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Archive for July, 2010

RAW vs Jpg in Lightroom

July 30th, 2010  |  by  |  published in Featured, Shoot

RAWvsJpgLOGO

DISCLAIMER : This is my 2c and experience. Nothing more. YMMV.

I started writing this article as the old debate between RAW and Jpg and why I always have and always will shoot RAW. Kinda boring, right? Well, in playing around a bit, I found something pretty interesting. I took 4 RAW files and converted them my usual way in Lightroom. I then took those same original files, converted them to Jpg and then synched my Lightroom settings from the first batch of RAW files. I was really surprised at how different they processed!

But first, here’s the textbook stuff :

I’ve always consider RAW file format to be like a negative of an image, whereas a Jpg file to me is the printed photo. If you need to make adjustments to the image, wouldn’t you rather adjust the negative rather than scanning a print and adjusting that?

Technically, RAW files hold the raw sensor data. They need further processing. This may sound like a pain to die hard Jpg shooters, but that extra processing is where RAW files shine. White balance, contrast, blown highlights, blacked out shadows, are all far more recoverable in RAW.

It’s about freedom to play with a file and recover mistakes.

Some thoughts to consider : I use Photo Mechanic to cull my RAW files and it’s lightning quick. No time lost here vs Jpg culling. Yes, when you work with RAW files, there is an extra step, you have to process them to Jpg. One point for shooting Jpg. You can fit less RAW files than Jpg onto a card and they take up more memory on your hard drive. 2 more points for Jpg.

Here are the images that needed a bit of saving/playing in Lightroom. A few blown highlights, some hard shadows, a little HDR and some of my favorite Totally Rad! Lightroom Presets. Here are my surprising findings, follow me….

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RAWjpg2

RAWjpg3

18,000 points for shooting RAW. In my opinion, of course.

The images speak for themselves. In my past experience I’ve always found editing Jpg files in Lightroom to yield frustrating results. My examples here show that not only do you get better results in processing from RAW files, but that they process SO differently as well. Just food for thought. That’s all. Not telling anyone their business or anything. ;)

~Zofia

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Cows & Cows & Cows

July 25th, 2010  |  by  |  published in Play

A moooving musical interlude.

Obviously, I’m not above making a moo pun.

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Back up to the bumper, baby

July 21st, 2010  |  by  |  published in Featured, Shoot

by Andree Kehn

Once upon a time, in what feels like another lifetime, my house burned to the ground. I had my camera and a half a bag of clean laundry in my car, but other than that I lost everything. My college portfolio, the actual film-negatives from my sister’s wedding, all the photos I had shot in my lifetime. All gone. If we’re ever drinking a beer together and you want to hear how stupid one person can be, I’ll bend your ear.

But for now, realize that everything I do regarding backing up my client’s work, I do with the aim of having my business survive another house fire, a burglary or lightning strike.

Backing up files is ridiculously important but still one of those geeky things I don’t want to spend any more brain power on than necessary. I wanted to set my system up so I could establish a back up routine and then forget about it.

Here’s how I keep track of my images from the moment they are shot until they are stored.

I shoot onto individually numbered cards so I can keep track of the cards without popping them into a computer. I write my name and cell phone number on each card, to maximize the chances the images will be reunited with me in the remote yet horrifying prospect that my cards are separated from me before they are backed up.

My first priority is to make a copy of all of the images and physically separate it from the originals. If I am working with my trusted assistant, she will download my compact flash cards onto a small portable drive while we are still at the wedding. I use an old 80 gig Lacie drive with the awesome orange bumpers. I think of it as a really big thumb drive.

My assistant wears a very uncool fanny pack and the shot cards stay in the pack unless they are in the card reader. I impressed upon her early in her career that if the venue went up in flames, all I wanted to do was run over and grab her, confident that the cards were strapped to her body. She’s my niece; so a little drama makes for great comedy.

