Phases in the execution of a photographic project

In our second article, we will focus on the different phases into which we can subdivide the working process, from developing our approach, to the dissemination and presentation of the project.

In the previous article we identified four phases: research, execution, the editing phase, and lastly, presentation and dissemination. This sequence will help us in planning the project and its execution, but we should not think of these four phrases in isolation. Their development is hardly ever linear, and shifting between one phase and another will prove to be constructive and enriching.


© Sweet Ice Cream Photography / Unsplash

Developing a viable project

We usually think that a project can’t begin to take shape until we have a clear idea of what we want to do, but this is not necessarily the case. One may be interested in a topic, and the idea will crystallize only during the research phase. It is possible for the idea to be conceived beforehand, but more commonly it will transform and become refined through research. Thus this first phase of project development is already linked to the creative process and the definition of the project. By reading about the subject, or looking for photographic references about it, we shape the idea and make it grow; we clarify the decisions that we will make in the execution phase.

In the second phase, we must consider two main things. Firstly, what we need in order to carry out the project and, secondly, what our available resources are. We have to find a balance between the two. If the project is too ambitious, its completion may necessitate outside funding; to obtain it, we need to build a portfolio. It will be useful to keep in mind the following mantra: always think of viable projects. Evaluate what you can achieve with the resources at your disposal. In order to make a good photographic project it is not necessary to travel far, but rather to learn to become better observers of our local environment.


© Alejandro Escamilla / Unsplash

Define the identity of your project

Every project must have a determined deadline. Setting a timeline will help us move forward. However, it may happen that during editing we will feel the need for more images to complete the project. For this reason, the more accessible the subject, the easier it will be to return to it. It is very useful during the editing process to keep in mind the questions raised at the beginning of our project. Returning to these questions will ensure that we are constructing the narrative as we had intended. Editing is key to clarifying the message and building the identity of the project.


© Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Designing the presentation format

The process of deciding how to present the work and how to distribute it is very similar to the production process. We must envision the project as a whole and choose between three possible modes of presentation: gallery exhibition, print publication, or an online format. We may end up adopting all three, but the presentation must be adapted to each of them. The way we think about the project narrative will shift depending on the mode of presentation, and this in turn will help the project grow as an organic, living body of work.

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