After the Shoot!

I had a couple of people at Sunday’s Aperture Priority Shoot ask what I do after I get the images home. So I thought I’d write up the general process I use. This is not hard and fast or the “only” way to do things. It just happens to be the process I’ve developed. Feel free to adjust to your particular situation.

The first thing I do when I get home is to get the images *off* my camera. You never know when the camera card may go bad or your camera gets lost, stolen, damaged, etc. I put all the images into a folder on the desktop of my Mac. In my case, the folder will have the date of the images and a word or two about where the shoot was. So, for this particular shoot, my folder is called “170312_Bloedel”.

The next thing I do is back *that* folder up to an external drive just in case something happens to my computer or I delete or screw up working on an image. Now I have three backups of the original 325 images – camera card, computer desktop, and external HD.

Next comes the (brutal) “Culling of the Images”. It’s ugly but it needs to be done. 🙂

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is my image editor of choice. I important all the shots into a new catalog with the same name as the desktop folder – 170312_Bloedel. I then open the first image with my finger hovering over the “X” key – that’s the delete button.

Generally, unless you are a truly incredible photographer, at least half of your images will…..let’s just say….”not be good”. Delete those immediately. DO NOT think, “Oh, maybe I’ll come back to it” or ”maybe I’ll fix it later”. Trust me – YOU WON’T. If it’s not an appealing shot at first glance – if it’s poorly composed, out of focus, or just a “bad” photo – delete it right now. Don’t get attached to it.

BUT…

Make a mental note of *why* the photo isn’t a keeper. Maybe all your shots are blurry or from too far away or have some other issue. Learn from your bad photos the reasons why they are bad photos. Then delete them.

At my first culling pass, I went from 325 images down to 125. In Lightroom, I delete those photos, not just from the catalog but from the hard drive. Poof – they’re gone (but remember, I’ve still got two full backups of them). Then I walk away from the computer for a while – usually in a depression about how many crappy photos I’ve taken!

I come back to the Lightroom catalog for the second cull. This time, I’m looking at the images more critically. Is it in focus (I zoom in to make sure)? Does it “tell a story”? Is it a pleasing image? Is it properly composed, showing what I want to show? How much work will I have to do to “fix” it? After the second pass, I was down to only 25 images. I again delete the “bad” photos not just from the catalog but from the hard drive.

(Here’s where I am (probably) different from most of you. As a “professional photographer”, I want to “show off” my images to others, usually because I want them to hire me. 🙂 So I can’t “afford” to post bad photos. I need and want to show off only my very best efforts. So I tend to be hyper-critical of my shots and delete anything that doesn’t meet my (hopefully) high standards.)

Now that I’m down to a more manageable 25 photos to edit, I go through them a third time to see what processing I need to do to make them “perfect”. If I have to spend too much time (and the photos are just for me, not a client), then I delete the photo. I define “too much time” as anything more than a couple of minutes. If they are for a client, I’ll work extra hard to get what the client is looking for.

After all of this (lasting about 45 minutes, not including the break between the first and second cull), I was left with……eight photos.

That doesn’t sound like a lot but, looking at them, they are a good representation of what I was looking for on the shoot. So I’m OK with such a low “success” rate.

Finally, I go to my backups. I replace the backup on the external HD with the folder from the desktop. That way, I know the only images on the external HD are of the eight “good ones” from Lightroom. I also export the edited images out of Lightroom – one set for the web (so they are small resolution) and one high resolution set – both are exported to a folder inside the “170312_Bloedel” and named “170312_Bloedel_LowRez” and “170312_Bloedel_HighRez”.

I then upload both the sets to Flickr so I have another backup – but this time, in the cloud that, in theory, I can access any time, anywhere I’d like.

Last but not least, I then reformat the camera’s memory card to delete all of the original images and start the next shoot with a “fresh” card.

So, I start with 10GBs and 325 photos that get cut down to a little over 1GB and eight photos.

