Asssignment One – Workflow – Digital Photographic Practice

The assignment required me to construct an effective workflow and follow it through to a final displayed image using what I have learnt in the previous exercises to full effect. In planning for this first assignment I needed to make sure I was comfortable with my subject matter in order to turn up the best results and also be able to follow to the workflow that I had set myself.
The workflow I used was similar to that of my previous exercise on this subject, but modified to suit the circumstance. Please click on the image to see a larger, readable version including annotation for each step describing how I applied it to the assignment.

Workflow with annotation

Workflow with annotation

As previously described, I decided to shoot my assignment in the main mosque in Kampong Glam. This gave me a comfort level so that I could concentrate on the workflow. However, as I said in this blog entry, things did not go according to plan. After taking time to think I changed tack. The area around the mosque is rich in in its diversity of subjects to shoot. Initially I looked at the architecture and then narrowed it down to shop fronts, which are an eclectic mix of old and new, Arabic and western. As I was proceeding to shoot these shop fronts I happened upon a street (Haji Lane), which is the cool, hip clothing area of Kampong Glam. I have been down this lane many times but had never noticed the proliferation of stickers and posters mounted on the drainpipes. All of them carrying some form of advertising either for the shops or local entertainment. Looking at it with a photographic eye the regularity of the drainpipes mixed with the irregularity of the stickers and colours really started to pull me in. So this became my ultimate subject for the assignment. What, in my workflow, seemed to be just another line of checking suddenly become a very big point of the assignment. The ‘If necessary start shoot process again and repeat until satisfied’, came in to full effect. As this was an existing line from my Workflow 2 exercise then this is obviously something that has come in to play before and something I realised I needed pay attention to in the future.

I took the photographs mindful of the workflow but also took in to account the over/under-exposed areas. I did this using the histogram feature on my camera. Ultimately if anything was grossly under or over exposed it would show so that I could adjust for it and save myself time and trouble in the edit stage. It was also useful to use the histogram in of the areas of shade to prevent me from producing a flat image that would be difficult to manipulate in post-production. To this end I made regular checks on the photos I had taken and made sure I deleted any that were clearly not suitable.
Once I had double-checked that I had everything in camera that I needed I finished the shoot and headed home.

The post-production part of the assignment became relatively easy after following my workflow. I downloaded the photographs from my camera and started a new Project in Aperture and imported the images. This gave me 51 images to choose from. Due to the subject matter there were no blurred photos and the over/under-exposed shots were minimal. As a result the technical edit was very quick. Then I decided on the style that I wanted to put across. I decided that all the final images must have the drainpipe weighted to the left of the frame. This gave me the selects portion of the edit.

The selects

The selects

On viewing the selects my next choice was decide on the first selects. I based this on aesthetic value, position, size of drainpipe, colour, angle of stickers etc.

First selects

First selects

From my first selects I chose my final images (a required number of between 6-12 images to represent my finished work). This was done on a similar basis to choosing the first selects but with a much more critical, technical eye. Was the focus good? I wanted the position and size of the drainpipes to be very similar. Was the positioning of the stickers and posters pleasing to the eye?
As before, I went away after I had selected what I felt to be my final images. On return I decided to add one more to the group, which made seven in total that I would present as my final images for the assignment. After this I made sure that all work (including the workflow graphic) was backed up externally and filed for ease of future access. The image gallery below represents my final images in this assignment.

Summary and reflection

I think my workflow differs from other people’s styles in that I am a lot more fluid and don’t constrain my actions solely within a pre-prepared plan. I like to have flexibility in my work as otherwise I feel the creativity suffers. However, I have found that during the course of the first part of this module I have found myself adhering more to the technical part of the workflow which has given me pleasing results. My shoot ratio has come down significantly (not just in this module but also in The Art of Photography) and the final images are technically better. I am being more rational about what and when I shoot rather than taking more shots to compensate for lack of planning. So the shots I do take are concentrated on the subject at hand.

Adaptations to the workflow, as far as I am concerned, centre around me not being afraid to keep checking my images and start again if I’m not happy with the results. While, of course, time constraints may not always allow for this, doing it when I can seems to be the best option so I am not frustrated when I get the images up on screen after the shoot. This was particularly pertinent in an exercise for TAoP when I thought I had finished the shoot but on sitting down to view the images realised that I had not finished telling the story. I carried on and ended up being a lot happier with the results than I would otherwise have been.

The editing part of the assignment and exercises is something I am very comfortable with as the digital and metadata nature of it makes the process very smooth and easy to manage. I am able to keep all my files in one place on the hard drive whilst being able to pick, choose, edit ands annotate on Aperture without being destructive to my master image files.

Although my subject matter for this assignment ended up being somewhat unusual, my flexibility within the set framework allowed me to be objective about what I was trying to achieve without worrying that what I was photographing was somehow wrong (in view of what I set initially to do). I am pleased with the results and look forward to the feedback from my tutor.

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One thought on “Asssignment One – Workflow – Digital Photographic Practice

  1. Pingback: Assignment One – Workflow – Response to Tutor Feedback | BA Blog

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