In the world of photography, it's highly possible that you have had encountered with the term known as "Workflow". It's pretty hard though, to find a guide in many photography resources (web, books, forums, videos, etc.) that really explain workflow in its essence. But I have concluded that this has a reason, and it’s simple, workflow reflects the personal way of a Photographer of doing their stuff. It may vary in scope, but at the end, is just a personal standardized way of doing things, in which you can repeat certain procedures to maximize your resources. At first I was willing to find a graphical way of getting to define a workflow in the web, but I simply couldn’t get something that satisfied me. My mistake was that I was willing to find a step by step guide on a book or any resource that could help me get into making my own workflow, but this was not going to happen as I wanted it to be. For me Workflow is this "the standard way of doing things, with the capability of repeating it in cycles in a period of time." This is when the scope mentioned before comes into play, at the end you are going to define a workflow from its beginning to its end, based on the way you have being doing this since some amount of time, and also from learning from your mistakes.
There are a lot of benefits on doing this, and it’s definitely not overrated. The most iconic of this benefits, it's the time you can maximize by creating this organized structure. You are going to stop mumbling with a lot of trivial stuff, and you are going to be capable of focusing in the things that matter the most in Photography, making Photographs. There are a lot of times in which you are working against the clock, because of your own will in personal projects, or just because you have a deadline set by a client. You can apply this also to deliveries in which you are involved with a collective, and it’s important to have a good time of response with your crew. There is also a way of getting back to a certain image and determine what specific adjustments you had made to the image by going backwards, this in Quality is called traceability. It also helps to get a certain level of automation of a lot of elements that are involved in the final product you are going to deliver or present. Thanks to this automation, you will focus in things that have more weight when talking about creativity. By having a personal structured way of doing your things, you'll also be able to "define your style", but this is a topic for another day.
When defining our workflow, we have to be very clear about what we must include and what we must not include in its scope. The best way of putting a little pause in certain automations of a workflow, is when we encourage ourselves to drift into a new project. Traveling into a new project can be thrilling, and can be very rewarding thanks to the boost of creativity you are going to experience when trying different and new stuff. The prime objective of doing something new, is to get ourselves out of the comfort zone because it will allow us to learn new things and stuff. By marking up certain procedures in your workflow, you'll be able to determine when you can get creative. For example, a new way of developing a RAW file.
I recommend to make certain revisions on your personal workflows, because they tend to evolve. I do this revision every six months. In the road of continuous improvement there is always things in which you can make things better. The reason why I do this in a regular six months basis, is because I think that in that period of time, I can reach a point in which I have embedded certain actions into my own way of developing the Workflow. You can have different workflows as well, for different medium (digital and analogue film). Or depending on the discipline (Documentary, architectonical, social photography, macrophotography, nature, commercial, nudes, still-life, etc.)
There are certain elements that are very important to keep in mind when structuring a Workflow. I tend to consider these as fundamentals:
Kind of photography
I think that each specialty of photography might need singular workflows.
This action is really important, and it should be pinned in the first steps of the flow. A check list can include:
- Empty SD cards
- Lenses to use in the field
- Permissions or Credentials
It is important to keep in mind the photographic equipment
- Back Up of the files
There is always not enough back-up and this should be a crucial element in the workflow.
This is just my personal approach to Workflow, but at the end you will elaborate the one that suits your needs.