Friday, March 16, 2012

The Journey Without Bounds (or Roads)

I got a call the other night from our club president letting me know that our planned presenter for an upcoming meeting would not be able to make it. He said he's observed me asking questions and providing answers in previous meetings, and together with the images he's seen me show, asked if I wouldn't mind giving a presentation on my "workflow".

Having already been mentally prepared for the prospect of presenting something at some point, I accepted, although the two days notice I was given was a bit of a challenge given that I had nothing prepared and no real thought about my objectives for the presentation.

So I started by looking for images to use, and that prompted me to back up and put the editing process in the context of my thought process and workflow. A key part of my presentation was the idea that there isn't a right answer regarding processing, or even what software package to use, but instead, it's a journey without paths, that involves a certain evolution and/or maturity that leads people to where they are and may have some indicators as to where they're going... I used two great personal examples...the decision to jump from JPG to shooting RAW, and the decision to get Lightroom.

So after boring people with my "journey" to this point, I broke my presentation up into organizing, processing, and sharing--the post-processing side of my workflow. I told them that workflow often is used in the context of post production, but really it can mean from the time you're conceiving or visioning a photographic opportunity, to include preparing and loading the gear you will need, through the whole setup and capture process, and then ultimately the post production. I think there is (or can be) another part of "workflow" that encompasses the ongoing organization, editing, deleting, etc... sort of the post-post-production.

Attached are the notes I quickly assembled and spoke from. Nothing particularly novel, just thought I would share it with you.

Evolution and Maturity of the Photographer
Technical knowledge and understanding of photography
Artistic and creative talents (colors, shapes, composition…)
Equipment…cameras, lenses, tripods, lighting, gadgets…
The capture…JPG, RAW, bracketing, panos, time-lapse…
Computer Software

Basic Need of Computer Software
Image management and organization
Processing (“post processing”) and editing
Sharing, publishing, printing

Image Management and Organization
Basic computer system file storage structure (e.g. Windows Explorer)
Database-oriented tools such as Zoombrowser, Photoshop Elements (Organizer), Lightroom (Library Module)
Finding images (search criteria), grouping images, tagging and labeling

Determine which images to process
Extending your vision from the initial capture
Evaluate the image and assess its merits and challenges
Is your objective more Documentary or Creative
Using software tools to complete the vision…Photoshop, Lightroom, Photomatix, Silver Efex, Topaz…
Workflow is often used in the context of processing, but applies from capture to end product

Sharing, Publishing, Printing
Why were the images captured—was there an intended use in mind
Who are your audiences and how do their interests differ
Emails, websites, sharing services
Printing, framing, displaying, gifting, selling

If you have questions, comments, or would like to share some of your own experiences, please feel free to contact me at You can also visit my extensive photographic web gallery at

(Metadata 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 145mm with a 70-300 Nikon lens)

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