Case Study: How to Create Photography Series

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It was a spontaneous and unplanned photo shoot.

I was in Old Montreal meeting my old colleagues from Multimedia City. This is when I realized that Cirque du Soleil is back in Montreal.

Even though Cirque du Soleil was founded in Montreal and still has headquarters in the city, it does not have a permanent show here. Every couple of years it comes to Montreal and changes the appearance of the Old City.

Normally it temporarily installed the Grand Chapiteau on one of the piers of Old Port of Montreal. For many years the colors and the patterns of the installation were the same: blue and yellow with vertical stripes. But, this year the color palette was different. Now it was predominantly white with the yellow as the secondary color. There were no patterns, just flat colors.

Over the years, I photographed Cirque du Solei on many occasions and I had no plans of taking any photos this year. But when I saw the new colors and how different the installation looked in its surroundings I decided to go for it. Plus, crystal clear air with blue sky and white clouds worked so well with the roofs of the cirque.

I also thought that it would be a great opportunity to create a mini photo series “Cirque du Soleil in Old Port of Montreal“.

When creating a photo series you always need to decide what place, object, person, event or idea is the centerpiece of the series. When the centerpiece is chosen it is relatively easy to illustrate it through series of photos.

In my case, the idea was to illustrate how “nouveau cirque”, which became the trademark of Montreal, fits in the surroundings of the old city.

Another objective was to use similar photo editing settings and techniques in Lightroom to create a secondary connection between a group of photos.

I use this approach often.

For example, after visiting one of the national parks and selecting a group of the best photos I often use identical processing technique to create the connection between seemingly random photos.

When I return from family vacation I try to create a similar look though all photos of the trip. This way each vacation’s selection of photos has a unique and distinctive look (The Minimalist Guide to Editing Family and Vacation Photos).

Lightroom Rapid Editing

I start the editing process with selecting the look for the first photo from the series. I go through the Landscape presets one by one trying to identify the most appropriate look.

I really like how the Drought preset emphasizes the contrast between the blues and whites in the area of the sky so I use the Drought as the foundation for my editing.

Next step, I go directly to the Right Editing Panel of Lightroom and start tweaking the editing and adjustments. My main focus is the color of the sky and the trees.

Below are the complete edits I used in Lightroom.

When I was happy with the final result I saved the edits and the adjustments as a new preset and named it Cirque du Soleil.

Next, I applied new Cirque du Soleil presets to the rest of the photos.

And that was it. I ended up with the 3 photo series where each photo has a similar look plus a brand new preset which I will definitely reuse in the future or maybe even include in one of my new Lightroom preset collections.


Creating a photography series can not only a fun personal project but also something that can enrich and enhance any photographer’s portfolio. By using a similar editing through the photo series you can create a deeper connection among individual images.