It is my belief that while there are general steps in a photographer’s workflow, each photographer will have his/her own workflow customised to fit his or her purpose. That being said, I also believe that there a few questions that each photographer should ask when contemplating changes to their photography workflow. I don’t know about you, but it has happened to me a few times when I read about someone else’s photography workflow and I just quickly adapted it only to find out later that it’s not working that great for me. This forced me to ask some really simple questions before changing anything. ( Photo credit: SXC )
Simple questions are hard to answer.
Well, this article is another one of those articles that was born out of the realization that most of the times you have to ask some basic…really basic questions before starting any complex project or procedure. Question like: “Why do I want to do that?” or “Where am I trying to get?” are always necessary and extremely helpful. This is also the case when it comes to defining your photography workflow. So, I came up with two simple questions that should help you think through changes that you’re trying to make to your photography workflow.
Ask yourself the most important questions about your photography workflow.
1) What’s your purpose in taking pictures
This is probably the simplest and most important question for a photographer. The answer or answers to this question will influence your workflow, actually they should influence your workflow. Just by simply using someone else’s workflow will work for a while if it’s a good fit with your goals, but when your purpose and desire changes then your workflow has to change with you. So, are you trying to just capture events in your family life, or sell photos online, or sell prints of your photos, or a combination of all ? Well, these types of questions will help you define the purpose(s) for your picture collection.
2) How does your photography workflow support your purpose(s) ?
For each purpose try to visualize the end state of your picture collection. In other words, how would your collection have to look like in order for you achieve that purpose? Do you need a special set of folders or a set of tags that would make finding your pictures easier? What kinds of searches would you have to perform in order to find the pictures you would need?
For example, if your main purpose is to capture events, then one important purpose for you would be to be able to find pictures from these events. Another purpose might be to be able to e-mail them to your family and friends. So, maybe you would have to have a set of folders or tags setup for each of your purposes. Or maybe you would need both folders and tags.
The bottom line: think before changing your photography workflow.
I am trying to emphasize the importance of thinking through your photography workflow before starting a new workflow or making changes to your existing one.
Some of us are very impatient and have a hard time planning, while some are very diligent in thinking about all the details before making big changes. It doesn’t really matter about your personality…the bottom line is the same: think before changing your photography workflow.
Some changes are simple to make but they have a big impact. However, if these changes will not support your purpose(s) then they will not help you and later on you will have to undo them which is usually a lot harder to do.
How about you ?
What do you think through when you’re analyzing your photography workflow? How about when you decide to change things in your workflow? I love to hear what other photographers think through…so please leave a comment below and share your experience.