Photography Notebook: Workflow
Workflow refers to the activities involved in taking photos, processing them on your computer (downloading, any editing, categorizing, organizing) and then transmitting the photos to your end users, clients, friends, or family and/or sales sites or photo-sharing sites. A workflow description could involve detailed information about the software, hardware, processes, and other tools used.
Eventually, my goal is to provide a detailed description of my workflow here in my notebook. I'd like to expand the idea of traditional workflow to include topics such as choosing subjects, going out to the field, packing gear, etc., as I think the activities before pressing the shutter are crucial to consistently getting good photos and interesting in themselves as part of photography.
When I first started in photography, I thought that the difficult part would be taking the photos. It is not! It is extremely enjoyable and easy to take photos and learn more about technical and artistic aspects of photography--that simply takes time, concentration, learning from other people and/or books, and discovering subjects to photograph. I can get immersed in this for hours and lose track of time.
But managing the good or excellent image files that result can consume much time. This is a good thing, however, as it indicates I'm producing photos with enough quality that I want to save and organize some of them, and other people may want to request copies or order prints. But the organizational skills in dealing with hundreds of thousands of image files, multiple requests, and the subsequent sorting, editing, communicating, sales, rights, etc., are great. In fact, this has prompted me to work more carefully at the camera and improve the quality of each photo I take. I don't want to use up time sorting through and deleting bad shots, disk space storing them, or adminstrative costs of placing them at photo sharing or sales sites. I also want to improve my technical skills so that when I find a subject or scene just right for a photo, I can quickly take a quality photo. I want to enjoy and get many different kinds of shots, but I see the need to reduce the percentage of my shots that are technically poor in quality because these consume so much time in the sorting and organizational stages of my workflow.
Another big part of workflow is managing the equipment, supplies, packing, trips, and field conditions while scouting subjects to photograph and taking photographs. Field issues include everything from the weather to panhandlers. I enjoy taking photos of cityscapes, and I think a big challenge to get good photos is to make use of good opportunities for unobstructed views of landmarks, buildings and scenes. Part of this work is understanding that blockages, barriers, and distractions to a view are common--construction, trucks, people, barriers, traffic, and many other things can obscure part of a scene are seemingly everywhere. The streets in the city where I live are dug up continuously. Also, the reaction of people to a photographer ranges from calm disregard to astonishment (some people behave as if they have never seen anyone use a camera before--and I've gotten some funny questions) to suspicion (some people see the act of photography as a threat). Dealing with all of this is part of the challenge (and fun!) of photography. Each trip out for photos is an adventure.
Right now, I'm trying to develop a good workflow process.
For my sales, I want to provide a way for people to order prints as well as get small-sized digital images if they want them. I already have some sales and licensing through my Web site, but I want to see if I can find the right site that provides me with a seamless way to get photos into the hands of people who want them and provide some income to me in return for what talent I have been able to develop. I'm investigating some Web sites that provide photo sales services.
In brief, I want to sort, organize, and archive my photos as well as fulfill photo requests--but, most importantly, I want time to take photos and improve my craft.