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

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

Lightroom Tutorials


30 Amazing Lightroom Tutorials for Better Photo Editing – Exposure School:

Lightroom is extremely useful for organizing your photos and for post processing. With each new version of Lightroom that has been released more and more of your editing and processing can be done directly in Lightroom without needing to even open Photoshop. Another nice thing about Lightroom is that the learning curve is not as steep as Photoshop’s learning curve.


I’m a huge fan of Lightroom and this site includes a lot of cool and fun tutorials to use Lightroom to make your shots even better.