My Process

Late Addition To This Entry Which I Actually Wrote This Weekend: I have been in Knoxville for a few days as my Mom has been put in the hospital with what we now know is a gallstone which will be removed today. Possibly along with her gallbladder. Keep her in your thoughts.

I have always loved to take pictures. I have always adored photography. I just wasn’t able to merge those two into a hobby until 2006 when I could finally afford to buy my first real camera. Since my first outing with that camera (slideshow here) I have been growing as a photographer. I still have such a long way to go, but as I learn, I realize how dependent I am on other people sharing what they’ve learned, their process, their opinions. It occurred to me this weekend that maybe I’ve reached a point where documenting my process could help out other people. So…here I am! Documenting my oh-so-thrilling process.

First…is the outing. NikkiZ has been begging me to let her dress as a princess and walk around town. I thought I’d make a game out of it for pictures and we took her downtown last night to find her castle. She picked out her own wardrobe and accessories (hence the two purses) and I gave her guidance as we explored downtown Huntsville and played pretend while looking for her castle. When I came home, I transferred all pictures using the organization method I’ve been using for years. I keep a directory with the year/month (2009_08). And inside that directory, I have two other folders: SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) and edit. I copy EVERY photo I take into the SOOC folder. I only delete photos that are simply bad or redundant. I then open my favorites and…even if they need no editing…I save them into the “edit” directory. And if they required no editing, I try to add an “sooc” to the file name.

DSC_0015 (3)sooc

I upload everything in the “edit” directory to my flickr page. It gives me a backup of my favorite photos and an easy way to search as I try to be very diligent about tagging.

Now…most photos? I edit. By keeping the originals in the SOOC directory, I can always go back to the original and do other/different editing somewhere down the road. I do this often for birthdays or Christmas. I’ll revisit photos for gift ideas.

I edit almost every photo I print and/or upload to flickr. Most of the time I at least crop photos. In terms of other editing I rely heavily on PW Actions because they are great for beginners. Just a click away. I’ve started exploring more advanced actions (like MCP Actions) but I still do almost everything with PW’s.

With my kids the shotgun method of photography is the best. I just take as many pictures as I can. When I sit down at the computer, I clear my mind and just look at each of them individually. In my pictures, the post-processing is just as fun to me as the photography itself. I don’t always know if I’ve caught a good expression until I get home. Many times…the expression is so good that I change the entire composition of the photo just to draw the attention to the expression.

My Process
Cropped. PW Actions Slight Lighten. PW Actions Lovely and Ethereal.

Since kids move so much…I often just need a basic crop around them in the frame. But to me? Even just a crop makes a huge difference.

My Process
Crop Only

I often look at my photos and try to make them Print Worthy. What can I do to this photo to make it worth the cost of a print to be hung on the wall? Sometimes I open a picture on the computer and immediately I feel a certain story to the photo that a little editing can tell. Turning a nice photo, but probably not Print Worthy, into an interesting photo with a story to tell that would look great on any wall. This always works with non-face photos. My kids often don’t look at the camera, but sometimes even the back of the head can tell a story.

My Process
Crop. PW B&W Beauty (I think?). Boost.

My Process
Lovely and Ethereal x2

My Process
PW B&W Beauty.

And then…sometimes? I just play. I just see a photo and start clicking until something speaks to me. Many times I start over (another of PW’s Actions!) and try a different route. But often? I end up with photos I adore and send immediately to be printed.

My Process
Crop. Lighten. Lovely and Ethereal x2

If you want to look at all of the photos from our outting this weekend, you can see the slideshow here. This was a great outing and NikkiZ wants to do it again with friends next time.

Of course, she also wants me to dress as a princess next time.

That’s NOT going to happen. In case you were wondering.