Now What?
Presented by Glenn Springer, TIF, RHCC

You've taken a bunch of pictures with your digital camera.
So what do you do with them now?

I took this picture just south of Sudbury on Hwy 11. Then I cropped it, cleaned it up and used the Oil Paint filter in Photoshop CS6 to finish it. It's an outstanding picture when printed on matte or canvas paper.

This is another original slide from 1973. My baby daughter just celebrated her 40th birthday.

This was a 35mm slide shot in 1972. In the original shot, you couldn't make out the details in the shadows in the foreground, but with a little work in Lightroom and Photoshop, it was possible to bring them out.

 

You’re out there shooting zillions of pictures. And keeping more of them since you’ve been following my articles (if you missed any of these articles, go to www.photography.to and click on “Tips”. All of the articles are there, with supporting photos and extras)! Now what?

Today we’re going to look at some strategies for organizing, storing and editing your photos. Don’t turn the page so fast: it’s not difficult but you have to start doing it right from the beginning.

I won't say I took hundreds of images to come up with this one, but I will say dozens. The file I worked from was the best of the bunch. I should throw out the others. Do as I say, not as I do...

First let’s get backups out of the way. You need to make backups, and keep at least one somewhere else. Ask any computer guy: it’s not IF your hard drive fails, it’s WHEN. It will fail. All your pictures are on that hard drive. And what if someone stole your computer, or your house burned down. Your precious photos are gone, gone, gone. Buy a couple of external hard drives and work out a strategy.

Hard drives fill up really fast when you shoot 16 or 24 or 36 Megapixel photos. Take out the garbage. Get rid of the ones you’re never going to look at again. Back in the old days, I took a trip across North America in a VW Beetle. I came back with over 1000 Kodachrome slides (such nice bright colours, according to Simon & Garfunkle)! I still have them, stored in boxes in the garage.

I’ve NEVER looked at them. I have about 80 “keepers”. What’s keeping me from throwing out those other 920 slides?

In those days, 1000 slides was a LOT. Today, photographers shoot that many images in an afternoon! Why not? It’s free, it’s digital! But your files multiply overnight while you’re sleeping, like rabbits. Next thing you know, you need TERABYTES of storage space for your pictures.

Sort through your digital images. Harden your heart. Find the ones you’ll never ever look at again (I guarantee you, that’s 90% of them!) and toss them.

Classify your pictures. There’s lots of programs out there that will let you do that. The one I use will let me flag and even colour code them, but do that right away when you import the pictures. It’s much harder to do later, and if you procrastinate, you’re stuck with thousands of unorganized pictures.

OK, I’m done proselytizing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Sometimes it takes a lot of exposures to get that perfect expression, I shot over 500 images at the Highland Yard in Minden last weekend. Although almost half of them were technically good, I actually used only half a dozen images. Check my blog to see the ones I liked best.

 

 

The program I use (be patient. I’ll share that with you in a minute!) lets me keep all my original pictures just like keeping negatives in the old days. When I want to do something with one of those pictures, I export them as JPEG files, which is a format you can use for something. The JPEGs don’t have to be as big, but it’s important to keep the originals in case you want to use them for something else later.

You don’t need a high resolution picture to see it on a monitor or share it on the internet. But you sure do, if you want to print it some day!



This looks good on screen but when I printed it as a 1 meter wide acrylic face mount, I needed all the pixels I had in the original image! It looks spectacular, by the way, and if you love it, you can buy it. Contact me!

What about editing your pictures? One of the huge advantages of the digital era is that you now have the ability to correct and creatively edit your pictures in your computer or mobile device. Purists will argue that you should get it right in camera and not play with it on computer, but why? It’s about what you make, not how you make it. We just have a different set of tools than the oldtimers had; they used smelly chemicals and stuffy darkrooms, we use digitizer tablets and software.

Most people don’t want to get into all that complicated computer stuff. It’s fine, you don’t have to, but you CAN. I warn you, though — it’s addictive! Just one more little tweak…

 

 

I told you I would share the tools I use: I rely mostly on a program called “Lightroom” and on “Photoshop”.

 

Both programs come from a company called "Adobe". They share the same basic processing engine (using the word "basic" and "Adobe" in the same sentence is an oxymoron. Adobe doesn't believe in simple programs!), but then they differ completely.

Lightroom has several modules in it: the main ones of interest are "Library" and "Develop". It helps you to organize and catalogue all your photos and as long as you're diligent about keywording your images, you can find anything in a second. For example, in my 80,000 picture database, I have over 1500 of them labelled "Haliburton", of which 590 are deemed technically acceptable, 211 have been worked on and 70 have been awarded 4 or more stars which means they're good enough to show.

The trick with Lightroom is to set it up correctly in the first place or you'll soon get in trouble. I can help with that: contact me. Although it's a very deep program, the learning curve is not too high. Brand new, it's $150 or less, and you can usually do better. It runs on MAC or PC and I highly recommend it.

 

Photoshop is a whole other kettle of fish. There's basically NOTHING you can't do in Photoshop, and there's 12 different ways of doing everything. The learning curve is HUGE, but you can slowly work your way through it. I don't know ANYONE who knows everything in the program. It's expensive too: you can buy it for $600 or $700 or subscribe to the "creative cloud" version for $20 or $30/month.

There are other programs out there: Photoshop Elements is one, priced about the same as Lightroom, without the bells & whistles of the full Photoshop package. A good place to start would be with Lightroom and Elements.

Contact me if you want to learn more.

 

Sometimes you have to do a lot of editing in Photoshop to arrive at the image you had in mind. This is also available as a large format print: check it out in the gallery link below.

 

 

Although a lot of the basic work for this image was done in-camera — proper lighting, background, reflective surface — a lot could have been done in Photoshop.

 



 

 

Journalists aren't allowed to modify images. This is as-shot, but it was 'polished' on the desktop. The name of the image is "FireBug" and the Toronto newspapers loved it!

In summary, think about how to safeguard all those fine digital images you’re making so they don’t disappear in thin air one day. Clean out the ones you don’t want and classify the remainder because you’re going to have lots more pictures than you ever imagined. And think about what you want to do with them, how you want to share your work with others.

Links to FACzen Photography:
We teach you how to become a better photographer. And we sell fine art images. Please check us out at the links below.

           

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