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.


What Kitty saw. What I saw.

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.


Before and after SnapSeed

The biggest up side to editing on an iPad is that it makes posting to social media sites like Instagram, G+, TwitterFlickr, Facebook or my web site a snap.

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.

~ xxSJC

What is your workflow? Would you care to share any tips and tricks that make your life easier?IMG_3113-1