Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little About Workflow

This past Sunday I attended a workflow workshop with Nick Didlick which was as a part of the Digital Expo that ran over the weekend. He shared a lot of information and was an engaging and witty presenter. More about Nick and his photography can be found on his website. Also buried amongst oodles of information and pictures is a page containing a plethora of information and links. Check it out.

The workshop was not hands on and it was quite brief at only two and a half hours. Workflow is a pretty intense topic so Nick could not penetrate the depths on any one aspect. However, it was time well spent and a few items resonated with me.

The first thing that stuck with me was Nick seemed to have a lot of software. All sorts of tools, programs as well as the big heavy weights like Photoshop. He also brought a new app to the table I never heard of - Photo Mechanic. Photo Mechanic was an integral part of his workflow. I chose Apple's Aperture for my workflow. There are many others but Adobe's Lightrooom is amongst the most popular. And, nowadays all the apps run on both Mac and Windows. All this is great but the gist of it is, it does not matter which one you use just pick one that suits your needs and get to know it intimately. I cannot stress that enough - know your workflow app inside and out!

Another idea Nick covered as part of the workflow process was metadata. Simply, metadata is data about data. So if your image is the data then the metadata is all the other information about the image but not the image itself. All the information on time, date, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, etc is metadata. This extra information is usually called EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data. Two other formats were also introduced to store even more metadata. These formats are called IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) and XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), the latter being developed by Adobe. Regardless of the format in which you store this data, the important point is that you take the time to add this metadata when you download images from the camera. It is much easier to do it at download time then to try and reconstruct it later. And, if you're anything like me with an ever-growing stack of images to process, you will never get it done otherwise.

The final idea I want to share is about finding subjects. Nick had a great point about finding and making great pictures in your own backyard - your hometown. He explained that travelling to exotic locations and taking pictures of popular and well known locations is fairly easy and overdone. Do any of us have really amazing pictures of the places where we live? Probably not. I know I don't. So pick up your camera, head outside, wander your city, town, village - whatever - just go make some good pictures in your own backyard.

Keep taking pictures.

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