Friday, 16 March 2012

Exercise: Your own workflow 1

The aim of this first exercise is to plan a workflow and then put it into practice for a specific short assignment, in this case a portrait session. I visited family in Adelaide last week, so decided to make use of the time to undertake the portrait shoot. Prior to departing Brisbane, I planned my workflow in two parts, firstly the actual shoot, and secondly the processing afterwards.

Here is my plan for the shoot:
Workflow flow chart, Preparation and Shoot
Choice of equipment was important, because I needed to take everything I needed with me, and could not carry my whole kit. I chose a lightweight option which included Camera, two lenses, Flash and Tripod. I had other accessories with me too.

In Adelaide, I decided to just use my parents backyard for location as I could throw the background out of focus nicely with my 50mm lens, and I chose an early time of day to prevent harsh overhead lighting from the Aussie sun. I asked mum to be my model and she was happy to pose for me. During the shoot I used the flash sometimes and turned it off at other times, as the sunlight was somewhat variable.

We tried a couple of poses - standing first, then seated in a chair, and I found that even the height of the tripod made a difference - i.e. looking slightly down onto her face resulted in better images. Unfortunately, we had company in the backyard which resulted in some shots where she is focusing on someone else (perhaps next time I would be better to go somewhere further from home alone with my model). Also I found asking her 'not to smile' difficult, as it resulted in frowning and obvious concentration on 'not smiling', which was not the result I was after. I stopped that, and instead attempted to direct her roughly where to look and how to angle her head.

We photographed for roughly 40 minutes before I felt that we had both had enough and we decided to stop. I then packed up my equipment, made some notes in my notebook (see below) and deleted obvious duds from the camera. Later that day I backed up my images onto mum's computer.

I followed my workflow fairly closely for this part of the exercise, and found it very useful to have planned out the shoot beforehand. For a future portrait shoot, it would be useful to choose a more isolated location, and potentially have some example images on hand to assist in directing my model (and get ideas for poses and facial expressions).

Notes in notebook before and after shoot
I will continue writing about this exercise in a second blog post, detailing the 'on computer' side of the workflow.

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