Exercise: Your Own Workflow
Devise and then put into practice a workflow that suits you personally for a specific short assignment, and make notes of your experience in your learning log.
Make this a portrait session, which will be limited in time. For this, you will need to scout a suitable location that provides an attractive or unobtrusive setting, then consider different poses for your subject, perhaps varying the scale from head-and-shoulders out to three-quarter length or full length.
The three pathways, Pre-Shoot, Shoot and Post Process, are all a written record of the sequence I follow whenever I make any images, regardless of number, and have been refined from experience. I haven’t recently had to change any of the sequence as I find it has become a sort of conditioned reflex and I don’t have to think consciously of many of the parts. The biggest problem I found was putting it into words and making a flow-diagram that truly reflected what I do. Where I do think I’d struggle to make a flow-diagram that is constant is when I use the post-processing software. Here I find that I tend to look at each image individually, decide on which software to use and then follow a workflow that I find most appropriate for the software and that particular image; so it can be quite variable at different stages of the process. However, the main blocks as shown in my workflow diagram are fixed every time and I think that’s the important lesson of this exercise, follow a set routine for the major parts of a commission but be prepared to be flexible for the detail.
One thing I was confused about initially was the term Caption. A caption to me means the words associated with an image to give a viewer an idea of what the image is trying to say or convey, whereas, from my understanding, the course notes mean that the caption is the keywords, description and place. My use of keywords would include those items so that an effective search can be made of the keywords if I wished to find a group of or a series of.
I’m not convinced that it’s necessary to actually go out and perform a shoot to see if the workflow plan is effective, after making over 16,000 images I think I’ve developed something that suits me well and I’m quite prepared to be flexible when needed and the plans above I know work.
It was extremely satisfying to find out that what I’d developed over a period of time without having read the course material was in fact pretty much the same as was recommended. The physical act of writing down the sequences was most enlightening as it certainly helps clarify in my own mind exactly what should become second nature, allowing my conscious mind the flexibility that’s needed to cope with the need to change things slightly as and when the situation demands and not become dogmatic that everything must always be the same every single time.