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Mastering the Stages of a Photo Project: From Idea to Presentation

Eynsford, Sevenoaks. From my project Darent Flows

Over the last 2 decades I've worked on many different photo projects, some more successful than others. It soon became obvious even to me, that the most successful projects were thos that were well planned from the start.

Embarking on a photography project can be an exhilarating journey, but it can also be overwhelming without a clear plan. To streamline your process and achieve the best results, here are my key stages of a photography project plan:

1. The Initial Idea: Every photography project begins with an idea. This might be a spark from a fleeting moment, an emotional response, or a topic you are passionate about. This initial idea serves as the foundation of your project, guiding all subsequent steps. 2. Initial Research: Once you've established your idea, it's time to explore it further. This involves studying the subject or theme, understanding its context, and looking at how other photographers have approached similar topics. This phase helps you shape your concept and approach. 3. Statement of Intent: Next, formulate your statement of intent. This document outlines your project's goals, your inspiration, and how you plan to execute the project. It serves as your roadmap, guiding you as you dive into the project. 4. Further Detailed Research: With your roadmap in hand, dig deeper into your subject. This could involve more intensive study, visiting locations, trialling techniques, or understanding your audience. This stage allows you to refine your project's direction and prepare for shooting. 5. Initial Images: Now, it's time to start shooting. Experiment with compositions, settings, and techniques. Don’t strive for perfection at this stage; the goal is to start creating and learning from the process. 6. Evaluation of Images: Review your initial images critically. Look at what worked, what didn't, and how well your photos align with your statement of intent. This evaluation informs your next steps and helps you grow as a photographer. 7. Checking Against Your Statement of Intent and Revision if Necessary: Now, revisit your statement of intent. Do your images reflect your initial goals and plans? If not, it's perfectly okay to revise your statement or adjust your approach. Flexibility can lead to unexpected creative breakthroughs. 8. Taking More Images: With your revised plan or adjusted approach, continue shooting. As you progress, your skills will improve and your vision will become clearer. 9. Selection Process: Once you have a substantial body of work, start the selection process. Choose the images that best represent your project's goals and present your narrative most effectively. This is where your project begins to coalesce. 10. Final Presentation: The last stage is presenting your work. Whether you're compiling a photobook, setting up an exhibition, or writing a blog post, the presentation should encapsulate your journey and effectively communicate your project to your audience.

If you are interested in learning more about putting together a photography project, I'm running a half-day masterclass on Saturday 2nd September.

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