line up towards her face, in order for us to view her facial expressions.

 

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2. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

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3. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

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4. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

I find these colour portraits, very ‘retro’, especially with the colour saturation. I prefer Stern’s monochrome portraits, to these colour portraits. With both of these colour portraits, you can see similarities between her expressions in the monochrome photographs. Even with these photographs, Monroe seems to be vacant and sad.

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5. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

Stern included the contact sheets, which included photographs that had been crossed out by Monroe herself. Unlike digital photographs, where you can make The technical edit. (Remove any images which are faulty), The Selects and The First Selects, on your computer and processing software, Stern’s technical edits and selections were done on the contact sheets, in order for Monroe to ‘see’ all of the photographs taken during the photo shoot. In the photographs below, you can see that Monroe crossed out numerous amounts of photographs that were taken during this photo shoot. But why did Monroe cross out so many? What did she find wrong with these portraits? Unfortunately, we will never know.

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1. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Crossed out contact sheets. Bert Stern.

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2. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Crossed out contact sheets. Bert Stern.

Stern, like Arnold, uses a variety of head shots, 3/4 shots, and full length shots. However, the more striking are those that are the head or 3/4 shots. He also uses colour photographs, as well as monochrome. I like both, however, similarly to Arnold’s, my personal preference are his monochrome portraits.

David Bailey

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Photographer David Bailey

David Bailey is regarded as one of the ‘Nation’s best’ photographers. Bailey is a well known British fashion and portrait photographer. He was contracted to British Vogue in the 1960′s. During the 60′s, Bailey undertook a large amount of freelance work, where he socialised with celebrities, royalty, rock stars and many more. In 1964/1965, he produced a ‘Box’ of portraits, called Box of Pin-Ups. The box contained poster prints of  well known, famous individuals, such as Andy Warhol, Terence Stamp, The Beatles, Mick Jagger and The Kray Twins.

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Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

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The Beatles. Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

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The Kray Brothers. Reggie Kray (Left) Ronnie Kray (Right). Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

With the portrait of the Kray Brothers, I notice that Bailey photographs them standing ‘upright’. As mentioned above, when a photographer shoots a portrait with the person standing ‘upright’, they could be suggesting that the model is an ‘upright citizen’, or because they feel uncomfortable being photographed. I feel that this statement is completely wrong in regards to the Kray Brothers portrait. The Kray Brothers were well known gangsters and criminals, how then can they be represented as being upright citizens?

Bailey photographs a half body shot, and at an angle. He somewhat positions them going down in size height wise. Perhaps he knowingly did this to suggest where the ‘power’ was in each specific individual. With their military like poses, arms behind their backs, they appear to be powerful and not to be messed with. With theses poses and the positioning of them in this photograph, Reggie Kray on the left appears to be the more dominant one, whereas Ronnie Kray on the right appears to be less dominant.

This can also be seen in the portrait below. It reminds me of a ‘selfie’. Ronnie Kray in the foreground, with the more dominant Reggie Kray looking over his shoulder, as if to ‘Keep an eye’ out.

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The Kray Brothers, Reggie Kray (Left), Ronnie Kray (Right). Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

 

One noticeable element of Bailey’s portraits, is that he converts them all to monochrome. By doing so, he removes any distractions caused by colours and patterns, enabling us the viewers, to concentrate more on the subjects body language, poses and facial expressions, texture, details and shapes also become more sharper and defined, enabling you to see things that would have been missed in a colour portrait. In my opinion you are able to read a monochrome portrait better than a colour portrait. Similarly to Eve Arnold and Bert Stern, Bailey uses a mixture of head shots, 3/4 shots and full length shots, however, he uses the head shots or 3/4 more than full length. Another striking thing with his portraits, is that not many, if only a handful, contain the model smiling. The rest seem to show the model stern faced. I wonder if Bailey preferred them not to be smiling, or whether it was down to the certain individual to decide how they wanted to ‘express’ themselves.

