Category Archives: Part 1 – Workflow

Exercise: Editing

For this exercise I am to start with a set of recently taken images (at least 50) all covering the same theme. I then have to follow five steps:

Step 1:

Take out any images that are obviously faulty i.e out of focus, camera shake or under exposed. Tag them/flag them. I normally flag these images red.

Step 2:

Among the remaining images, all technically fine, I need to make an initial selection that satisfy me creatively. (These will be flagged orange)

Step 3:

Work within these selects to chose the several best. These are my ‘first selects’ Make a brief note to explain why I prefer it. (These will be flagged green.)

Step 4:

Take a break from the process and return with a refreshed eye. Put the first selects together and review my choice. Go back to the other images left out and confirm my choice.

Step 5:

Imagine that there is the possibility of just two being selected for publication. Choose only two from the first selects, and write down my reasons for choosing them.

This is the process that I live by when editing photographs. I have a flagging system of red, orange and green; red for horrendous, orange for possible and finally green for definite. I’ve subconsciously been doing this for some time now, ever since I really got into photography.

I’m pushed on time as I want to get stuck into my first assignment for this module so i’ve decided to use a previous shoot.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.44.54

Above is the first step – i’ve labeled my album and copied all files over. at this point i will remove any that aren’t up to par. (Sometimes as mentioned above I will flag these red)

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.49.57

Once i’ve gone through the entire album I then flag green for definite and orange for possible.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 10.50.37

I then remove (remove from folder, not delete!) all others and focus solely on my selected pics.

I focussed on these shots as they have nice compositions, the camera settings are good, and in my opinion they have interesting subjects.

The exercise calls for me to return with a refreshed eye and observe my selection again, only this time I must whittle it down to only 2 images.

Cannes view

I chose this pic as I love the high viewpoint. I used a wide angle lens to fit as much in as possible. The subject is of a private gated harbour just outside of Cannes.

palm tree

I really like the gradual fade of the sky in this pic. Palm trees have a wonderful shape, and I like the contrast of blue and green here.

I think its very important to take a break while editing photos and to return and re-assess. Sometimes you can examine so many pictures that it is easy to get swallowed up and get confused.

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Exercise 2: Your own workflow part 2

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 of this for the workflow are:

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

Personally I prefer a less rigid workflow when it comes to street photography as you can take your time, move locations, observe people and places without feeling you have to be photographing them and can wait for the ‘money shot’

Again my night before ritual is the same as in exercise 1:

  • The night before I charge both my primary and secondary battery, and format my memory card.
  • I also pack my bag with all the equipment necessary (there’s nothing worse than carrying around a heavy pack pack full of bits I don’t need for a particular shoot.)
  • If needs be I research the type of style I want to create, or poses I want to incorporate.

Then my workflow relaxes somewhat:

  • Observe my surrounding until something takes my eye.
  • Shoot
  • Review shots on LCD screen and make technical adjustments. Also adjust angles and possibly re position myself.
  • Take several shots in quick concession in a hope that one of them will be ‘the shot’
  • Move around, change location, alter my height (sit down perhaps, climb some steps etc)
  • Play around with aperture and shutter speed to create artistic shots, perhaps a blurred motion shot.
  • Look for unusual angles or subjects.
  • Study people’s behaviours

Post shoot workflow is aslo the same as in Ex 1:

Post shoot:

  • Upload all images to a labelled folder on my mac. (sometimes a client name, or location and date)
  • Delete any horrors!
  • Upload file to Dropbox so I have a cyber copy (I learnt the hard way and lost everything in the previous module)
  • Format memory card
  • Select the favourites, name them, and add data info in photoshop.
  • Open files for editing, colour correction etc.

I was hoping to do a street shoot for this exercise but changed my mind and  decided to merge this exercise with a side project I just completed called Fruit, Colours & Bubbles for this project I set up a studio shoot of fruit submerged in fizzy water. I had no time limit whatsoever and setting up me equipment took the best part of an hour and a half. I used a tripod, multiple lenses, flashes, off camera flashes, reflectors and of course the subject.

I found it fairly easy to stick to the workflow mentioned above, and I think this was largely because I was working in a enclosed environment. There were many consistencies such as lighting, focal range and exposure. I did alter the shutter speed at times to capture the bubbles moving and also stationary. I changed the backdrops to add colour variety, and used several different fruits.

The above meant that I took well over 300 photos. When it came to filtering the good from the bad this was pretty obvious. Some shots worked while others didn’t at all – wrong shutter speed, a part of the vase was showing, the fruit moved around or floated to the top or I needed to add more fizzy water as it had gone flat. Once I had sifted through the good and bad I was left with a strong (ish) 100. I would say out of this number 25 had the strongest potential. These were the pictures I decided to use for my final edit.

