Project: A Sequence of Actions, Your Own Workflow 1

The object of this exercise was to develop my own workflow for a portrait session where the time (and presumably the dmodel’s patience) are limited. The brief requires a final one or two images and suggests that the outcome of the shoot should be around 20 images that have been refined for composition during the shoot.

In planning the workflow, I drew upon the course materials and my own experience (not of portraiture, I have no experience of that) but of photography in general; from the times I have arrived somewhere with no charged batteries or a nearly full memory card! I found though that while developing the workflow one thought led to another.

The workflow is here:

<a href=””>Portrait Workflow</a>

For the shoot itself, I gave myself a brief to provide an indoor portrait session to a young couple with their dog. I had one hour for the shoot, not including set up time, and they each wanted a solo picture, one with both of them and one with the dog. The additional benefit for me was to give me more practise at setting up lighting and provide an introduction to studio portraiture.

I did an internet search to some posing guides (,,,,, Although I did not refer to them during the shoot, the pre-reading proved useful.

During the shoot,  I produced 65 images, none were deleted in camera:




This was edited on a first pass by taking out any that were out of focus, blurred or poorly composed. This left 34 images:



From these, I selected those which I thought would make a contribution to fulfilling the brief. This gave me 11 pictures:




These were corrected in Photoshop, mainly for levels and sharpness with a bit of cropping.

From here, I chose the best of each individual, couple and with dog to meet the brief.






Preparing the workflow beforehand helped to prepare for the shoot. Even though most of the steps were things that I normally do, to formalise helped to crystallise the thinking and focus the shoot on what I was meant to get out of it.

I mentioned that this was my first attempt at studio portraiture and here I learnt some valuable lessons. My lights were not powerful enough. I was using two 85W cfl shooting through a white brolly, one as a key light and one a hair light. A white reflector was used for shadow fill. I could not position the hair light effectively because the room was too small. The lighting gave an exposure of f4 at about 1/4 second. This meant using a tripod and keeping the subject still. I was shooting tethered and using live preview. This was a bit cumbersome. I would have preferred the freedom of holding the camera. Also the live preview took a while to appear on the screen after taking the shot. Finally, the depth from the large aperture made keeping the whole field in focus.

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