The aim and structure of this exercise is, as for the previous one, devising a particular workflow for a specific shooting assignment. This assignment should, however, be unstructured and open-ended. A possible subject might be street photography, or part of a holiday. Combine this with another exercise if this is more convenient for you.
For this exercise I decided to illustrate the workflow that I used for a previous assignment on the Christmas holidays. I did this assignment a couple of weeks ago, but felt that on the day of shooting (Christmas day!) I didn’t have enough time to link the photos well enough together for the narrative aspect of that particular assignment.
This shows perfectly how I shot a photoshoot that was unstructured and open-ended. Nothing about the panic, excitement and stress of Christmas day is predictable and easily planned. However, I did extensive planning for this shoot as I was intending to use it for my assignment. Below is my devised workflow for this shoot:
– Capture as many pictures as possible of the different aspects of Christmas day from start to finish. I wanted to capture the craziness of the day- and the work involved in it.
– Produce a narrative that showed Christmas day from start to finish, right from opening the presents, to playing family board games at night.
Pre- photoshoot checks-
– Check the camera is in full working order. Clean the lenses, format memory card, charge two batteries, test all lenses and make sure they are safely and fully attached to the camera body.
– Practice a few shots with new 50mm f1.8 lens prior to the shoot to familiarise myself with it.
Equipment I’m going to use-
-Canon lens 18-55mm
-Canon lens 50mm f1.8
I am mainly going to use my 50mm f1.8 lens as it is small and compact with a wide aperture for the poor lighting conditions inside my home.
– I carried out a couple of test shots inside my house prior to the shoot in order to get an idea of the exposure that I would need to use.
– I planned to review images during the shoot to look at different angles I might need to try, and delete obvious bad shots in order to know how to improve in my next shot.
– This is the part of my workflow that I think about a lot prior to a photoshoot. What photos could I capture? How can I make them different and interesting?
-For this specific assignment, I had decided I would like to aim to get the following photos;
>Presents wrapped and under the tree
>Wrappers of presents everywhere; showing the aftermath of opening the presents
>Preperations for Christmas dinner
>Christmas dinner cooked
>Shot through the window of family around the table eating
>Afternoon activities- have to improvise here as I’m unsure what these will be!
Day of the shoot
– My new 50mm 1.8 lens came in handy and I quickly found that with the inside light conditions I couldn’t use my 18-55mm lens as it’s aperture range wasn’t large enough.
– I had all my equipment ready and it was just a matter of being alert and ready to take a shot whenever the opportunities came!
– I captured a lot of the shots that I had planned to, as well as some great ones that I hadn’t; highlighting the open-ended aspect of this exercise!
– Because of the unpredictability of the shoot, I took as many photos as I could- capturing well over 100 shots in order to narrow this down to the very best images.
– I kept my camera constantly at hand so I didn’t miss any good shots; this was a big lesson from this shoot! If you snooze you lose! ALWAYS be alert.
– Some of my planned images didn’t work out- showing that you can never fully plan for a shoot, as improvisation is the key.
– I stuck by my plan to review images as I go along to decide what changes and improvements needed to be made. This worked well, and my composition and lighting were dramatically improved by this simple idea.
After the shoot
– The day after, I uploaded the images onto my laptop and reviewed them on a larger screen. This was when I did a quick technical check to delete any incorrect shots. I deleted about 5.
– I then chose which images I felt were the best- and edited these in Photoshop, retouching and transferring some to black and white.
– I then named and put all the images into a file in my pictures library.
These are a few of my final images-
My workflow worked pretty well for this exercise. It showed me that for subjects that are unstructured you can’t really plan as well as you might like, and you must improvise. I had planned a lot of shots that didn’t work out on the day due to lighting or composition details. This couldn’t have been foreseen prior to the day. What worked well was my plan to assess each image as I went along. I had the whole day to capture images therefore I had time to do this. If I had been doing a one hour photoshoot, I couldn’t have spent as long assessing how to improve photos as I went along. However, for this exercise it worked well in order to produce the best images possible. Each photoshoot is different, but planning as best as you can is extremely necessary. I learnt from this exercise that it is also important to keep in mind what may go wrong, and learn to keep calm and adjust your ideas if the shoot doesn’t go according to plan. A very useful exercise indeed.