Jan 232017
 
How to make your work flow through your Workflow

Workflow, what is it?

Workflow is about as individual as your small business. It’s a series of processes that begin the first time a potential client contacts you to the point where you delivered your goods or services and are on to the next job. Actually it starts a bit earlier, if you want to including marketing and branding.  Or maybe you’re running a couple of jobs concurrent, in which case it’s even more important to understand your workflow. A plan on how all your business processes work together makes your work flow smoothly.

work·flow ˈwərkflō/ noun 

the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.

Work-flow solutions: 2 schools of thought

There are more than one way to skin a cat and the same is true for your workflow. There’s really not only one right way that workflow works. They are as personal to you as many other decisions you make in your small business.

In my mind there are two schools of thought when it comes to working with a workflow solution:

1) Make the solution fit your workflow
2) Make your workflow fit your solution

Shotflow – making your work fit someone else’s workflow

Solutions like Shoot Flow fall under the first. They are solutions specific to one type of photography. In the case of Shoot Flow, it’s for wedding photographers. Zach and Jody Grey took their experience at shooting weddings and built a workflow solution around it. They basically let you duplicate the way they work a wedding.

The upside – especially for the inexperienced wedding shooter – is that you get a step by step roadmap to how to work a bride and grooms day. Zach and Judy do a fantastic job, not just on shooting weddings, but also in how they work with their client before and after that day.

In my mind the downside is that you are going to workflow weddings just like they do. I’ve never used shootflow (I don’t shoot weddings) and I know you can customize some of the way it works, but it’s not like what I use.

[Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not dissing shootflow or other solutions like it. In fact I believe it’s vital that we all have a well-integrated solution of our own.]

Creating a custom workflow solution to fit your workflow

My customized solution follows my business processes. This doesn’t make it necessarily more expensive, but it does make my workflow solution match my workflow. I use a Customer Relationship Management system as the backbone of my workflow solution. It’s called SalesForce and is one of the largest CRMs in the world. SalesForce aggregates all information I have about a clients, accounts, jobs, ect into one place and since it’s this huge service it integrates with pretty much everything. For instance I use Evernote to … 

May 212015
 
Layers that make up an architectural photograph

Post production for architectural photography

Architectural photography is not just planning the shoot, nor is it only photographing the building. After the shoot is finished, the jobs not done. Now the assembly begins.

Architectural photograph of the Dilido house

Layers that make up an image file in today's architectural photography

Some layers in this architectural photograph exploded.

All the RAW files captured get fine tuned in Capture One, in my opinion the best image processor out there. Color balance, contrast, brightness, perspective, ect. are adjusted. Then the architectural photography files are processed and are retouched, where small imperfections and outlets are cleaned up.

Paths around all image details in my architectural photography.

Sky, building and window paths combined.

Then the images go through Photoshop where the individual layers are created and assembled into a master file. Each layer has detailed masks around the building parts, the vegetation, the sky, ect. which allows us to composite the image out of the separate exposures taken on location. In the image to the left you see a simplified view of some of the main layers: vegetation, garden and interior through the glass wall, outside walls lit by a strobe, house and sky. That’s how architectural photography is created today.

Finalizing the architectural image files

Then it’s a round trip back into Capture One, where perspective is adjusted, highlights and colors are tweaked and the final files are prepared to be delivered to the client. Metadata is added and the files are  uploaded int my photoshelter account and delivered to the client via password protected web gallery.
My favorite part of the whole shoot, is an excited client, who loves the images taken of her design. This image has taken quite some time to build, from scouting to shooting to spending time in post production, but the transformation from the scouting shot is a far cry from the final shot, don’t you think?

Scout snapshot to Final architectural photography

The snapshot I took on the scouting trip and the final constructed image on the right.

May 142015
 

Last week we looked at what goes into planning an architectural photo shoot – next week we’re going to dive into the post production workflow, but today it’s about actually photographing architecture. Looking for lines and light that you will record on the day of the shoot. Today we get down to brass tacks: we’re gonna catch the light in motion!

Our house – in the middle of our street

On the day of the shoot, I’m on location 3 hours before sunset. I’d rather wait than hurry. Since I already know where the camera will be set up for my shot, no time is wasted. In this specific instance, since we’re able to look through the house into the yard – the elevation of the camera is crucial as well – I need to see the water feature over the pool.

Architectural photograph of the Dilido house

First of all you need a rock solid tripod, because we’re gonna layer a bunch of different photos together into one file (check out tomorrow’s post about the post production, that goes into photographing architecture.) Then I set up my computer, because I am shooting my camera tethered. My MacBookPro runs Capture One and since we’ll be out here for a few hours, is plugged into a GoalZero battery for some extra juice.

Why do I shoot tethered? It allows me to see more details during the shoot and I can trigger the camera via Capture One’s app called ‘capture pilot’ remotely, allowing me to stand in front of the house – away from the camera – to trigger a flash and avoid any vibration, since my exposure is often 8-15 seconds.

Setting my car up as my work station, while photographing architecture

Photographing architecture out of my car.

How do you protect your camera and tripod from moving even a fraction of an inch, when you set up in the middle of the street? You park your car, which also give you a nice desk to set up your computer work station in the middle of a (fortunately quiet, residential) street.  Then it’s really just waitingto catch the perfect light. One exposure right after dusk for a beautiful dark blue rich sky. One more for the interior and exterior lights, another for my tungsten lighs in the yard behind the house and so on.

May 072015
 

Architectural photo shoot – planning out all the details

Recently I had the opportunity to create a series of architectural photographs of this beautiful building for an architect friend of mine. She’s created this stunning house on one of the islands on the beautiful venetian causeway that connects Miami with Miami Beach. Check out how this image is created from the initial scout, to the photo shoot and through post production in this series. Today we start with the planning part of the shoot.

Architectural photograph of the Dilido house

The Dilido house photographed for a South American architect on a recent architectural photo shoot.

Architectural photography is about lines and light

Photograph taken of the front elevation during scouting on Cadrage appWe need to show long lines” the architect tells me. She right, after all she’s designed this beauty and understands all the intricate details of the house better than anyone. Capturing her vision, that started on a drawing board, begins with a visit to the house. I insisted to meet her at the house were going to photograph, since I want to see what she’s passionate about. So the week before the shoot I meet with her at the house, with my iPhone (and a couple of cool apps) to get to know the house. Primarily it’s about her vision, but I also need to see where the sun will be, since we’re not just chasing long lines. We’re also here to catch the light.

A dichotomy: immobile structures and a sun, that doesn’t stand still

You used to have to be part astronomer to be able to calculate the path of the sun, today there’s an app for that. I use an app