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

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

Why Asking What Camera Settings Were Used is Not as Helpful as You Think

“Settings are only a small part of what makes up that image. Lighting conditions, post-processing and the outcome the photographer wants to achieve, are just some of the factors that will dictate what settings the photographer uses. It’s akin to having the correct ingredients for a cake, but not knowing the method behind making it, or the reasons behind that method. Relying on camera settings alone does not tell you anything about the environment the image was taken in, nor does it give you an indication of what the lighting conditions were like.”

Source: Why Asking What Camera Settings Were Used is Not as Helpful as You Think

The article makes the good point that, even if you know exactly what an image’s settings are, there is a lot more to what goes into a great photo. Knowing the settings can help but don’t expect that, just because you know what settings a photographer uses, you can create the same memorable image.

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.

Hot Air Balloon Festivals

Hot-air balloon festivals are a visual treat for many. Not only do they provide a stunning perspective for their passengers, but their playful shapes, colors, and themes make these floating vessels excellent subject matter for photographers, both on the ground and in the sky. Here is a look at some of the 2015 balloonist gatherings around the globe. The Boston Globe

I’ve always told my students, if you ever want guaranteed great photos, find a hot air balloon festival.

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?

infltr: Filter Photos with over 5 Million Color Hues

I’m a complete iPhone Photo App Junkie (IPAJ) and have over four hundred (and counting!) of them. Here is the latest cool one I’ve found:

infltr is a camera app that lets you add filter before you capture a picture. Move your finger and see the filter change in real-time. Pan across in any direction to discover infinite filters.
Affiliate link:
infltr: Filter Photos with over 5 Million Color Hues

The only downside is the filters only occur on live shots – that is, before you take the photo. You can’t (yet) import photos from your camera roll and use the infltr engine to transform the image.

Edit Any Photo on the Internet with Polarr’s Plugin

Petapixel:

Popular browser-based editor Polarr has released a new plugin for both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that enables users to instantly edit any photo.

This will be useful for my classes to show live editing but it might be scary for photographers and undoubtedly has copyright issues associated with grabbing just any image off the web and “making it your own”. If you use this, please be respectful of the artist’s copyright.

LiveBlend by Eric Kunz

Everyone knows I’m a complete iOS photography app junkie. Like all junkies, I can’t help myself. But apps have been around so long it’s getting harder to find ones that are truly different or interesting enough for me to recommend.

The 99 cent LiveBlend by Eric Kunz (affiliate link) definitely qualifies.



I love double exposure shots but they have been beyond my (non-existent) Photoshop skills. And the other iOS apps I’ve tried haven’t given me results I’m happy with. Liveblend is the easiest to use double exposure app I’ve found if only because of the live preview ability.

Now, not every photo works as a double exposure so it’s best to experiment with LiveBlend’s free downloadable silhouettes to get a feel for the app. It also has issues with photos that don’t fit into what the app wants – some photos will be flipped to landscape mode even when you don’t want them to be. And there’s no way in v1 to play around with the image translucency.

All that being said, it’s still an interesting app that, for only 99 cents, can create some memorable images.

Black and White on Granville St

Inspired by my friend Antonio Rosario’s black and white shots he’s posted on Facebook, I went out yesterday specifically to shoot in black and white.

I set my Nikon D600 to show me the images I took on the LCD viewfinder only in black and white. Like most things, it takes practice (I shot 500+ photos with only 16 “good enough” to post and only half of those were in B&W) but it was fun and made me think about what I was shooting and the lighting differently.

It will be a long time before I’m anywhere near as good as Tony but I like the exercise.

Granville St

 

This is where the slick photos of military jets come from


The Washington Post:

Like other fighter jet manufacturers, Lockheed Martin has a team of photographers and videographers to record images of the planes it produces. They pose them at dawn and dusk, against mountains and over oceans.

Photographers such as Liz Kaszynski chase the jets in trail planes, documenting test flights and training missions—at high speed and altitude. But at other times, she calls the shots, a director with a camera, calling for a barrel roll here, a dive there, all documented in a sequence of prepared moves.

Wow. Talk about a photographic dream job!

F-22 Raptors at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. (Source: Lockheed Martin)

Kiana @ Robson Square Salsa!

I had a blast going to “Sunday Afternoon Salsa” at Robson Square here in Vancouver to shoot some beautiful people, none more so than my new favourite dancer, Kiana! Here are her favourite shots.
[justified_image_grid lightbox=prettyphoto lightbox_max_size=large]

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Credit: Shawn King
  • Camera: NIKON D600
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s

Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, Moonset – easily found with PhotoPills

Architecture
I’ve been using this insanely cool app for a couple of months now. It’s called “PhotoPills” (app store affiliate link) and, if you’ve ever wondered not only when sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset happen but where in the sky they happen, this is the app for you.

Every pro photographer will tell you that the “best” light is the “Golden Hour” – that time approx 30 minutes before and after a sunrise or a sunset. This app does what a lot of other apps do – it tells you what time the sun rises or sets. But PhotoPills (odd name) goes even further by showing you visually where the sun or moon is right now relative to you and in which direction those events and others are going to happen. It also does it into the future.

Here’s an example. I went to my home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia in June. I knew I’d be in a particularly scenic spot on the Friday. I was wondering where the sunset was going to be and at what time. I told the app where the location was on the map, forwarded to the date and time I was expecting to be at there and the app told me exactly what direction and angle the sun would be at. It also told me (sadly) there would be no moon that night so I didn’t have to plan that shoot.

The app does so much more. From an augmented reality view of the sky (so you can plan shots even better) to determining the best long exposure times or figuring out the field of view for any camera/lens combination. You can even save points of interest, share them and see what other shooters have bookmarked.

The only downside is…no – not the price. At $10 for a full featured app, it’s imminently reasonable (although, my eyes would like to have a native version for the iPad. It works fine on the iPad but…). The biggest downside is the learning curve.

We are so used to having our iOS apps be dead simple to use that, when we come across one that needs more effort, we tend to give it short shrift. But if you stick with the app, watch the videos on the PhotoPills web site and take in what they are trying to teach you, I promise it’s worth the effort.

For those of you who either don’t want all the power or are too cheap to spend the money, Rick Sammons has a 99 cent app called Rick Sammon’s Photo Sundial (app store affiliate link) that is a universal app similar to but not nearly as powerful as PhotoPills.

I’d recommend starting off with Photo Sundial and then, if you find it useful, moving up to join the Big Boys by using PhotPills. Neither app will dissapoint though.