Saturday, 16 October 2010

Exercise 1: Your own Workflow - 1 Reflection

Here is the review of my portrait photoshoot.....

[Choose model and arrange a mutually convenient time for the session

Decision was made; my son would be the model, I'd go to watch him play rugby on Saturday morning so he would be in his kit, in his environment, following his hobby, so the portrait give some information with regards to the person in the shot. First fly in the ointment was rugby was cancelled this week, second was (and I was expecting this, the reluctance on the part of my model to be a willing guinea pig, pah 13 year old boys!)
[Choose a suitable location

Location was altered to the local heath where I know they have some goal posts that I could use as background if I wanted to, also good for background shots of others in sports gear if so needed. I also thought if my son felt self conscious in his kit he could wear his new winter coat and do some "male model" shots....apart from he had left it at school so a quick improvisation with my flying jacket seemed to solve that one...sadly he has now decided he wants to steal it from me.....

[Choose suitable equipment according to what you personally own or can be made available

Equipment was straight forward, camera and kit lens. I wanted to use available natural light so didn't bother with taking a flash gun. If needed I decided I would use the fill in flash, but I do like natural light.
[Prepare equipment. Ensure battery and spare are fully charged. Batteries in flash charged. Memory cards formatted and spare cards available. Lens and sensor are clean.

I put a fully charged battery in my camera and put the spare one on charge. I formatted my card after making sure the images had been backed up on my harddrive. Lens was clean...I know I need to clean my sensor as on smaller apertures I get lots of dust and I think a small fibre. This will be done asap.

[Set up session ensuring health and safety are taken into consideration

Made sure I was not causing any problems to the members of the public, no trip hazards or getting in the way. I didn't place my model in any dangerous places/situations. Camera was set at ISO 400 as it was a grey overcast day but this gave good difused lighting with no harsh shadows. I didn't know whether to set the WB to cloudy or auto as the sun at times was trying to break out. I left it on auto as it was a short session with a reluctant model.

[Ensure model is comfortable 

Hmmmmmmmm as comfortable as I could make him! I didn't make him pose in anyway he felt embarressed by, but trying to get different expressions was difficult. Not smiling and sulk mode seemed to be the only ones on offer ;o) When I got him to laugh I wasn't quick enough with catching just the smile and all the images resulted in him having a scrunched up laughing face. Great snaps not so good portaits!

[Undertake photo session  varying expressions and poses altering focal length and camera position throughout the session

Different poses wasn't so bad. I had some close up, sitting down, standing up. I didn't vary my focal length keeping it at 45-55mm as 50mm is the standard lens closest to what the human eye sees. I moved, I didn't zoom.Wide angle close up would distort features too much.

[Take photograph using  jpeg+RAW

I always do this.

[Upload to PC using Adobe Bridge

[Use Template to embed metadata and apply custom name

As part of my workflow I am now saving images to my OCA folder as well as the My Pictures folder there is an option in bridge to save copies to 2 destinations.
Upload to two folders using Adobe Bridge

[View images, complete technical check deleting outright mistakes

Once uploaded I used Bridge to review the shots I had taken.

[Choose final images for processing

Experimented for the first time using the star ratings to help me edit. Was Helpful :o)

[Open in Camera Raw

[Use Workspace ProPhoto 16bit 300dpi

[Adjust if necessary. Exposure reading first, temperature, tint and anything else as required

I usually amend as little as possible in RAW, it is a very powerful tool and there is a lot I need to learn about it. has some very good online tutorials.

[Open in Photoshop
[Crop if required

I did crop just slightly as I felt it gave a more balanced result.
[Create curves layer rename C&D (Colour and Density)

[Create other adjustment layers as required. Fine tune adjustment layers using black and white paintbrushes to remove/reapply layer mask. Adjust opacity, size hardness of brush to obtain required effect.

I applied a curves layer to lighten areas of the hair and eye. Using an adjustment  layer I made some small tweaks to my sons complexion. The model should be pleased with the end result so I had no worries about using the healing brush to remove the odd spot.

[Save Master file with layers intact. Save As Tiff file, LZW, ZIP compression then flatten Image, Save As TiffV2 for conversion to other file/image sizes.

Master file was saved and then saved as a jpeg.
[Sharpen at last stage before printing or final use in Books or Web. For internet use colour profile SRGB.Adobe Photoshop CS4 has a useful "save for web" option. For personal printing use ProPhoto. If using printers establish which colour profiles they work with.

I sharpened the jpeg using unsharp mask as it offers more control. At present I have no plans to print the image but if I do I shall follow the workflow as laid out in my other post.

On reflection I think my workflow for this assignment worked. It would have been much easier if I had a model who actually wanted to be part of the experience so next time I could possibly ask a few more people if they would like to participate, or alternately offer a monetary bribe or reward to my son ;o)

Do I have to be Doing This?


Thinking back to the article I read on Portrait Photography guide and tips from
 I tried to make sure I followed some of the ideas, control of background and light, a flattering lens and an environmental outdoor shot (although I eventually settled on a close facial portrait) Capturing the spirit of a sulking 13 year old worked ;o) And I also was happy wth not showing all of his face and the space around him.

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