Saturday, August 28, 2010

Busy? Yes. Yes I am.

So it looks like I haven't posted for a while. That isn't for a lack of postable material but rather the time to post it. I am in the midst of wrapping up a number of photo editing projects to clear my plate for new projects.

I made a post on DP Challenge awhile back and while the numbers I used were arbitrary I think the notion itself is sound. It was something like this. If I have 100 pictures after sorting etc to edit and it takes an average of 5 minutes per image that's 500 minutes or  over 8 hours.  If I can spend 30 minutes longer shooting to get the images right maybe I can get that average down to 2 minutes? Even if I include the half hour extra time I'm still well under 4 hours.

So what sorts of things can I do to "get it right"?

Exposing correctly. Getting close is "good enough" but I don't want to have to fix my exposure in post. Read that histogram during shooting and get it closer.

Get the lighting right. I tend to do a lot of dodging and burning in post. If I light my subject correctly I don't have to dodge and burn because I'll use my lighting to get the effect I want.  Any modifications will be minor and relatively quick. This one's a little tougher because I am still learning about lighting and there's only so much I can do with two flashes and an umbrella.

Pay attention to the background. It absolutely sucks having to mask the subject so I can blur the background because its too distracting. It takes time to load the image into an external editor (since most of my editing is in Lightroom) and it take 15-20 minutes to get it right. BIG consumer of timer. (Like I said, the numbers above were totally arbitrary and while I haven't actually calculated my average time on an image its probably more than 5 minutes)

Look for distracting elements in the scene. Bad shadows are killer to remove.  That branch over someone's head is terrible to remove. Even those blades of grass that don't fit in the scene. All of these things can be removed before I look through the view finder.

Get the settings right. Oh my god. How many times have I gone on a shoot and come back and realized afterward that I had my ISO cranked to 3200 in broad daylight. Then I would have to run noise reduction on an image that shouldn't need it at all.

Get different images. My numbers above are assuming that I have already run through my images and selected the keepers.  A lot of times though I need to pick one of six images that are nearly identical. True, you want to have that extra shot to prevent missing an important moment but six? And they all look pretty much the same? Work the image and move around and explore. I'll get better images and actually be able to make an intelligent decision on what to use.