Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Photography Work Flow...Post #1

I was recently giving a photo lesson to a few people and the conversation came up about my work flow. What happens after a photo shoot? What does the flow look from putting my images on my computer, to the final product. This will take a few posts to accomplish since different styles of photos have different work flows for me, but I'll give it my best shot.

Today, I'll start with people shots.

Capturing images in the camera is definitely an important part of the work flow process. You must learn how to tell your camera what to do. Learn how to get that thing out of the "Auto" mode. Once you do that, you still need to learn about composition and some other things. For those, check my previous blog posts.

Now comes the second part...software editing. Here is a list of the software I use. I use different combos of each product depending on the genre of the image I'm trying to create.

Adobe Lightroom 3.0
Photoshop Elements 9 (No I don't use the big boy version)
Neat Image noise reduction (Photoshop plugin version)
Photomatix Pro (Stand alone version for HDR)
Portrait Professional
Nik Software Complete Suite (Lightroom plugin version)

For people shots I almost exclusively use Adobe Lightroom 3.0. I first import all my photos into Lightroom. Once in Lightroom, I look through all my images in the "Library" mode and flag the ones I want to edit. This helps me weed out similar shots and ones where people have strange looks on their faces, or blink...etc.

Once I flag the images, I filter so I just see the flagged images. From there I switch to "Develop" mode and pretty much follow the work flow on the toolbar on the right. I work from the top of the toolbar to the bottom. First I adjust the White Balance. This is super important, something you can't do in free versions of software like "Picasa". From there I usually adjust exposure, primarily focusing on contrast, blacks, and vibrance.

I may do some spot editing after that...a powerful feature of Lightroom.

Quite honestly, that's about it for people shots. If I really want to give that air-brushed, magazine look, I use a program called Portrait Professional. Click on this link to see the homepage for this website. There is an impressive demo on the home page. This software is AMAZING for getting that magazine look. It takes a few minutes for each shot, but I've never known anyone who doesn't like the results. It's super user friendly too. It will shave 10 years and 20lbs off anyone. :)

In my next post, I'll walk you through my workflow on a regular landscape photo. Then in my last post, I'll walk you through my HDR workflow...the kind of photos that look like "paintings".

Leave a comment if this is something that will be helpful to you.

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