Good morning. It seems like I have a gained a few bloglovin subscribers over the past few months – so firstly, hello and welcome!
Now, it’s been a little while since I updated this blog, I get it. I love blogging, but over the winter time I’ve been caught in a bit of a rut of illness and feeling very uninspired creatively.
Last weekend I visited my home town to see one of my longest and best friends Ellie. This year I made a deal with myself that I would visit my hometown / family / friends (they are all the same place) at LEAST once a month and so far I’m so glad that I did. Going back always connects me so much to my self. It grounds me and reminds me of how far I have come.
HELLO! I know, I know, it’s February. I’m a bit late to the party.
The change of the year is always a bit bittersweet. This last decade has been a struggle for a lot of the time, whether it’s personal circumstances, depression, anxiety, it’s been a whole load of learning about life and how I work. I like to think I’m now a different person now – my armour is a bit thicker, I know myself better and hopefully, I can wrangle my inner child with a bit more confidence, kindness and with better results.
Looking back, it doesn’t feel like I filled my 2019 with photography – there was a lot of chasing my own tail and thinking more than doing. I started to lose a little bit of the play of creating and I am now trying to bring the fun into 2020. Although I may not have done too many shoots last year, I still created some of my best and most treasured work too so overall I’m proud of myself for what I accomplished.
SO many good things happened in 2019; we moved into a house with rooms, we added a beautiful kitten to our family and I started new work which has been going well. We are building a foundation for ourselves slowly but surely.
I have picked out a selection of the images I made in 2020 which I am most proud of – here’s to 2020!
And finally a big THANK YOU if you are following this blog or even if you’re just reading it as a one off. I want to start working on the ‘education’ part of the blog in the future, so if there is anything that you would like to know more about please do say!
Let me know in the comments your favourite moment of 2019.
In analogue photography, a contact sheet was traditionally used as a quick way for people to see all the images on a roll of film. It was done by laying the negatives out on top of light-sensitive photographic paper in the darkroom, and exposing it to light so that when developed it would show small versions of all the images. There are some quite famous contact sheets of Marilyn Monroe that most people have seen.
I first had a need for contact sheets when I started to study photography and began making research books to hand into my tutors. It was a way for the tutors to see all the images you took and see your process in picked certain shots. At the beginning of university we studied a lot of film, so did this in the traditional way in a darkroom. However, I soon moved back to digital and still needed a way to be able to produce the same kind of effect.
In an everyday situations, contact sheets are useful for:
You to see the variety of photos taken on a shoot
Sending a client a low-res overview of all your images
In school or university
Luckily, there are some really simple ways to do this on both Photoshop CC and Lighroom CC.
Creating a Contact Sheet in Photoshop CC
1. Make sure you have the images you want in the contact sheet in their own folder in either jpeg or a RAW format such as .cr2 for Canon
2. Open Photoshop CC, and navigate to File > Automate > Contact Sheet II
3. The dialog that pops up will allow you to control your contact sheet. Make sure you select the folder where your images are and set the spacing of the images too. I recommend using ‘auto spacing’ as it makes it look neater, and there is always the option to include file names as captions to help you label the images better. From there you contact sheet should appear after briefly loading.
4. This can now be saved as you usually would in Photoshop CC – usually through ‘Save As’ or ‘Save for Web’. Sometimes it can also be useful to send to someone as a PDF. If your document stretches over more than one page, it’ll simply make separate files for you.
Hooray, you did it!
BUT – you might say – what if I only use Lightroom, and don’t have Photoshop installed? Well, fear not my friend.
How To Make a Contact Sheet in Adobe Lightroom CC
1. Open your Lightroom catalogue and select all the images you would like to appear on the contact sheet.
2. At the top navigate towards the ‘PRINT’ menu.
3. The key places to look over for here is making sure that ‘Single Image / Contact Sheet’ is checked, and as before I recommend ‘Rotate to Fit’. As before, you can adjust the number of rows and columns used and this time you get a live preview too. There is also the option to add in captions too.
4. When you are happy with your contact sheet, click ‘Print To File’ and name it. It will now appear in there as separate jpeg files in the folder you named.
I hope this has helped you in creating your contact sheets – let me know in the comments if you have used this method or if you have any questions.
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Establishing a photography workflow for myself both came naturally and is completely vital. It helps me to not feel overwhelmed, miss things out and produce consistently up to standard work.
This is the photography workflow I would use for portrait, commercial, family or just a generally photo day such as this. Fine art images is a bit different, but we will come to that. So where do we start?
1. Planning Photos
Planning a photo shoot is not always necessary but I always notice a huge difference when I sort out most of the details beforehand. If you are doing work for a client, then planning is completely essential in order to make sure you are following the brief they have given.
I often do a quick sketch of how I want the image to look visually, and a few notes about theme / lighting and colour. After watching Brooke Shaden’s fine art photography course, I have created me own printable shoot planner (that you can get here!) and it’s going to be such a big help in getting the best out of my photo sessions.
At the very least – know what you are shooting and why you are shooting it.
Generally, this part comes quite naturally – you can plan all you like but until you get there on the shoot you don’t know what to expect.
The essentials for after a shoot is transferring my images onto my external hard drive and backing them up on a different drive or on a cloud-based server.
It’s usually now that I hop into Lightroom. I generally create a new Lightroom catalogue for each photoshoot I do but if one client campaign goes on for more than one shoot I will generally use one catalogue and separate the different shoots into folders.
5. Culling Images
I never delete images if I feel like they are not good enough – I use Lightroom’s starring system instead. I usually view the images one by one in Lightroom and give them a 5 star if I definitely want to use them or 4 stars if I’m not sure and want to revisit them later. After this is done, I set a filter on Lightroom to only show me starred images and voila, the first culling process is done.
6. Editing Images
It depends on what kind of shoot I’m doing as to how I will edit the images. For a lot of fine art shoots I am only looking for one image to work on. Therefore I will select that image, make some basic adjustments and then take it into Photoshop to start the magic.
In general for a portrait, family or book cover session it’s different. I will find an image which is fairly representative and apply my own preset I made for my work – from here I will make lighting and colour tweaks until I find a way of editing I am happy with. I will then copy the ‘Develop Settings’ and apply those settings as a base to all the other images in the set. This saves SO much time, and I love that I can do this.
Each image will then get individually tweaked with Lightroom, but generally, the groundwork has all been set. If I have exposed correctly in camera, then this part is fun and easy.
It’s usually now that I export all my images at 300dpi.
8. Photoshop / Retouching
I’m planning to do a whole blog post on my retouching policy – but in general, I don’t do a lot of ‘beauty’ retouching. Within photoshop I may correct lighting, brighten eyes and take care of stray hairs if I feel like it’s important to the image. Personally, I will never change someone’s body shape or make them look like they are not themselves. I save these files directly over themselves. This is also where I might save some for the web – generally at 1200px longest side and 72dpi.
Again, I feel like fine art editing is different as you are mostly creating an artwork rather than taking someone’s portrait of them.
Create Your Own Photography Workflow
And soooo there we have it! I would really like to hear if your photography workflow is different to mine or even if it’s exactly the same.
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