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Category Archives: Workflow

Post Production Workflow

As photographers there is always the struggle of “how much time should I be spending in post?” There are two ways of looking at it.

1. Turn and Burn  2. Artistically Valued

The first is obvious and usually sloppy. The second implies too much time and noodling. I stay away from the turn and burn although sometimes things just need to be handed over quickly. I just photographed some invitations for Mistyka of Special Occasions and they needed them asap. They wanted me to just give them the photos straight from my camera and have me shoot in JPEG. I had to draw the line by telling them they would have them within 24 hours because I never shoot JPEG. Even though 99% of everything I shoot has minimal work done to enhance the photos I still like to make sure the photos I give clients are the best ones and they are color balanced and exposure corrected. Those of you who feel like the 20 hours you spend “artistically valuing” the 1 hour photo shoot you did for an engagement session should quit now and just put a sign up that says “will work for food.” What kills me even more (and has nothing to do with post production) are those people who give their potential clients 3-4 hour consults. Just keep throwing your money out the window. Anyhow, back to post production. We need to have a happy medium when it comes to working jobs. My rule of thumb is to try to keep my post to the number of hours worked. So, if I shoot an 8 hour event, my post production time is around 8 hours. Many shooters will tell you to work about half the time in post that it took you to shoot. I find that to be impossible if you include EVERYTHING other than the album design. We are talking about downloading the files, deleting bad images, color correcting, exposure correcting, and full enhancements on 60-100 images for online including watermarking, loading to my blog, loading to Facebook and tagging people. Then loading the full suite of images (for me that number is around 1500 for a full wedding) to an online viewing and ordering company. I use SmugMug. If you are able to do all that in 4 hours, PLEASE tell me how. I recently purchased RPG Keys and will be trying it out this season so I will give you the verdict soon but I am skeptical about it cutting my time in half. I am hoping to shave maybe 2 hours off my edit time. There is a lot of care that goes into post, but you also have to draw the line. I do not go back and re-evalutate images over and over. I do not give my clients multiple edits of the same image (it says that you are wishy washy and cannot decide how the image needs to look.) I do not fix every blemish and wrinkle on the bride (just on my main picks for my blog post.) I do not us preset enhancements or textures on my photos. Anything that is popular today will not be tomorrow. Wedding photography should be classic and timeless. I really think the textures on photos that is popular today are fun and sometimes work really well, however not on every photo. Come up with your own style and create your own look. Don’t follow others look by adding their prefab textures and stylized elements to your photos. Your work should stand on its own. YOU decide what your imagery should look like. Over time you will develop a signature look. Stick with it. Your clients will trust you more. Okay, enough ranting. Just remember to evaluate how much time you are actually spending on each job. Do it right. Do it well. But don’t get stuck archiving one job for too long or I promise you, you will learn to hate photography and that, my friend is no good for anyone!

(see below photo for how my actual archive system works.)

Picture 4

Post Production Workflow with Jen O’Sullivan from Jen O’Sullivan on Vimeo.

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Copyright © 2010 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com
Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer, Jen O’Sullivan is a boutique wedding photographer who specializes in portrait journalism.
Jen O’Sullivan Boutique Wedding Photography | 357 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90211 | 310-494-6547
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Work Flow: Post Production Time

A common issue with digital photographers is we now spend most of our time staring at a computer. This should not be so. We want to be shooting, not working in LightRoom and PhotoShop. The general rule of thumb for post production time (basic exposure and color corrections along with exporting, and proofing) should be no more that the time it took you to shoot. Half the time is better. For example: if you shot an 8 hour wedding it should take you about 4 hours in post with a maximum of 8. If you are going over 8 hours in post, you are losing money and probably losing your mind.

Jen is a boutique wedding photographer based out of Beverly Hills, California.
She specializes in alternative, photojournalistic wedding photography and is known for capturing the unique definitive moments during your event.

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com

Work Flow: Start Out Organized

I teach the bookbinding workshops at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. We are coming up on the new term and I am reminded of something I always tell my students that also applies to my own work habits in my office. “Make sure your work area is clean before you get started on a project.” As an artist, my office can turn into quite a hazard zone, with many projects going on at once. The best thing for me to do when I have so much work “on the table” that I feel a bit overwhelmed is to spend an hour cleaning up my workspace. The cleaner the better. I truly helps me concentrate on what I need to get done. Those of you feng shuiers will agree 100% that you are more productive when you are working in a clean and organized environment. Even my really whacked out artist friends agree, and I know some pretty “get down and dirty” artists. So take some time and clean up. The time spent getting things picked up and put away will most definitely make a larger impact on your work flow.

Jen is a boutique wedding photographer based out of Beverly Hills, California.
She specializes in alternative, photojournalistic wedding photography and is known for capturing the unique definitive moments during your event.

