Project: Alleys, Art & Architecture

My first project in the “From Project To Print” series is to take the images, compile them into around 50 of my favourite and have the end result be a hard-backed premium coffee-table book with a matte finish. Work on the images started on April 13th 2023, and the project may take a couple of months. Over the journey of the project, this page will be updated with images and text as I collate all the images and think about the design of the book.

Initially, the project was to focus on only on achieving the images as 35mm equivalent focal lengths, but that soon changed after a couple of test shots. For this project I will now (at the time of writing this) be using the Fujifilm X-T3 with Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 (35mm equiv) and Viltrox 56mm F/1.4 (85mm equiv) along with the Olympus 17mm F/2.8 (35mm equiv).

Further ideas will mean the book will have images that are taken straight from camera, and the only editing will be straightening any horizons that may need correcting, as well as the odd crop here and there. But, I really want to leave the images as faithful as I can to the images as they were taken in camera.

What follows below is a diary of events to achieve the book.

Progress Updates

New updates appear on top…

May 28th 2023
Put a third of the book together, and I am actually happy with how it is currently looking. Next step to finish off the layout, straighten and align images per-page (fine-tune) and then print off the first draft! It is getting close to the final product!

May 26th 2023
A complete re-edit of the images to be used, including re-cropping all to the same ratio, re-editing colour grading, fixing out white balance issues and ensuring the images fall within the colour gamut of the printing.

I obviously want this to be perfect, so whatever it takes, I will keep changing things until I am happy with everything.

May 18th-23rd 2023
I’ve taken a little break from the book. I like the potential arrangement of the book, but I am not happy with the editing or the amount of images. I am hoping that a fresh pair of eyes after a break will make things much better!

May 11th 2023
A lot more work today, finishing off editing the colour grading for the images. I have a total of 59 images I am ready to use for the book. I also have one more day planned for some final images of the area which take place on Sunday.

A BIG development… I am thinking of taking the project one step further and creating my own book from scratch. I have been pricing double sided photo paper plus all the tools for the binding process. I am seriously considering this, to make it really special. I would then potentially ‘zine versions myself and of course there will be the PDF version.

May 10th 2023
Edited started on images. I colour graded 20 images from the Architecture section. I have decided to do all initial tweaks to images first (straightening, exposure correction, highlights, shadows etc) in ON1 Photo Raw. I am using the Kodak Portra 160 LUT throughout the jpegs, to ensure a regimental colour grading throughout. Images taken on the Fujifilm and Olympus cameras have very different looking raw and jpeg files, so this will ensure the consistent look. Any crops or corrections to perspective will be performed once I have colour graded and looked through the images.

Here is an unused (at the moment) image example.

Original sooc jpeg
With edits and Portra LUT

May 5th 2023
Out taking more photos. I’m probably a third of the way through the project now and I’ve been busy getting things ready.

Layout – I’ve been experimenting with LibreOffice doing test layouts of the book in landscape orientation. I’ve learned a lot with my initial images, which I will highlight below.
Images – During the book testing, I’ve learned I need to expand the images from what I have, by using different compositional skills to make some images more interesting.
Editing 1 (Crop)- I’ve learned through testing that cropping will be beneficial for many images, and not keeping to the original intent of using all 5:4/4:5 ratio crops.
Editing 2 (Corrections) – Again, through testing, I will be correcting perspective, horizon and other issues.
Editing 3 (Colour) – My intention was to have the book contain straight out of camera images with only basic crop and corrections. Due to different lighting conditions (weather), I am thinking of adding a colour process (probably LUT) to all images to give them all a closer look.
Test printing – I have done further testing on printing, matte vs gloss. I think gloss is my preferred look at this time.

My intentions are the book to be available in the formats. Limited and made to order book, magazine format and pdf digital copy.

May 3rd 2023
A productive day today, with many images of graffiti art taken, more architecture and a couple of extra interesting alley shots. Also along the way I have started to get a few “odds and ends” images like these which may be of use.

They all tell a story

April 27th 2023
I have released a video showing some example ideas of layouts for the project book. This includes images which will probably be used in the final version. A sneak peak if you wish!

Click to watch!

April 24th 2023
Today I had an idea of exactly what I wanted to photograph, and I was in luck as there were some rubbish bins and recycling bags left in just the right places. As this is a documentary project, I did not want to move anything, so everything is exactly as it was seen.

And so I ask myself the next question in this project. Colour or black and white? Below is my favourite image from today, and one I will certainly be sharing in the book.

Colour and black and white, but what should the project use?

April 15th 2023
More images taken, however, I have found that the 56mm on the X-T3 is much better than the 17mm (Oly) or 23mm (Fuji) 35mm equivs. I made a test book last night, adding everything I wanted for this project (12×12 matter hard back) and the price came to £49, so I need to check out my options or change my strategy slighly.

April 13/14th 2023
Some initial images are taken for the start of the project. These are with the Fujifilm X-T3 and Viltrox 56mm F/1.4. The lens has a diffusion filter on in these images, for that more organic look. I will see future results to see if I will keep this filter on my lenses for these images.

My initial batch of images for the project. A couple of Alleys and some Architecture, but no Art!
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