Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Busy doing photoshoots

Phew... Four photoshoots in a week and a half. Hundreds of images to organize, select and process. Christmas is applying the usual shopping stress to my life and my day job also steals a lot of my time. And I believe there is also a family that require some attention...

At least its been some really fun and interesting shoots, ranging from artsy B/W's to Glamour shots. I am actually really looking forward to spending some time on the post-processing part as I can feel how my Lightroom, but mostly my Photoshop, skills are improving. I've also meet some really interesting people over the last few weeks, giving me some pointers to where I might cut a few corners and utilize some plugins. As an example, a fellow photographer suggested using a Photoshop plugin for skin retouching and I must say that it has really increased the turn-around time on my image processing!

Last night I also got this idea of doing a series of 'Christmas Lights House Portraits' around my 'hood. Basically a series of house 'portraits' of Christmas decorated houses, all taken with a nifty-fifty from the same distance and processed the same way. Shouldn't take more than a couple of clear nights and should be fun!

Talking about Christmas... What sort of photo related stuff is on your list this year? Mine is surprisingly limited. A StreakLight and a Capture Pro Camera Clip is all that it has come to... Have I really reached a point where I've realized that acquiring more gear, does not make me better? That has to change!

Merry Christimas and have a great Yuletide!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On day 8 of my 31 days of learning Photoshop

I've decided to become fairly skilled at Photoshop retouching, so every day for 31 days I have to do something.

Though I must say that I still have a fair way to go before having all the tools in my belt (it will be way more than 31 days) I must say that I'm getting faster at it. No longer spending much time looking for tools and the 15 most used shortcuts are already muscle memory. In total I think I've spend 8 hours editing over the last 8 days and I've learned a LOT!

Anyway, check out my last quick and dirty model retouching (the animated GIF will show a before and after).


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Finally getting to know Photoshop

Photographers tool numero uno, Photoshop, and I have never been good friends.

I've played with it, I understand Layers and I understand Filters and the tools. But I have never been able to put it together and use it for something useful.

So I decided to spend 30 minutes on Photoshop every day, until I find that I'm good enough to do what I need to do.

Scott Kelby's book 'Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers' is by my side, but I have yet to open it. First I want to get the hang of actually navigating the interface.

Just finished my first self-paced 30 minute project and feel that I'm finally getting the hang of it, so I've decided to show my first 'before' and 'after'. Nothing fancy, just a pretty girl from a shoot I attended last weekend.

What did to the image was the following:
  1. Removed blemishes
  2. Fixed the background
  3. Smoothed the skin
  4. Created catchlight in left eye
  5. Did a tiny bit of body scaping
  6. Did a bit of PS makeup to enhance the facial features
 Anyway, hope you like it! And wish me luck in my Photoshop endeavors :) 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Having a little fun with Low Key

Went to a meetup with a bunch of cool photographers, the other day. Had some fun taking Low Key portraits. Now backlogged, processing them as always :) Anyway, here's a few samples!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Processed some photos from a modelshoot the other day.

It was a very fun experience. Found the shoot on meetup.com and decided to go and I have no regrets!

The organizers did a superb job and it was a good location, some beautiful models and all-round some nice people.

Anyway, here are a few of the photos.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A few photos from a West Vancouver walk

Put on my Nifty-Fifty and went for a little walk in West Vancouver, Canada.
Tracks in Mist

The Beach

The Pier

The Bench

Beach in fog

Splintered wood

The Sign

Moving Marble!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Lightroom Cleanup Smart Collections - Part I

My workflow is...

...pretty much set. The actual processing workflow can be found here, and feel free to use it!

What I haven't spent much time on, is describing what happens to the
photos when I'm done processing them.

What happens?

Well, all photos that I want to process are moved into a Selects folder
on my computers harddrive (SSD so I don't waste time with slow disks).
When I'm done with a photo, its either marked Green for
done/finito/finished, Yellow for possible future processing (most
likely not!) or Red for 'Forget
about it. Thought it was good, but its crap. I'll keep it for reference

When I'm done with a set of images, I move them from my SSD to my NAS,
from within Lightroom. Easy as drag and drop.

So why the cleanup?

Well, sometimes an image slips through. Images get moved, but are not
marked Green, Yellow or Red. The OCD part of my brain hates this, so it
came up with a Smart Collection, that lists all photos that are in a
Selects folder on my archive drive, but are not colour marked! Then
whenever I have some spare time, I go through a handful of images in
that collection and mark Yellow or Red. When that is done, I'll process
the remaining images and mark them Green

This is what the collection looks like

...and these are the settings

If the folder contains Selects and is on the P: drive (my archive NAS)
and its not one green, yellow or red, show them in the Collection.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Saving space by converting to DNG - Lightroom Tip

Spray and pray.

If you are anything like me, when you come home form a shoot, personal or business, you have thousands of images to process. Some are junk, most are ok and some are really good. You want to delete the the junk and process the really good ones... But what do you do with the ones that are just ok?

Bringing it down to a select few

Using my Lightroom process (which you are more than welcome to follow), I pretty quickly get separate my photos into three categories. Selects, Rejects and everything else. My Selects are processed and the Rejects are deleted.  Lets take an example. I shot the KWF Karate World Championship a few months ago and came home with roughly 2.000 images. When I reached point 5 in my work-flow, I was down to 400 images that I wanted to use, 400 that I wanted to keep and 1200 that I just deleted.
The 400 'good' photos were processed, mostly using presets, and I was technically done. They were handed over to the client. But there were still 400 images that were too good to just throw out but at the same time, I didn't really think I would be using them.

Storage! Diskspace is cheap, but...

All my finished projects are stored on my NAS (a Synology box, that I just love), and there is plenty of room for the next few years, and as everyone keep saying like it was a Internet Meme or a mantra:
"Diskspace is cheap!".
That is correct, but one thing that people tend to forget is backup!
More and more people are moving their backup to the cloud, be it Amazon Glacier, BackBlaze or something else and a common thing about them all, is that they are all dependent on your upload speed. In my part of the world, upload speed does not come cheap or fast (Yay, Canada!) so the only way you can make a online backup solution feasible, is by bringing down the amount of data to backup.

Bring in the DNG!

When I'm done with my image processing, my files are in two different folders.
  • \Selects\ which contains the good ones, and...
  • \RAW\ which contains everything else.
To save space, I convert everything in the RAW folder to DNS with lossy compression. Why? To keep the speed of the DNG (embedded preview), keep the EXIF
data and all the keywords.

  1. Select all the images in the RAW folder
  2. Click Library -> Convert Photos to DNG...
  3. Select...
    - Delete originals... (if you don't, two versions of the images will be
    keep and you won't save any space)
    - Embed Fast Load Data
    - Use Lossy Compression (you might loose quality, but will absolutely
    gain space)
There you have it. As soon as you press OK, Lightroom will start processing your images and converting the images that you will probably never use again, to DNG, saving you space, bandwidth and time!

What is the savings?

I took a test library with 89 RAW images taking up 2.36 Gb of diskspace and converted them to DNG with the above settings. After the conversion the images take up 432 Mb of diskspace. That is a a 82% savings! Think about what that saves in backup time! YAY!

Whats the draw-back?

Of course there are a drawback. Using lossy compression DOES remove some of the information in the images. They will not be as good a base for further adjustment, but then again; they weren't images you were going to use anyway.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Time to bring the blog out of hibernation!

The blog has been hibernating for a couple of months, as my family and I decided to move to another country. 75000km away!

Now living in Vancouver (Canada) and as the dust settles I find that I have a bit more time to focus on my interest. So prepare for regular updates again.

That is all.

Now go shoot!