I hope this helps some of you and, as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment here or send me an email at shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com.

Keep shooting!

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
  • Camera: NIKON D600
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

Reasons why you should love a cheap kit lens

Some reasons why you should love a cheap kit lens:

When you bought your first DSLR, you probably got it with a kit lens. These lenses are cheap, and not really top-notch quality. If you bought a prime or a high-end zoom later, you know a kit lens can’t beat it. However, there are still some reasons to use a kit lens. They may not always be the best choice, but they certainly have their purpose.

I tell my students to NOT buy a new lens when they buy their first, beginner DSLR. There’s no point. The kit lens is “good enough” for beginners until they learn how to use the camera and create great images with it. Only once you know what kind of photographer you are should you start looking to buy replacement lenses.

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear

Improving Your Photos Without Buying More Gear:

If you want to take your photos to another level, camera equipment is a natural place to look. It’s a very tangible part of photography; we work with our gear constantly. In fact, new equipment often does help you capture certain photos more easily, or it improves the technical quality of the images you take. However, it’s easy to get swept away in this marketing message and forget that there are other, better ways to improve your photos — techniques that don’t require new equipment to put into practice, and tips that are applicable to every photographer.

I try to drill this into my students. One of the “traps” beginners fall into is thinking, “If I just had a better camera or lens, I’d take better pictures.” That’s true – IF you already know how to take good pictures. Not by accident or luck but by intention and design. It’s like, “I really like driving. I drive an automatic transmission car but if I buy a manual drive Ferrari, I’ll become a better driver!” Not how it works. 🙂

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to Considered for your First Upgrade

As a new photographer and/or maybe a gadget geek, it’s tempting to run to your local camera store and buy one of everything they have. But until you master the tools you already own, buying even more gear is a waste of money and a distraction from becoming a better photographer.

That being said, here are four things (I disagree with the writer’s assertion you “need” Number 4) that you should consider buying as a new photographer:

So you’ve been getting into this photography thing pretty seriously ever since you bought that “good” camera you wanted. It turns out that you really enjoy photography, and you think you’ll be doing it for a while. You want to know what cool camera gear is out there, and you know there’s a lot, but what should you get first?

When you’re just starting your photography journey, it’s intimidating how much gear there is and how much it costs. It’s obvious that some photos are impossible without certain gear, and sometimes it’s not obvious when gear has helped a photo.

I’ve been shooting and helping new photographers to get the most out of their gear for years, so I have a few suggestions for great first investments in photography to suit your varying interests and budget.

5 Pieces of Photography Gear to considered for your first upgrade

What do you think? Any of this gear seem more/less important to you?

Starting Point Photography is Offering Two Live, Online, On Demand Beginning Photography Classes!

P5180145I’ve had several people ask recently about the live, online classes I offered last year so I thought I’d post some info about them.

The classes are limited to a max of five students each. In most cases, they will be one-on-one. They are done live and on demand via the internet using Google Hangouts. You sign up and tell me when the best time to do the class is – you can even do the class in your pajamas! Don’t worry – you won’t ever be on camera. 🙂

“Learn How To Take Better Photographs!”
Whether it’s the camera on your phone or a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, we’ve got easy-to-grasp tips, tricks and techniques we promise will make the next photograph you take better than the last one.

This is a fun, informative and entertaining 2.5 hour seminar for beginners and novices who want to learn how to take better photographs. Often confusing photographic terms and concepts are turned into plain English so you can start making the most of your photographic opportunities and capture those special moments.

The class will include:
“Photography Secrets Revealed!” – do you know the single most important element of every good photo?
“Creative vs Technical” – Learn how to take advantage of all aspects of photography
“Camera Differences” – what are the pros and cons of a smartphone vs a point and shoot vs a DSLR?