She knows no matter how many conflicting things I am yelling at her to do, or what I am asking her to balance on her head, that her A1 most-important-job-in-the-universe is to protect those cards. She never ever leaves them unattended. She’s quite a bit calmer than me, so this is pretty easy for her. ☺

Each card gets downloaded into its own numbered folder on the drive that corresponds to the number written on the surface of the card. Later on, when I am reviewing the images, if there ends up being some corruption of the files, this step makes it easy for me to isolate the problem card and re-import or attempt image recovery.

Eventually, you will have a corrupt card on your hands. It’s nerve wracking, but I use Photo Rescue, image recovery software, and, knock on wood, I have always been able to save corrupted images.

My primary goal is to never have every copy of my work in a single physical location (see photo one). As soon as I can, I make a copy and separate them. If my assistant has backed up to the portable drive while we are on location, then that copy stays in the glove box of my car when we stop to eat or sleep on the way home. The cards stay on me. Yes, the instant we walk out of the venue, my assistant hands the dorky fanny pack back to me. With great sigh of relief.

If I haven’t brought my assistant with me, when I get to the office, I download the images to my computer and walk the compact flash cards back out to my car, where they stay until I have made an off-site back-up of at least all of the RAW files. Otherwise, I just download the portable drive to my desktop computer.

I do my actual work on the internal drives of my Mac Pro desktop (tower) and back up to a tower of back-up drives. All four drives on my Mac Pro are mirrored to an identical set of drives in the Burly enclosure system.

A lot people use RAID, as a part of their back-up regime, but I can’t wrap my head around it. I need to understand my back-up system in order to be comfortable with it. I simply copy everything from my working drives to another set of drives. Then copy them again.

I back up my work with Super Duper, which is “Smart Update” software. If you’ve only done minor changes to your files, the backup is very fast. You can schedule the updates to happen automatically, or choose to manually back up at your discretion.

It’s very simple. Select the drive you want to copy and then select the drive you want to copy it to. I name my drives so the copies all start with the same letter. It’s one less thing to confuse myself with. :)

After the job, all my RAW files get burned to DVDs, marked with a media safe pen with the date of the shoot and the clients name. I then store the discs on a spindle by year. (Each job contains up to a dozen dvds worth of RAW images.) There is some debate as to the wisdom of piling dvds on a spindle as a storage solution, but my plans are to never access these dvds again. This is the ultimate oh-my-god all three drives failed at once scenario.

On the drives, I archive all of the “Good” Raw images, finished-for-client jpgs, album layouts, the lightroom catalogue and a folder of high-res “favorites” that I use for blogging, giving to vendors, entering in contests and for updating my website. After I deliver the work to the client, I rarely go back to any other folder than this favorites folder.

I organize my files the same way for every job. I have a folder with the client’s name and inside that folder is a folder for every different type of file I create such as Keepers, Rejects, Album, etc. To stay consistent and speed things up, I have an empty master version of this folder that I use as a template. I copy and rename it with the wedding date and my clients’ names. Then I drag the Raw files to this folder.

Before I format my compact flash cards, I take the back-up drives out of their Burly enclosure system and bring them to my friends house (the “off-site location”) where I have a third set of mirrored drives just sitting on a shelf, waiting for me. I bring the off-site drives back to the office and run my back-up software to bring this final copy up to date. There is now a copy of the clients files in two different locations, and I am free to retrieve the cards from the glovebox of my car and format them for reuse.

This process keeps a total of three mirrored copies of all of my data in two separate locations. I back up my operating system and applications the same way.

It’s boring and dry to think about, but getting a system that runs smoothly will take a huge load off of your mind.

I would love to hear how some of the rest of you back your data up!

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Twitter me this

July 14th, 2010  |  by  |  published in Featured, Style

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What is this Twitter thing all about? Some people are still asking that question, and with good reason.
On the surface, it just looks like another computerized internet time suck. And it can be, if you aren’t careful.

