This is post is a special request from HelloBenTeoh. As a fellow outdoor photographer he asked me to write a post describing my workflow. I told him my work flow was very simple and this would be a short post.
In fact my work flow is embarrassingly simple.
I am a fairly straight forward photographer; I enjoy the challenge of capturing my subject with just my camera and my wits. I don’t carry a tripod, flash, lights or even a reflector with me. Yet I get the images I want with the least amount of fuss, so I call that a win win.
My success is dependent on location and light. When I am out on a photography adventure I am looking for good light and an interesting surface to photograph. My mini-figure friends are merely the foreground to the color field I aim to capture.
Every location is its own challenge and puzzle. I tend to take a few minutes to get my bearings and see what I can see in terms of light, texture and potential vistas that will all blend into a beautiful color field.
Sometimes I have no idea what a situation will look like until I have seen it through my lens. The following picture is a great example of this. The first image is a photo taken by my friend Kitty of me in action and the second image is what I saw through the camera lens.
Yup thats me in what I like to call the LEGO yoga position. Personally I feel that if taking the photo doesn’t hurt, at least a little, then I haven’t gone far enough. I think my slightly masochistic and stoic nature lends itself well to this type of photography.
Once I have my images I use a SD card readerr to transfer my images to my iPad. I have a beefed up iPad that can handle RAW photo files and it makes for a great editing device. My “go to” app for editing is SnapSeed. I have been using it for years and really enjoy its power and ease of use. I can do basic edits like brightness, ambience, contrast, saturation, etc. for a quick first round of edits. I can then move to selective adjust to correct a particular area. In this image I desaturated the yetis while adjusting the contrast and brightness. I can also use the spot repair tool to fix small blemishes. I can add a vignette for a simple effect or get fancy and use Glamour Glow, Drama, HDR Scape or Vintage. It even has nice B & W and Noir presets. For the purposes of Instagram I can get any image about 90% edited using this method. I have always treated Instagram as my sketch book; it’s a place for me to play without the pressure of exhibitions or publication.
Like any good photographer I also upload all my RAW photos to Aperture (my current storage / organization method) and I edit a select few in Photoshop. I don’t edit all my images with PS, only the ones I am interested in printing and eventually exhibiting . When I edit an image for printing I use both the SnapSeed plug-in as well as Replichrome film presets in conjunction with Photoshop to help me achieve the same effects I get editing on a phone.
Yes I do see the irony of editing RAW images taken with a fancy full frame DSLR camera to look like a simple IPhone photo. Yet that is the age of photography we live in. Images that are super saturated and contrasty, images that look like they are taken with a toy camera or in some way emulate a classic film base are what is expected in color photography.
Other apps I enjoy editing images with are Color Splash, Lens Flare, Lens Light, Noir and Tangled FX. These all make an appearance in my Instagram feed at some point; usually when I’m bored or I am trying to salvage a particularly difficult image.
I am well aware that my set-up is very simple, yet it suits my penchant for shooting a lot of images and allows me to process them quickly. I enjoy posting an image a day (even though I am not participating in a specific 365 challenge); and having a quick and seamless editing process helps to make this possible.
Yes I am a little embarrassed about how simple my work flow is; sometimes I even wonder if I should use the word photographer when describing myself. Yet, I like my images, I like my process and I doubt I will be changing anything soon to impress my fellow photographers.
If you have any questions that are not answered here, feel free to ask. I am always open to sharing my process, even this deceptively simple one.