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!

Nifty Fifties – Why I Love 50mm Prime Lenses

Nifty Fifties – Why I Love 50mm Prime Lenses

Before zoom lenses became the norm most cameras came with a 50mm lens as standard. Since then, the humble 50mm prime has fallen somewhat out of favour. Which is a shame, because 50mm prime lenses can give you high quality and versatility at a low price point. On an APS-C camera it’s one of my favourite focal lengths. Let’s take a look at why.

While I always caution beginners to not buy additional lenses until they are familiar with their camera and the lenses that came with it, I break my rule for the “Nifty Fifty“. As this article shows, it can be a great lens for a lot of photographers, beginner and advanced alike. It can be found fairly cheaply (but you get what you pay for) and can really open a lot of creative avenues for you. Plus, it teaches you how to “crop with your feet” and has much better low light capabilities than your kit lenses.

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.

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6 Mirrorless Cameras that are Killing It

6 Mirrorless Cameras that are Killing It

The last four years have brought some pretty big changes in the photography industry, and the transition made by many photographers from the “classic” to DSLR to the mirrorless camera is one of the most important. Mirrorless cameras have become just as common as DSLRs. Yes, they’re killing the higher end compact camera segment (in cahoots with the smartphone industry), but evolution cannot be stopped and this is one case where change is for the better.

Mirrorless cameras are awesome because they’re lighter, faster and better looking than DSLRs. Some of them deliver equal performance while others are just shy of achieving professional level image quality. Without further ado, here are 6 awesome mirrorless cameras that we recommend.

Even though I love my Nikon D600, I’m a big fan of mirrorless cameras, too. If you want better image quality and flexibility than your camera phone but don’t want to “lug around” a big DSLR, there are some great options in the mirrorless market for you.

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.

10 Most Common Mistakes Made by New Photographers


10 Most Common Mistakes Made by New Photographers
Whenever I teach, I get a lot of requests to review images. Over time, I’ve started to notice that a majority of the mistakes I see come from the same small group of errors that are repeated constantly, particularly by less experienced photographers.

Please keep in mind that all of these common mistakes can also be advantages when done well and with purpose. This article is not about those times, but is an observation about how often I see them done the wrong way. As a photographer, you need to build the right foundation of skills before you can successfully veer away from them.

One of the most important things you can do as a beginning photographer is think. Think about why you are shooting the image and what you want to convey. Many of these tips are things I think about almost subconsciously (because of lots and lots of practice!) when I go out shooting.

Think more about your shots – you’ll take fewer and you’ll capture better images!

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.

Back Button Focus Made Easy


Back Button Focus Made Easy

Learn how to master the pro skill of back button focus in just three steps so you can get sharper shots of moving subjects.

You may not be familiar with this shooting technique but, if you have a DSLR, I’d encourage you to find out how to set it up on your camera. It takes a bit of getting used to but I promise that, if you master it, you’ll get better shots.

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.

Sunrise, Sunset with Rizon

Every photographer will tell you that the Golden Hour – the half hour before and after sunrise and sunset – is the “best” time to shoot outdoors. The light is “different” – less harsh with a different color temperature and quality. But the times of sunrise and sunset keep changing from week to week and season to season.
Rizon
I use Rizon (affiliate link) to send a message on my phone each evening reminding me of when sunset is (I’m less likely to want a message when sunrise happens!). From the developer:

The idea behind Rizon was that it’s usually a pain for the casual photographer to find out when the best time of day to shoot photographs outdoors is. Sure, there are other apps that tell you the same sort of information, but sometimes it can be an information overload. I just wanted a simple way to see when Golden Hour was happening, along with Twilight and the time of day to avoid harsh shadows.

Rizon uses your current location and date to work out the times for you. You can also use a custom location (which is available offline) and custom dates to help you plan photo-shoots in advance.

I’m also really forgetful so we have 2 different types of reminders. Quick Reminders let you just set one-off reminders for the upcoming two Golden Hours or a custom date. Repeat Reminders are sent every day (depending on the settings you choose) so you don’t have to do anything. Rizon will just ping you when to get outside.

It’s a well done, simple, inexpensive app (affiliate link) that can serve as a great reminder to get out there and take pictures!

Worldwide Photo Walk 2014 – Waterfront Beginner Shoot!

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Join me on October 11th, 2014 for the “Worldwide Photo Walk 2014 – Waterfront Beginner Shoot!”

Worldwide Photo Walk 2014:

On Saturday, October 11, 2014, the whole world will be walking again during Scott Kelby’s 7th Annual Worldwide Photowalk™. Taking place in cities around the world, photographers of all walks of life and skill levels gather together to socialize, share and inspire during this one-day, worldwide event.

There are (so far) two photo walks here in Vancouver – I’m going to focus mine on and for beginners and novices shooters and encourage them to not just shoot but to ask questions and learn to shoot better!

Can I Use that Picture?

Infographic_CanIUseThatPicture
Can I Use that Picture? The Terms, Laws, and Ethics for Using Copyrighted Images:


Need to use an image but not sure if you have the legal and ethical right to do so?

We’re all asking the the same question over and over again: can I use that picture?

My rule above all else? Ask permission to use all images. If in doubt, don’t use the image!

This is a BIG DEAL to a lot of people, especially if you are a content/image creator trying to make money from your work. It’s an awful feeling when your work is misappropriated even by accident.

Get the Best Out of Photo Apps on Your iPhone


Dan Rubin for The Guardian:

Dan Rubin, editor-at-large of the Photographic Journal and an early Instagram adopter, takes a tour of London to test some of the best smartphone photography apps. By shooting a variety of people and places, Dan shows how using some specially selected apps throughout your photography workflow can dramatically improve the shots you capture – and offers some cool tips and tricks of what you can do with those shots afterwards.

Fair warning – THIS VIDEO WILL COST YOU MONEY! Watching it “forced” me to buy $5 worth of apps. 🙂

Here are links to some of the apps he talks about in the video and ones I bought (they are all referral links so if you buy them, I get a teeny tiny kickback):

AntiCrop from Adva-Soft

TouchRetouch from Adva-Soft

Average Camera Pro from Dominik Seibold

Cortex Camera from Whimsical Productions

VSCO Cam from Visual Supply Company

Rubin’s article has a number of other apps he doesn’t mention in the video.

Tagg.ly allows Users to Watermark Photos

Tagged
Fast Company:

Watermarking can still be cropped out by someone who aims to actively steal the photographer’s work–but that’s another problem for another day. In the meantime, a solution for the accidental erasure of credit and attribution for a photographer’s work is a good start.

This is an easy app to use but don’t expect it to prevent someone from stealing your work. A dedicated thief will get it regardless.

I’d only use this app for “branding” or promotional purposes. In that light, it works nicely as seen here.

Back Button Autofocus

If you have a DSLR that allows you to configure some of the myriad of buttons on it (do a Google search for your camera), try this “Back Button Autofocus” tip. I was surprised at how much faster and more accurate my shots were because of it. It does take getting used to and, like most things photography related, you need to practice.