Much like any of the other networking-type sites out there, from Facebook to profession specific forums, you’ve got to be sure that you are using the site as a tool to help streamline or bring in business, not just flush productive time down the intra-webs commode.

I am not claiming to be a Twitter expert, not by a long shot. Therefore, I will not write about how one can gain more followers, how you can create business from Twitter. Sure, I have had my fair share of great connections and jobs that have come from Twitter and therefore do not see it as a waste or a novelty. But others have written far superior pieces on the techniques you can take to gain biz & influence those in your Twitter Stream.

Examples of these would be Twitter tips for bloggers by @ProBlogger and Twitterquette via TwitterTips.org

I will say, it’s an honest to goodness great way to connect with others in your professional circle and in turn connect with their circle. Quickly and easily, literally with the click of the ‘follow’ button.

But following a whole bunch of folks does not a true and lucrative connection make. Twitter is more than just a ticker of info, sports updates and embarrassing quotes from the wee hours of your party night. Twitter is meant to be interactive, if you truly want to expand your network.

You have the opportunity to showcase your talents, your thoughts, your offerings to the Twitterverse. However, to be the one that constantly says ‘Look what I can do’ will annoy your fellow Twits.

How to combat that? Aim to share.

In the Twitter world, that means RT (ReTweet). If someone you follow tweets about an exciting new workshop or informative blog post, RT it! Retweeting goes a long way in forging solid connections within Twitter.

Find interesting articles based on your profession of choice, inspirational posts, fun quotes, and link to them.
While some accounts are based strictly on talking business, the way I use my account is to post a bit of everything. I love to share great blog posts by other photographers & artists, as well as links to YouTube videos & other creative sites that may add a spark of inspiration to some one’s day.

If you come from a place of sharing, others in turn will share for you. It’s the whole ‘if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ approach.

And in this world of high tech connections & Twitter terminology, it’s nice to be a part of that sharing circle.

You could make it all about your celebrity obsessions or you could follow those that you admire in your field or those that inspire you and create your own custom community. It’s a very quick way to compile a network of folks from far or near, whose advice & expertise you may admire, possibly aspiring to one day emulate.

Those you may not have fathomed would ever speak to you through average communication avenues may now tweet you back and say ‘hi.’ A personal example, one of my most favorite artists, @BrianAndreas of @StoryPeople ‘spoke’ to me one day after I RT one of his posts. It sent my heart a twitter (ahem) and most certainly made me an even bigger fan just because he took a few seconds to ‘tweet me’ back.

You have no idea who is following you, you have no idea who is reading what you tweet. This may sound like a precursor to a scary stalker film. Alas no, nothing so sinister. I like to view Twitter as a place of possibility, of potential, and of sharing. In 140 characters or less.

RT @ShootStyle: If you follow me on Twitter, b sure 2 say ‘HI’. Would luv 2 know u r out there! @staceydoyle

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Get Together at Temple Downtown in Providence

July 7th, 2010  |  by  |  published in Featured, Mingle

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Yes, it’s been entirely too long since we all got together to share a drink, some stories, and some laughs – so please come join the ShootStyle gang on Sunday July 25th at Temple in Providence. We’ll be getting there around 6pm and who knows when we’ll be leaving. The last time everyone got together with us, we closed the joint down:

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Temple is located at 120 Francis Street in Providence, RI [google map]

You can let us know you’ll coming by RSVPing to the event on our facebook page.

See you there!

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Ashley O’Dell Inspires us at the Wedding of Jenna & Chad

July 7th, 2010  |  by  |  published in Featured, Inspire

Ashley O’Dell didn’t let a little rain squelch her creativity when she photographed Jenna & Chad’s wedding at the Liberty Hotel.  Her creative use of reflections and mad storytelling skills really captured the beauty and elegance of the day.  Check it out here: http://blog.aodell.com/2010/jenna-chad/

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AT-AT DAY AFTERNOON

July 2nd, 2010  |  by  |  published in Play

An cute stop motion short for people who are fond of pets or Star Wars.

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