I have finally got round to finishing this exercise though the actual shoot did not go according to plan and my workflow also needed adjustment. For a start I wasn’t able to enlist the help of the more mature (11-year-old) granddaughter I wanted to, so made do with a four-year-old. I learned very quickly just how difficult it is to take pictures of young children without the help of another adult; Sophie grew bored very quickly resulting in the shoot time being reduced from 30 minutes to about 15.
Although I had planned the equipment I needed as well as the location, appropriate background, where the lighting would come from etc., I hadn’t given any thought to the child’s clothing and have spent quite a lot of time with the healing brush, removing dirty marks which would not have been necessary if I’d sorted that out first. Now that I think about it, this is fairly basic stuff and if I had considered it properly I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and undoubtedly got better results. I now also understand how difficult it is to get a child to pose without the results looking too contrived, although I guess that is the case in any portrait situation. Certainly, the images I shot after she started to do her own thing and mess about are much more natural and satisfactory.
In order to assess and reflect on my ‘post shoot’ workflow, I followed my plan to a point, i.e. setting up folders, tags, allocating tags, deleting obvious duds. I still had too many images to process properly, so bearing in mind that I had already worked through exercise 2, undertook a second scan and selected 10 of the better images. I opened each file in Raw, checked the white balance, highlight and shadow clipping warning and adjusted the exposure, fill lighting and black sliders as necessary. I then experimented with the vibrance and saturation sliders and having enlarged the image, checked to see if any areas would benefit from sharpening and/or noise reduction. At that point, I opened the image in Elements, considered the composition and cropped if necessary, used the healing brush to remove any unsightly marks , then adjusted the lighting or colour using levels or colour curved. In one or two cases I converted the image to black and white and used the red, green, blue and contrast colour sliders to enhance the image, finally saving the image as a jpeg file in a version set so that I can go back to earlier versions if need be. If and when I decide to upload an image to a web page or for other digital display, I will have to resize the image to a size compatible with that medium.
There are a number of areas I need to explore further, for example using different adjustment layers in Elements. There are also gaps in my knowledge regarding the best way to store images, e.g. the relationship between folders on the computer and in Elements. At the moment I’m operating in a very belt and braces manner with a folder on the computer with all of the original images with what I feel is an appropriate title, and a folder in Elements related directly to, for example in this case, DPP, Unit 1 Workflow. I feel it is quite cumbersome but I’m worried that I won’t be able to find something important when I need to. Effective use file names is also something that I need to consider. Should I leave them with the original image name and incorporate any adjustments or rename them according to…. what?? My next step is to go through the relevant chapters in the two books I have just purchased and hopefully they will throw some light and guidance on the subject.