Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You Have To Have A Plan!.....

If you've been shooting Still Film professionally for any length of time, you have certainly already come up with a workflow that suits your personal style and needs. Everyone has they're system for culling through slides, negatives and prints that works for them . But photographers new to digital can spend several years and waste lots of money trying to figure out the best way to manage the voluminous amounts of data created by our modern high res digital cameras. I personally have benefited from working at a studio where major investments of time and money have been put into the switch from film to digital. It has not been easy and the learning curve is painful (to both your wallet and behind). It requires many long hours in front of your computer and a healthy vocabulary of good cuss words...and Coffee, lots and lots of coffee! I still wouldn't trade my digital for all the fujichrome Velvia and Ektachrome 100 in the world! If your still fighting the switch from film to digital........ go ahead and retire, I will gladly take the jobs you could have had.

1) I know exactly what is going to happen to each image before I press the shutter button, how it will be edited, processed and delivered to the client. Without that foreknowledge you are already at a disadvantage.

2) Don't try to edit your images on the job site. Keep everything you shoot (Don't be foolish and delete in camera) and back up that CF/SD card as soon as is possible without slowing down the job at hand. I don't ever format a card until the job is backed up on two hard drives . I sometimes don't format the card until the client has the final high res files. CF cards are Cheap, your reputation is priceless! Buy enough cards to shoot your job and have a few extras available just in case alien spaceships land on the highway on the way home! Be prepared..

3) You should never go out the door with cards still full of images from your last job! Stop being so lazy and clean (Format ) those cards before you go to your location or start your studio session. Nothing is more frightening than having to format a card when you are unsure that backups have been made of the Raw Files. Once again buy enough cards, don't be a weenie.

4) If you're not a Wedding or Sports Photographer, shoot in Raw Format. Jpeg's are for sissies. Sure, those jpeg's come pre- sharpened and overly saturated straight out of the camera and they look great, but miss your exposure and you're screwed. Raw files contain all the data captured (More than you can see) and can save your bacon with an underexposed or slightly overexposed image. Every highlight or shadow that your camera is capable of producing exists in the lossless compression of the modern Raw format. For all intent's and purposes it is a perfect negative. Ansel Adams would be shooting in Raw format if he were still with us.

To be continued...