 Overall Opinion:

After researching a few photographers, I have taken note and some tips of what I can include if possible, in my portraits. As with all three, I prefer the way they stick to head or 3/4 shots. In my opinion, this is what I first think of when I think of a portrait. With a portrait, I think of it being focused on the face more than anything, that way you can see the facial expressions  clearer. I prefer monochrome portraits the most as in my opinion, they are classic and elegant. With the removal of colour, you remove any distractions, enabling texture, details, shapes and the models facial expressions and poses to become clearer.
Therefore, I will shoot my portraits in colour. During the selection process, I will look through them and decide on the photographs I want to use, then I will use the  processing software Photoshop or Lightroom, in order to convert my photographs.
Exercise Overview:
After doing my photographer research, and writing up 3 work flow charts, I then had to decide on a location and a model in order for me to take my portraits.
I had arranged with a friend that she would allow me to take the photographs of her. We decided to shoot the photographs at her house, as the weather had been nothing but rain for over a month, and we didn’t want to shoot in the rain. This way, if we shot in her house, if the rain stopped, we could always take the shoot outside into her garden, as she has a large garden which would be great.
I decided on at least 2 hours for this shoot, as I had to allow myself time to set up all of the equipment, set the lighting etc.
Unfortunately, my model let me down that morning, so I was panicking. Most of my other friends were at work or University, and were un able to model for me. I managed to convince my Cousin into being my model. It was very last minute, and as I would be taking the photographs in the evening, rather than in the morning, I knew the photographs would have to be taken indoors. Thankfully, I have a mini studio kit, so I was able to assemble the back drop and lighting in his house. I decided to use a soft box light, as this would give a soft lighting to my portraits, and the lighting wouldn’t be too harsh on my model’s face, and would give an overall smooth skin tone.
With regards to the workflow charts, I managed to stick to the pre photo shoot work flow chart very well. However, with regards to the posing, I had to brief my Cousin a few minutes before we had to shoot the photographs. I also had to direct him during the shoot. It was quite a challenge, as teenage boys don’t really enjoy posing in front of the camera.
The other workflow charts were very easy to stick to as I usually do these things when shooting anyway.
I kept checking the images during the shoot. I could tell that some were over or under exposed, so I moved the lighting and positioned him  another way. I also changed some of the settings on my camera in order to accommodate for this.
Below are the results of the photo shoot.
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 Image
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.
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 4. This way, I could edit them all, and pick my favourite 2 final images from there.
Final choice for editing
Step 6:
Editing
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.
Photoshop
1 Colour 1 Black and white
2 Colour 2 Black and white
3 Colour 3 Black and white
4 Colour 4 Black and white
Step 7:
Final Images
These are the two final images I have chosen.
1 Black and white
2 Black and white
Overall Opinion:
I really enjoyed this exercise. Even though I was let down at the very last minute, I managed to pull it off. I think that had something to do with the pre planning and workflow charts. I was therefore able to know everything that needed to be done and was fully prepared, all I then needed was to find a model at very short notice, which thankfully I was able to do, and with the workflow charts already set up, I was able to start the photo shoot with no worries.
I am very pleased with my final results. Using inspiration gained whilst researching the photographers Eve Arnold, Bert Stern and David Bailey, I was able to pre-visualise how I wanted my portraits to look. My photographs have come out very well. I prefer the monochrome portraits, and shooting closer head shots or 3/4 shots have worked much better than the full length shots as was able to show more detail, texture and shape, especially in the facial area.
Because my model wasn’t very keen on posing much, I ended up with a batch of straight faced images. They remind me a lot of David Bailey’s Box of Pin up portraits. However, I do like them.
I must admit that I need more practice using processing software in order to convert my photographs to monochrome. It is easy to do, however, I need to learn how to make the tone of the skin better, more realistic. I am hoping that this course will help guide me and teach me how to use processing software and techniques, in order to make my adjustments better.
This exercise has taught me that using workflow charts are essential. They enable you to plan everything. By doing so, you are able to act quickly if anything happens like with me loosing the model last minute. You know that if you stick to the chart, you wont forget anything important. I must admit, I haven’t used workflow charts until now. On some occasions, I have taken my camera out and found that the battery wouldn’t last all day due to it not being charged enough, or there isn’t enough space on my memory card. Using a work flow chart now, prepares me, and I make sure that my batteries are charged, and that I have enough memory cards and lenses.
References:

John Ingledew, Photography. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2005. Telling the story of war, Pages 28-37

ISBN: 9781856694322

Photography: The Key Concepts. David Bate. Bloomsbury, London 2009.

Pages 67-80.

ISSN:1747-6550

ISBN:978-1-8452-0667-3

The Photograph, Graham Clarke. Oxford University Press, London 1997. Page 101

ISBN: 9780192842008

Diana, Princess of Wales, London, Vanity Fair 1997. By Mario Testino.

Arnold, Eve.

Marilyn Monroe, An Appreciation by Eve Arnold. Hamish Hamilton, London 1987.

ISBN: 024112381x

The Photography Book, Phaidon Press Limited, London 1997. Eve Arnold, Page27

ISBN: 071483937x

http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&ALID=2K7O3R14TARD#/SearchResult&ALID=2K7O3R14TARD&VBID=2K1HZSQFB43VQ&PN=1Marilyn

1. Monroe on the set of ‘The Misfits’, USA. Nevada 1960. Eve Arnold.

2.  Marilyn Monroe, on the Nevada desert during the filming of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

3. Marilyn Monroe on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

4. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. Los Angeles, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

5. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. Los Angeles, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

6. Marilyn Monroe, on the set of  ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold.

7. Marilyn Monroe, Resting between takes during a photographic studio session, Filming The Misfits. Hollywood, USA, 1960. Eve Arnold

8. Marilyn Monroe, on the set of ‘The Misfits’, Nevada, USA 1960. Eve Arnold

9. Marilyn Monroe, Studio Sessions. California. Los Angeles. USA, 1960. Eve Arnold

Stern, Bert.

1. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

2. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

3. Marilyn Monroe, From “The Last Sitting,” 1962 (Diamonds). Bert Stern.

1. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

2. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

3. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

4. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

5. Marilyn Monroe: From “The Last Sitting” 1962. Bert Stern.

Bailey, David.

Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

The Beatles. Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

The Kray Brothers. Box of Pin-Ups, 1965. David Bailey.

Project: A Sequence of Actions

The idea of a workflow is relatively new in photography, and what has stimulated it is digital procedure. There are now far more steps in getting from the point of shooting to the final print or web gallery than there ever were even in film photography.

These ‘Steps’ need to be ordered. How this gets done depends on the type of photography you undertake, and on how you personally prefer to work.

At the heart of this idea, is that the photographer is in control of every aspect of this shooting process, from preparing to shoot, to presenting the finished images.

Especially important is the need to integrate the mechanical side of photography with the various procedures on the computer. Software is needed. Software requires you to learn a new set of skills in order to make the most effective use of it.

The various steps in a typical photographic workflow include:

  • Preparation: Check all of your equipment. Lenses, Fully charged batteries, Memory cards, Computer hard drive etc.
  • Camera Settings: White balance, ISO, Aperture, Shutter speed etc
  • Shooting: Location, Model if needed, Weather, Transport etc.
  • Uploading Images: Memory cards to the computer hard drive
  • Technical Check on your Images: Making sure they are all ‘Technically’ ok. Any images with outright mistakes to be deleted.
  • Ordering, Numbering, Naming the images
  • Editing: Edit the images which are technically correct
  • Choice: Choose the final selects of images ready for final processing.
  • Processing: Retouching etc
  • Archive, Save, Print

The above is not the necessary order in which to perform these actions. Customize your own workflow depending on how you like to work.