DSC_9712 by ShawnKing

“Learn How to Use that Expensive DSLR!”
Lots of people bought DSLRs but have never learned how to fully utilize all those wonderful buttons on them. So you end up using your expensive gear as if it were a point and shoot.

Let’s change that!

I’ve got easy to grasp tips, tricks and techniques I promise will make the next DSLR shot you take better than the last one. We’ll also talk about the features of a DSLR, how the various functions affect, positively and negatively, your images and how to “see a photo” before you push the shutter button and make changes to your DSLR to create that image.

The class will include:
“Photography Secrets Revealed!” – do you know how to capture the single most important element of every good photo?
“Creative vs Technical” – Learn how to take advantage of all aspects you DSLR camera
“DSLR Differences” – what are the pros and cons between full frame and cropped, between mirrorless and not?

And much more!

Strawberry_Best

Both classes are run by a professional photographer and a “Professional Explainer” for beginners and novices who want to learn how to take better photographs.

Past participants have said:

“Shawn was a great presenter. He was very informed and entertaining as well.”

“I enjoyed that it wasn’t too technical.”

“Inspired me to start taking more pictures and playing around with my settings…and reading my manual.”

“Friendly and engaging instructor! Very visual!”

Signing up for either class is easy. Individual classes are only $75 each or you can sign up for both (and do them at different times) for only $125. Simply Paypal payment to shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com and then let me know a time that is most convenient for you! If unable to use Paypal, let me know and we can make other arrangements.

The only time requirement is that you set aside approx 2.5 hours to complete each of the courses. Also, your computer needs to be able to run Google Hangouts. We can test it ahead of time to make sure.

If you have any questions about either class, please don’t hesitate to contact me at shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com.

Chandelier_stainedglass

Image vs Video

Which is better? A still image or a video?

Well, it’s an impossible question to answer. A lot of it comes down to personal preference. But, in some cases, the difference is stark and obvious.

Many of you may have seen this lovely photo of First Lady Michelle Obama give President George W. Bush a hug at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the weekend:

It’s a lovely photo, full of warmth, love and respect.

Today, a video from that same moment has been posted:

It’s a fascinating look at the differences in stance, emotion, feeling, result. Granted, our assumptions and knowledge of who these people are informs our opinions of the moment (would we feel differently if the two people involved were unknown to us?) but it’s still a very interesting example of the difference that can be had with a video vs a still image.

Welcome!

Welcome and thanks for visiting the site! I assume you’ve come to this page because you’ve heard about me from the great team at Finisterra Travel.

I am working with Finisterra to put on an amazing trip. They’ve arranged an exciting vacation to one of the prettiest, most interesting places in Europe – Portugal! My job is to help you learn how to capture images while on your vacation that you can be proud of, show to friends and family and even print off to create artwork in your own home.

DSC_9712 by ShawnKing

It doesn’t matter what camera you have – I will teach you how to create better, more memorable images regardless of whether you have a camera phone, a point and shoot, a mirrorless or a DSLR. You’ll learn how cameras work, how to see a scene better, and how to set your camera up to capture what you see.

While in Portugal, you’ll learn the basics of:
General travel photography tips and tricks
Specific camera tips and tricks
Street Photography
Landscape photography
Editing
Black and White shooting
Street photography
Sunrise/sunset shooting
Photo Critiques

There will be daily classes followed by hands-on shooting at various beautiful and historic locations in Portugal. And you’ll have plenty of time each day to wander around on your own (or hang out with me!) to see the sights, go shopping, visit museums, or just relax and do your own thing!

Strawberry_Best

If you are a fan of the Flipboard magazine app, check out the “Starting Point Photography In Portugal!” Flipboard magazine!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. My email address is shawn@StartingPointPhotography.com and I’m happy to answer any questions about the trip you may have.

I hope you can join us – I promise it will be a great trip full of fun and photography and you’ll come home knowing how to create better images on your next trip as well!

Our motto:

Taking pictures is easy.

