Documenting your work

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Fxguy1

Member
So for the longest time I've enjoyed making things but I've been horrible at documentation / taking photos of my work. How do you document your work for progress / portfolio purposes? Do you document as much as you can and then edit / trim down after the work is complete or do you have specific points you document in the progress?
 

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zorg

Master Member
Try taking plenty of pictures at the start of a project, post them to wet everyone's appetite then get pretty bored of that quickly because you want to get on with it.
4 years later take 1 blurry picture of the item that has been completed for ages and is covered in dust saying sorry for late update but I finished it a while back but vet bills etc...

Hope this helps
 

kevin926

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Pictures are key. Even if you dont post them. As long as you have pictures saved, you can always post completed or work in progress.

I usually take photos when I stop myself to look over my progress. Force yourself to stop and look. I can't recommend that enough. That's a big time and money saver. If you stop and look, you see errors or next steps better.
 

WhiteyWWorkshop

New Member
I use a few social media outlets, so I tend to stop and take a picture to show my Real Life friends, coworkers, or post a quick pic on Insta/facebook. Sometimes its at the end of the day before I leave my shop. Sometimes I stop to take a water break or use the lav. Keep Snapping!
 

red4

Sr Member
Photos are actually high inconvenient for me, because I have a bad camera, and poor lighting, so it takes about 3 hours just to setup, shoot, and pick a handful of usable pictures.

The only kind of documentation I do often is for the sake of keeping track of where I am in the process - it's a handwritten list on a clipboard hanging on the wall. Once something is done, I scratch it out. And once the project is complete, those sheets of paper go in the trash. There's no long-term record keeping.

I have an incomplete portfolio in the form of a DeviantArt account.
 

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pepperbone

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
IMO, document as much as you can and edit later.

However what you CAN do before you start editing is TRIAGE after each shoot or stage.

Documenting is storytelling. And you'll have a better idea of how to tell your story once you have all the documents, and you've been through your project's entire timeline.

I usually take more photos than I need, then transfer all of them to my PC and triage right away. It's a quick drag&drop process that shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes, even with a few hundred photos per shoot or stage. Pics that are obviously not going to work, whether it's because of faulty lighting, focus, framing, feel, whatever, I move to a sub-folder. That usually leaves me with at least 70% less pics to go through once I'm ready to edit, making it feel less like a burden when I get there.

I hope this provides some insight.
 

Fxguy1

Member
Documenting is storytelling. And you'll have a better idea of how to tell your story once you have all the documents, and you've been through your project's entire timeline.
Well said! I'm trying to embrace the creative side of myself after 20 years in a VERY non-creative field. In order to do that I need to start working on a portfolio for two reasons: 1) Unless I take pictures and build the portfolio, I'll never be able to track my progress / improvement and 2) I'll never be able to find work in the industry OR work on a social media blog without pictures of my work.

Another problem I find is working on WAY too many projects at once...lol.

As for my equipment, I have a Canon Digital Rebel 6xti and a basic generic lighting kit off ebay. I can take really good pictures with it. Lighting is OK. but what I really would like is either a desk camera or a way to mount the Rebel looking straight down at the workspace / desktop. Similar to what I've seen in some of the Stan Winston School classes.
 

pepperbone

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I hear ya.

Your 6ti is perfect for that. And if you really get into documenting more extensively in the future; remember that lenses are key. I still had my 10-year-old Canon T2i until a year ago. Was noisy in low light but slap a nice prime lens on it and it shot great in daytime. I still regret getting rid of it.

Rigging a frame for your camera to shoot downward is not difficult, and relatively cheap. A base plate with a quick-release to mount the camera body, maybe a cheese plate for attachment options, some 15mm clamps and rods, and your almost there.

When I started rigging my DSLR 10 years ago I used to get a lot of small components here > Camera Rig, Camera Stabilizer, A6500 Cage for Worldwide Filmmakers
Now you can get most of these through Ebay or Amazon, but browsing through this site will likely give you a lot of ideas about how to mount your camera.

Rods: Camera Support - Shoulder Rig - Rods - Page 1 - coollcd

Rod clamps: Camera Support - Shoulder Rig - Rod Clamp - Page 1 - coollcd

Plates: Camera Mounting Plate, Camera Plate, Camera Quick Release Plate, Camera Plate DIY, Arca Plate for photographers

Stuff like this, and either a wooden bounding box around your work table - or used light stands (Ebay) and you're all set. You COULD go for an all-wood frame, but I’m confident you’ll appreciate the versatility of the rod/clamp solution which will allow you to relocate your camera more easily.

As for having too many projects: been there/still am there. As silly as this may sound, what helped me is LISTS. Get a free desktop TO-DO LIST widget for your computer and start realistically listing what’s on your plate. Add deadlines if you need to. And like triaging photos, separate tasks that you believe will realistically help you move things forward from fantasy tasks that require more time and budget that you currently have. It took me about a year to respect that process, mostly because It’s difficult for an old dog to learn new tricks, but now I’m way more efficient than I’ve been in the last 20 years.

Hope this helps!
 

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