Saturday, August 15, 2009

Organizing Your Photography Part III

Sonoma Winery Entrance
On with our discussion of how to organize photography.   If you are not interested in this discussion, scroll through to take a look at the photography, then go to the end of the post for some brief notes about the photography.
As a reminder, here is the process overview:
  1. Import photos through Lightroom to the current year catalog.
  2. Process Photos and mark the “select” photographs
  3. Export and copy select photographs to the gallery
  4. At year’s end, close out the calendar year and export to a collection of current year selects:  (e.g. 2009 Select Photos).
  5. At year’s end, copy both the closed year catalog (e.g. 2008 Catalog) and the select collection (e.g. 2008 Select Photos) to a secure storage device.
  6. Revise you gallery structure to be consistent with how you think.
Step 2:  Process Photos and mark the “select” photographs.
After importing my photographs, I first look for those that I believe are unusable or unsalvageable even using some futuristic technology not yet devised – use your own definition of what this might mean.  Lightroom provides a “deselect” flag that is helpful with this.  Once I have marked all the undesirable shots, I delete them…both from Lightroom and my hard drive.
Next, I use the 5 star rating system built into Lightroom to begin the process of evaluating and working my way down to the best shots in the group.  Generally, I will make a pass through all the shots and place a single star on all the shots that have some potential.  I then use the Lightroom library filter to see only those photos with a single star.  I then make a second pass to further refine my selection.  This continues until I am confident I have selected a) the best shots in the group, and b) the selected shots meet the criteria of “is this good enough to hang on my living room wall?”
The final part of this step in the process is actually conducting the post processing.  Sometimes this results in downgrading of my assessment of a photograph.  In other words, sometimes I see something in a photograph that I believe will make it something spectacular after post-processing.  This does not always work out, and the photo does not make the final cut.
After processing and final evaluation, I have a high degree of confidence in those photographs that are the “Select Photographs.”  These shots are then marked with the “select” flag in Lightroom.
Dancing at Bay to Breakers
Step 3:  Export and copy select photographs to the gallery
Once the final processing is complete and final selections made, I export the final product to a “Gallery.”  These photographs are exported at the highest quality so they are ready for printing.  My gallery is a series of subfolders under a root folder named “Gallery” that you can think of as distinct portfolios.  I distinguish these portfolios by subject area such as
  • Architecture
  • Landscape
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Nautical
  • People and Portraits
  • Street Photography
  • Sports
I make additional “portfolios” such as Architecture – Abu Dhabi, British West Indies, or Liwa Date Festival based on the criteria that to form a portfolio, a minimum of 10 photographs are required.  In general these additional portfolios can be distinguished as a further refinement of a principal portfolio (i.e. People and Portraits – Venezuela), a place (i.e. Machu Pichu), or an event (i.e. Obama Inauguration 2009).
In the next and final post in this series, we will cover the remaining three steps.
Seals (1 of 5)
I hope you enjoyed the photography in this post.  It is not mine.  It was not taken with an expensive DSLR.  It was not taken by a trained or experienced photographer.  These photographs were taken by my teenage son Ryan with a 5 megapixel Casio point and shoot camera while vacationing in Northern California.
OK, I have to admit he had a bit of help from me with respect to the post processing, but that was only a slight enhancement of what were fundamentally good shots.  Each shot uses some very interesting lighting, they are both composed in a way that draws the viewers eye into the scene and guides your eye immediately to the subject of the photograph, each have interesting subjects, and even without words, each of these photographs is telling a story.
Ryan’s photography represents several of my fundamental laws of photography:
  • The best camera to have is the one you have with you.
  • Fill the frame.
  • The best way to improve your photography is to make photography.
Nice job Ryan!
Go make some great photography!

1 comment:

  1. Craig, the second shot looks like the Bay-to-Breakers run with Charley Chaplain in the background and Marlin Brando on right. Nice job, Ryan! That is a cool photo.