I made a substantial amour of alterations during the shoot, largely based around camera positing. I was able to this from referring back to the LCD screen and really examining the composition. Had i been working to a time limit this would not have been possible. I had the opportunity to really tweak each arrangement and at some stages improvise.

You can see a selection of the final images using the link above.

 

 

Exercise 1: Your own workflow (DPP)

The aim of this exercise is to devise and use a photographic workflow for a portrait session, consisting of at least 20 images. The session needs to be limited in time and at a location that provides an attractive or unobtrusive setting.

Over time i’ve developed a workflow without even realising it. It’s somewhat of a ritual. After choosing a location and subject:

  • The night before I charge both my primary and secondary battery, and format my memory card.
  • I also pack my bag with all the equipment necessary (there’s nothing worse than carrying around a heavy pack pack full of bits I don’t need for a particular shoot.)
  • If needs be I research the type of style I want to create, or poses I want to incorporate.

Once at location the following happens:

  • Shoot
  • refer to LCD screen to look for any major issues, i.e exposure, focus, iso settings. (I don’t concentrate too much on the LCD image as I find you can’t really judge the shot until you see it later on a big screen.) So any major setting tweaks get done now.
  • Re-shoot, change angles, positions, add or subtract equipment etc and get a wide variety of shots

Post shoot:

  • Upload all images to a labelled folder on my mac. (sometimes a client name, or location and date)
  • Delete any horrors! (Out of focus, blurry etc)
  • Upload file to Dropbox so I have a cyber copy (I learnt the hard way and lost everything in the previous module)
  • Format memory card
  • Return to Mac file
  • Flag images green for strong
  • Flag images orange for ‘possibles’
  • Select the favourites, name them, and add data info in photoshop.
  • Open files for editing, colour correction etc.

As the handbook requests – I have set a time limit of 20 mins. So now all that is left to do is find a ‘model’ and start snapping…

I encountered several problems with this exercise; the first being that my location (graffiti wall) was in a park right besides a basketball court. As this was an arranged shoot with my model we had agreed on a time and had allocated 20 mins for the shoot, at exactly the same time as a basketball match was set to start. Instead of getting in the way and making a nuisance of myself i took the decision to shorten the shoot to ten minutes and crack on.

We could have re-scheduled but in the real world you have to make do with the situation you are in, and more importantly, i was the one who had set this up so it fell on me.So with literally 10 minutes and counting i positioned my model in a variety of poses and snapped away, following the steps mentioned above.

It was a beautiful morning and the sun was shining bright…(to my annoyance) as bright direct sunshine is not the best for photographing in. the sun was directly shining from the left of the wall, limiting my angles. I could either shoot with the sun or against the sun.

Below are the final pics I chose:

DSC_0401edit DSC_0408edit DSC_0414edit DSC_0420edit DSC_0431edit DSC_0438edit

The strong sunshine hindered my results slightly as my model was sometimes squinting, and some of the pictures are slightly over exposed. I wanted to keep the colours of the wall at a good exposure and this resulted in some washed out tones.

However, this was a huge learning curve and made me realise that it is imperative to check back to the lcd screen to make adjustments.

 

Exercise 3: Histograms

The purpose of this exercise is to increase your familiarity with histograms by relating each one to the image you have just shot. This is an aid to recognising the most basic characteristics of an image. Histograms appear twice in a normal workflow – the first time on the camera’s LCD screen, the second when the image is being processed – and it is valuable to make use of both occasions.

The objective is to shoot the three most basic categories of scene by contrast – low contrast, average contrast and high contrast – with three images of each; an average exposure and then one each at one f-stop higher and lower.

For low contrast the graph will have a concentrated area of low tones, for average contrast a reasonably even spread across the range of tones and slightly higher peaks and for high contrast large, wide peaks. If the image is under exposed, the graph will be grouped to the left hand side. Fo over exposed it will be grouped to the right hand side. For average exposure it should sit somewhere in the middle.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.17.01

Above is an average low contrast exposure. As you can see, the graph is mainly grouped in the middle, if a little under exposed. However, my camera read this as correct exposure.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.17.15

Over exposed results in the graph moving to the right, as expected.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.17.27

Under exposed has shifted significantly to the left, as expected.

With a low contrast, the graph is fairly minimal peaks.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.17.54

For a medium contrast, their are more peaks – this is expected. At correct expose its grouped in the middle.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.18.20

When over exposed it shifts the the right.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.18.08

When under exposed, it shifts to the left.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.14.44

 

For a high contrast image the peaks are much higher and wider. Again, at a correct expose they are grouped in the idle of the graph. They are not ‘clipped’ on either side.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.15.04

For over exposed (even slightly like in this image) the red and yellow bars are clipped at the right. Resulting in spacing at the left – meaning over exposure.

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 15.15.16

Again, the graph is grouped far to the left for under exposure.

All in all, this exercise produced results I was expecting. A histogram is a great way of adjusting camera settings to get the most accurately exposed photograph.