After the shoot...

April 26, 2015

Here's a shot of my flat the morning after a big rugby championship game.  Not a pretty sight.  Usually I clean and put away all my gear pretty quickly but yesterday's match was shot under mostly constant drizzle rain. (think Seattle weather...).  I was tired after the shoot but even though all my gear is Nikon professional grade and highly water resistant, I still wanted to allow all of it to dry out before putting things up.  (At least that was my excuse this time and I'm sticking with it!) Anyways, I'm always pondering about ideas to blog about and this just happened to be an easy one. "After the shoot."

So the thinking is, normally, most pro photographers just take a bunch of photos and download to their favorite website, kick their feet up and have it easy the rest of the day - correct?  Not so fast and I wish it was so.  I'll take you behind the scenes of post photo shoot to let you know how I manage my workflow.

First of all, I usually clean up my lenses - get dirt, sweat and dust off of everything.  Equipment is expensive and I plan on keeping my investments in top condition at all times.  I normally do this same day as the shoot, unless it is a night time shoot.

Second, and most important, download the digital photo files to your computer.  I normally don't delete the photos from my camera until after I publish photos. I follow the 3-2-1 computer backup routine - keep three backups - two on-site and one off site.  I use a Mac, all photos to to an external G Tech Raid 1 drive and backing up to a standalone hard drive (Western Digital My Book) locally daily and also to "the cloud" (Backblaze.com).  Good practice, doesn't cost much and gives me much "sleep insurance". Ready for the zombies...LOL!

Third, and this is where the actual workflow begins.  I start reviewing all my shots and give a quick thumbs up or thumbs down vote.  Think Roman coliseum.  First impression - you either got a great shot or it bombs.  Can't fall in love with your own work.  In sports photography, its a tough thing.  A tad out of focus, the action isn't there or whatever.  Two seconds per photo max.  At this point, normally, 75% of my shots fall on the editorial cutting room floor.

What??? What did you just say?  75% thrown away?  Yes. Why is that?  Let me tell you, I am looking for a certain type photo.  A photograph that comes out and slaps you in the face.  There's a difference between a snapshot and a great photograph.  (This is an elusive thing.)  You have to be really hard on your self in this area.  Yes, I could post tons of photos that are "ok" and my family and friends would say "that's great", but what would someone else think about it?

Ultimately I would rather post 10 awesome shots than 100 so-so shots.  Ok so lets get back to workflow.

Fourth, open up Adobe Lightroom (current version 2014 CC).  $10/month for photographers.  Awesome program.  Used it for years.  Why is it called Lightroom? Well, many years ago cameras took photos on film which was developed in a darkroom/lightroom.  I spent many days in total darkness developing film during my college days.  More on that later.

Lightroom allows you to modify the final photograph to one that gives you the best presentation.  Mind you there's a difference with enhancing a photograph and grossly modifying reality.  We don't do the second. Essentially what I do here is balance the subjects (rule of 3rds), fine tune exposure or blow up the action a little bit to get a better viewpoint.  And sometimes the horizon is just not level!

Once you have your photograph gallery finalized, then you are free to post and print.  In a future blog posting I will take you thru my Lightroom workflow for one or two photographs.  Starting with the raw image and progressing to the final product.  The process is a lot of fun and I hopefully will take the intimidation of the process away and make it more enjoyable for you.

Hope this gives you a little insight to the post photo process.  These extra steps help you get to the photograph you are looking for.

Mike

 

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