Friday, April 22, 2016

Published 9:57 PM by with 0 comment

Image Acquisition - Best Practices

I think it's fair to say that, for most people, the immediacy of digital photography is preferred over the film equivalent of the good old days. It's certainly less expensive than film, costing virtually nothing to shoot as many images as we please. This can also lead to the side effect of amassing gigabytes of unneeded and unwanted image files.

Recently, I began to run out of space on my two main hard drives. I examined the data in greater detail and found that I had tens of thousands of photographs just sitting there unedited. The actual quantity of images didn't really surprise me but it was a wakeup call nonetheless. I realized that I'm shooting more photographs than I can ever mentally or digitally process. So it made me think about changing a few of bad habits.

1. Slow down and pay attention - When possible, I will put on the brakes while photographing a subject. I will try to imagine only having 12 exposures on a roll of film so that every shot counts. Each composition needs to be studied and fully contemplated before I press the shutter (assuming it's not an action or event-based scene). This is a good exercise in general because it will yield fewer photos and more "keepers".
2. Keywords - Most all photo editing software allows you to add keywords to the metadata in your image. It's wise to do this at the capture stage so that image of your dog in Barbados can be easily found amongst the thousand shots you took of your cat in Barbados. I haven't been doing this consistently so I will fix that right now.
3. Delete, delete, delete - When I have thoroughly reviewed and chosen my best shots, I will trash the rejects. I'm a photo hoarder, never wanting to delete anything for fear I'll need it for some abstract reason in the distant future. In the 15 years I've been shooting, this need has never materialized.

There are those who say that large hard drives are cheap and there's no need to worry about storing thousands of photos. That may be the case but, with some simple media management, I can spend more time editing and less time sorting. That's what I want.

Digital photography is a truly amazing medium and we have all the tools needed to manage our photographs efficiently. I think a marriage of today's technology and some time-honored principles from the past will make the experience more productive...and enjoyable.

My Adobe Spark (formerly Slate) presentation of this post is available here

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