Learning about photography is hard.

We want to make the latter as easy as the former.

We are Starting Point Photography.

Our mission is to help you

take better photographs with the camera you already have.

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Pete Souza’s 55 Favourites Photos of POTUS


Pete Souza’s 55 Favourites Photos of POTUS

I love Souza’s photos. Many of them capture a good man doing a very difficult job. I’ve often wondered how much of that impression is because of Souza’s eye vs how much of it is Obama vs how much of it is any human being in the same situation.

Cruise Ships leaving Vancouver harbour, headed to Alaska

6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos

6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos


Part of my move to start printing my photos comes from my desire to create and share something tangible and special in this age of digital noise and the culture of “now” and “more.”This post is written to other photographers who might be considering buying and using a photo printer. I’m printing exclusively with the Canon Pixma Pro 100 and couldn’t be happier with the results. Below are some reasons why you should start printing.

I’m a big fan of printing off some of your photos. Along with the reasons included in this post, there’s just a certain “something” about holding your photos in your hand in a tangible, physical form and a sense of pride to be able to take your own work and hang it on your wall or to give to a friend.

There are all kinds of places to do printing online or even locally. Here in British Columbia, I’ve used London Drugs to very inexpensively have some of my shots printed (I also have an Epson R2000 printer at home). Grab a cheap frame from Walmart and a couple of hooks and you’re good to go. I love when friends come over, see the photos on the wall, ask about them and I can say, with no small measure of pride, “I took that shot.”

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.2
  • Camera: iPhone SE
  • Focal length: 4.15mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/15s

How Peacocks Look In Mid-Flight

The peacock is the Kanye West of birds. After all, they do have over 200 colorful elongated feathers that attract not just their potential partners, but many people’s attention and cameras, too.

Source: How Peacocks Look In Mid-Flight

I love images of “ordinary” things doing stuff we don’t see every day. I’ve seen many peacocks but I’ve never seen one in flight.

The Yin and Yang of Photography: The Artist and the Geek

The Yin and Yang of Photography: The Artist and the Geek

One of the things I love about photography is it appeals to both the geek and the artist in all of us. On the geek side you have the technical considerations of making an image; the f-stops, shutter speeds, depth of field, histograms, dynamic range, all the stuff we must all master in order to communicate our vision.

On the artistry side things are a little tougher to define, shape, color, composition, mood, balance, and that fickle mistress light, to mention just a few.

To make a great photograph we have to find the balance between the geek and the artist.

I love this article because it encapsulates the two sides of photography that really appeal to me – the creative and the technical.

  • Camera: Nikon SUPER COOLSCAN 5000 ED

Leading Lines: From Roads & Borders to Infinity

Leading Lines: From Roads & Borders to Infinity

You may have seen these two photographs being shared around the Internet. They strike at something very profound in us, although we might not know exactly what it is. The Tuscan highway glows with lively warmth at a cool, meandering pace, while the Swedish/Norwegian border is cold and biting, but exhilarating. These images show just what a symbolic and telling tool a leading line can make.

This is a great example of who you are as the viewer affecting and influencing your opinion of a photograph.

Some people will view this as a lovely photo – and objectively, it is. But, as a certain kind of motorcyclist, I find this picture to be BORING AS HELL!

That ruler-straight road for miles and miles would just be tedious for me. I’m the kind of motorcycle rider who wants windy, twisty roads so I can throw my bike into corners, leaned over at higher than legal speeds. 🙂

So, who I am influences my feelings about the image.

2015 National Geographic Photo Contest

2015 National Geographic Photo Contest:

Every year photographers from around the globe share photographs that transport us to another place, connect with us emotionally, or stir us to action.


I love this contest! Even though I’ll never enter it, the photos represent the best of the best and show us not only the world around us but what is possible with a camera. National Geographic also allows you to download the photos for use as wallpaper on your desktop or phone.

What is your favorite shot?