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com

WORKFLOW: Photo Actions for Watermarks

I often get asked what is the best way to add your watermark to your images before placing them online. There is no simple answer as it depends on the type of watermark you have. It it is always in the same place you can easily create a simple to very complex watermark using PhotoShop Actions. With an image open go to the Actions window and click on the right drop down arrow menu and click on New Action. Name the action and hit record. Everything you do on that image will be recorded so make sure you get the steps right. I usually do a save and close in the action too. Make sure you save it to an “action dump” folder on your computer and transfer them later. After that you can automate the entire process by going to File, Automate, Batch. Not certain if this is the same for PhotoShop CS4 as I am running CS3. Otherwise, just hit the play button on every image you want the watermark to be on. You will need to create two actions: one for vertical images and one for horizontal.

If you are really interested in a fully automated system you must check out MikeD’s ProofMaker. It may be just what you are looking for.

Jen is a boutique wedding photographer based out of Beverly Hills, California.
She specializes in alternative, photojournalistic wedding photography and is known for capturing the unique definitive moments during your event.

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com

WORKFLOW: Lightroom Black and White Conversions

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Lately it has been the hot topic across several platforms that I am involved in: “how do you do your black and white conversions?” There are multiple ways to do this in LightRoom and in PhotoShop. I just learned a new way tonight from one of my students (that I will most likely never do since I can get the same results faster in LightRoom.) Everyone does it the way they feel most comfortable, however time is of the essence and I will always take the short cut if in the end I get the same results.  Someday I will have to count how many ways I can come up with. There must be at least 40 different ways. They will all render your black and white image slightly different and you will have to choose which way works best for your aesthetics and workflow. Here is how I do them:

I work in LightRoom and fully destaturate the image using the “Saturation” slider. Then I bump up the brightness, bump up the contrast, and occasionally at 1-4 points of black. I then use the lens correction to taste darkening the corners just a tad. Whatever you do, in PhotoShop or LightRoom, do NOT convert to grayscale. This will render a flat image and will not print well.

Feel free to comment on this blogpost (the actual blogpost and not the Facebook import) how you do your black and white conversions.

Jen is a boutique wedding photographer based out of Beverly Hills, California.
She specializes in alternative, photojournalistic wedding photography and is known for capturing the unique definitive moments during your event.

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com

WORKFLOW: RAW vs. JPEG

What is the difference between RAW & JPEG? In essence, RAW is the uncompressed unprocessed image data for a captured image and JPEG is the same thing only processed through your camera’s processor and compressed for best storage capacity. RAW contains all the image data, while JPEG contains only the vital data while clipping what your camera processor feels is unnecessary. While sometimes correct, many times the clipping is too much.

Old Arguments for JPEG (with counter argument in red)
- More available image bursts (buffer doesn’t fill up as fast.) Today’s cameras do not have this issue as they did in the past.
- Less time processing. Once loaded, if your images were shot correctly, all you need to do is hit “export” and you are done.
- Need more space to shoot RAW (not enough CF card space or hard drive space.) Hard Drive space and CF cards are really inexpensive.

Arguments for RAW
- Higher dynamic range.
- Better final image quality.
- Uncompressed image = no data loss.
- Ability to decide later if you want an AdobeRGB image or an sRGB.
- Shooting JPEG lacks ability to correct white balance.
- Shooting JPEG lacks ability to bring back highlight detail.

Q&A

Can you correct a JPEG image in a RAW processing software? Is it the same as if you shot in RAW? Yes and no. You can import a JPEG image into a RAW processing software such as LightRoom, however you will be just masking the problems, not correcting them. If an image was shot over exposed and your highlights are blown out, you will not be able to recover them, only hide the highlight loss making your image look plasticy.

What format should I be shooting in? Whatever format you feel most comfortable in. If you have never shot RAW before feel free to shoot in RAW + JPEG for a couple times just so you have the feeling of a “safety blanket.” Once you try it, all your fears will go away when you see how easy it is to process the imagery and how fun it can be; not to mention how much better your work will look.

Is there a preferred method? Most professional photographers are now shooting RAW. There may be the occasional sports shooter out there who needs 40 shots in a row, continuous burst, but other than that, most are shooting RAW.

If I choose to shoot in RAW is there ever a reason to shoot JPEG? Yes, when you need to show your images right away to clients for a preview you will want to shoot RAW plus small JPEG. This is especially useful when a bride and groom want the earlier part of the day projected on a screen at the reception. No need for large files as the small ones are much easier to quickly edit and load for the show. There are also great little printers coming on the market where you can transmit your imagery right to the printer (no PC required) and it will print out as you shoot. Think of the possibilities! One more area would be for anything you do not care too much about. Examples might be: images of items for sale on the web, quick mug shots for reference and casting, copywork of documents. I am sure you can think of a few more such things.

All in all, RAW is the way to go. Try it, you will like it!

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com

WORKFLOW: Surveys

Part of your studio workflow should be getting feedback from clients. While not always easy to ask for, you should try to get over it and just ask. You will be surprised at how willing people are to write up a few sentences about your services. For wedding photographers a great place to get “shout outs” is on Wedding Wire. If, you are looking for something that your clients do not have to create an account to give a referral or need something that is not wedding related, a great place to use is Survey Monkey. They make it free and easy to set up and track surveys.

To view more helpful photo tips go to JensTips.com and learn something new today!
Copyright © 2009 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com