Finding your workflow

LiquidGrace

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Reading the title Photography style it really got me thinking about workflow. As a beginner my workflow was less then desireable. It is something I'm always working on. However I'm always finding new tricks to do with my photos, while I see it as a part of my growth. I also wonder when I'll find a steady workflow that when I find little tricks, the changes are so mild in nature, that my end product can always be seen as my style.

Right now as it stands my photos and how their post processed change almost with every session. I do have my basic workflow, but the artistic touches I find change more then I'd like. I guess for me I am not content because I haven't found 'my' style.

Please feel free to comment on what I posted above.

I'm wondering if those who have been doing this for a long time still have a rather fluctuating workflow or if there was a point in your career where it just clicked and you said "Found it!" and then stuck with it.

I'm sorry if this is in any way confusing.
 

Overread

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Workflows, I think, are always going to be a dynamic thing until you're preparing and producing a single fixed product under repeat controlled conditions. If you're just shooting portrait shots for passports (as an example) after a short while you'd have the lighting and workflow setup to continue to produce that same product over and over again.

However if you're product is a little bit more dynamic - if the situations and conditions are changing and varying then you'll need a certain flexibility in your workflow in order to pull the best out of each shot. You'll have your core processes (and sometimes you might be able to automate them via things such as Actions and pre-sets in CS5) and then you'll have your touchups and adjustments (small or big).

If you've still got worries this might be an area where a formal form of tuition or reference material might be in order - many amateurs operate with a rather cobbled together approach. Bits learned here and there so the workflow can be a little bit bitty. Formal approaches might well give a bit more structure and expanding on your understanding of editing might also show where you're able to refine your process to speed it up.
 

KenC

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You will always learn something new and useful, so it should evolve. I guess if you do professional work that has a specific purpose and requires a lot of images, e.g., a wedding, then it would be better to do it in an automated way. I find that different images require different approaches and also that I'm always incorporating new information or techniques.
 
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LiquidGrace

LiquidGrace

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Workflows, I think, are always going to be a dynamic thing until you're preparing and producing a single fixed product under repeat controlled conditions. If you're just shooting portrait shots for passports (as an example) after a short while you'd have the lighting and workflow setup to continue to produce that same product over and over again.

However if you're product is a little bit more dynamic - if the situations and conditions are changing and varying then you'll need a certain flexibility in your workflow in order to pull the best out of each shot. You'll have your core processes (and sometimes you might be able to automate them via things such as Actions and pre-sets in CS5) and then you'll have your touchups and adjustments (small or big).

If you've still got worries this might be an area where a formal form of tuition or reference material might be in order - many amateurs operate with a rather cobbled together approach. Bits learned here and there so the workflow can be a little bit bitty. Formal approaches might well give a bit more structure and expanding on your understanding of editing might also show where you're able to refine your process to speed it up.
This is extremely helpful and insightful for me. I do agree that a formal approach is something that I'll need to expand on and hone. As my current workflow is as you described "bit bitty". I do have my core fixes as actions which help greatly. I'd like it if I can somehow get them to be a batch fix as I apply this to pretty much every photo.

Thank you again for your insight. It leaves me feeling a bit better about the varying work flow. As you pointed out a rather basic point I wish I would have thought of. Conditions change especially with outdoor portraits and events. Workflow sometimes has to be flexible to achieve the desired result. Also I feel becoming a bit more proficient in WB and in producing a bit more of a consistant shot every time so that the workflow isn't always changing so much. Both things I've been working on a ton.
 

MinnietheMinx

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I guess if you do professional work that has a specific purpose and requires a lot of images, e.g., a wedding, then it would be better to do it in an automated way.
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DiskoJoe

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Reading the title Photography style it really got me thinking about workflow. As a beginner my workflow was less then desireable. It is something I'm always working on. However I'm always finding new tricks to do with my photos, while I see it as a part of my growth. I also wonder when I'll find a steady workflow that when I find little tricks, the changes are so mild in nature, that my end product can always be seen as my style.

Right now as it stands my photos and how their post processed change almost with every session. I do have my basic workflow, but the artistic touches I find change more then I'd like. I guess for me I am not content because I haven't found 'my' style.

Please feel free to comment on what I posted above.

I'm wondering if those who have been doing this for a long time still have a rather fluctuating workflow or if there was a point in your career where it just clicked and you said "Found it!" and then stuck with it.

I'm sorry if this is in any way confusing.

Well your workflow should not be static unless what you are doing is consistently similar. My workflow will change depending on the assignment. I would not use the same treatments for my wedding photography (at least not what I give the client) as I would a club shoot at a dive bar with hipsters. Now style comes on its own. It is something other will notice before you probably do. Also posting a link to your site or a flickr or something would help so we can see what you have going on right now to see if you are on a good track or not. If you look in my signature I have a listing of all my gear and a link to my flickr so people can see where I am coming from, what I am using and what level I am really at.
 
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LiquidGrace

LiquidGrace

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Reading the title Photography style it really got me thinking about workflow. As a beginner my workflow was less then desireable. It is something I'm always working on. However I'm always finding new tricks to do with my photos, while I see it as a part of my growth. I also wonder when I'll find a steady workflow that when I find little tricks, the changes are so mild in nature, that my end product can always be seen as my style.

Right now as it stands my photos and how their post processed change almost with every session. I do have my basic workflow, but the artistic touches I find change more then I'd like. I guess for me I am not content because I haven't found 'my' style.

Please feel free to comment on what I posted above.

I'm wondering if those who have been doing this for a long time still have a rather fluctuating workflow or if there was a point in your career where it just clicked and you said "Found it!" and then stuck with it.

I'm sorry if this is in any way confusing.

Well your workflow should not be static unless what you are doing is consistently similar. My workflow will change depending on the assignment. I would not use the same treatments for my wedding photography (at least not what I give the client) as I would a club shoot at a dive bar with hipsters. Now style comes on its own. It is something other will notice before you probably do. Also posting a link to your site or a flickr or something would help so we can see what you have going on right now to see if you are on a good track or not. If you look in my signature I have a listing of all my gear and a link to my flickr so people can see where I am coming from, what I am using and what level I am really at.
Thank you for all you've provided me with. I will look to put my links on here and equipment. Thank you again.

Website: www.barnhartphotography.net
Deviant art (has more of my landscape/art photos) : http://serenityfhotography.deviantart.com/

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-SB900
-Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Autofocus Lens
-Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC macro
-Kit Lens: Nikon 55-200 mm AF
Nikon 70-300 mm AF

(I'll add this to my signature. But it's just to give you an idea now)
 
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The_Traveler

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Well, there's workflow and then there is workflow.

I handle all my pictures the same way up to a point.

Import to LR with group keywords
Cull
Global changes by image or group (wb, exposure, etc.)
Grade them and add specific keywords if necessary
Then certain ones get exported to PS for finishing

In PS always: fix any global distortions & de-noise if needed.
then specific area or bit-level corrections - this step varies according to what is needed but always on layers.
specific sharpening by area if needed
If the picture is as good as I can get it, then I merge all the layers and save it back into LR.

After every session I let LR back itself up and I back up my HD to two destinations.
 

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