Anatomy of a photo project

I’m two cups of coffee into morning followed by a bowl of oatmeal. The sun is ultra bright and I just wrapped up a photo shoot about coffee and pie. Watch out, I’m on a roll. As much as I’d like to wax poetic about food, what do you say we change gears and talk about how you set up a photo project and shoot?

coffee and pie

I recently started using an Intel tablet (Samsung Galaxy 3 | 10.1-inch) in my workflow, and much to my surprise, I’m smitten with it. Typically I begin a photo shoot with pencil and paper. I sketch out ideas, create lists, add magazine tear sheets, and take test shots. These get compiled into a paper-bound project notebook.

coffee and pie

Then I use my tablet and the Evernote app to scan all my project files into a master digital project notebook. Once the master file is created, production can begin.

Here’s what my typical workflow looks like.

coffee and pie

Anatomy of a photo project:

1. Brainstorm ideas
2. Create a paper and digital project notebook
3. Sketch out photo shoots with pencil on paper
4. Scout locations to shoot
5. Create a prop list
6. Scan paper notebook pages with tablet camera
7. Add digital voice memos, location and test shots, and any other digital files
8. Set-up photo shoot
9. Take test shots for composition, exposure, lighting, styling
10. Make adjustments on set
11. Connect Nikon DSLR to tablet and shoot tethered fine quality jpegs using Helicon Remote app with a USB cord in live view
12. Edit and process saved gallery photos using VSCO Cam app on tablet
13. Add finished photos to project notebook
14. Share notebook file with client or post on blog

coffee and pie

What about you? Do you plan your photo projects? If so, what are your favorite apps and tools?

p.s. Thanks to Intel for the product sample and for helping to streamline my photo workflow.

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.


  1. says

    It’s so fascinating (and enlightening!) to see how a professional works and I love the idea of having a proper workflow to move you through the process – it sounds far better than the chaos I work in! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • ArtandLemons says

      Kathryn, My workflow has changed over time. It used to be pretty disorganized. With less time in my schedule, I’ve had to tighten my process. Chaos isn’t necessarily a bad thing, particularly the spontaneity element but I know what you mean! Thanks for your comment.

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