digital workflow

photography workflow – back-up plans (update)

A previous article, photography workflow – back-up plans for your main computer, dealt with two ideas:

  • safe-guarding yourself against catastrophic failure or loss of your computer
  • preparing yourself for when your hard drive crashes.

I do think the ideas there are solid – making sure you’re not vulnerable to a single point of failure in your system. The comments from others supported this and also offered a lot more advice and other possibilities. With that, I slightly adapted what I was doing:

  • my bootable clone hard drive is now a fire-proof & water-proof safe made by ioSafe
  • Backblaze as an off-site / online duplication of my files
  • Using the PackRat feature of Dropbox

With all this in place now, I think my back-up plans are very solid, especially with some extra redundancy thrown in there …

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photography workflow – back-up plans for the main computer

The photograph above was shot with my iPhone while I was waiting for a corporate photo shoot to commence. The sky over lower Manhattan was grim and rainy. You can see the reflection of the fluorescent lights inside the room. This gave the city scene a Blade-Runner-esque feel. And with that, this image is perhaps suitably Apocalyptic for this topic – what are your plans for catastrophic failure of your main computer?

The idea for this article comes from a discussion with another photographer – she cringed every time I mentioned, “so what happens to your business if your house burns down and your computer is gone?” My other remark that her computer’s hard drive most likely will fail at some point, didn’t seem to lift her spirits either.

So with that, let’s look at those two points:
1. Safe-guarding yourself against catastrophic loss of your computer.
2. Preparing yourself for when your hard drive crashes.

The solutions are fortunately quite simple and elegant …

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Adrian, a regular follower of the Tangents blog, (better known as the ever-helpful Trev in the Tangents forum), has the guest spot this week. Adrian has expanded on his explanation of the actions that he mentioned in the comments section of the recent article on Selective Sharpening in Photoshop. Even better, he has made it available as two downloadable actions as well.

Photoshop actions to help with Post Processing after RAW conversion (free download)


The following downloadable actions with the instructions on their use can save some time and grief on getting a good result after RAW conversion. Even using your RAW converter may not get a fully desirable end result and these very easy to use actions will help in that regard. They are not complicated and you don’t need any plug-ins to achieve a simple lift to your final image.

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Photoshop action – selective sharpening (download)

Jim McGuinness, a regular follower of the Tangents blog, has made available a tutorial on how to do selective sharpening in Photoshop. Even better, he has made it available as a downloadable action as well.

You can download the action and the instructions on how to use it, from here.
Right-click & save-as, 2 of the files files:
– the action as either Windows / Mac compressed file
– the instruction as a PDF

Expand / uncompress the sitx file. You’ll get a Photoshop icon.
Drag your image onto the icon, and photoshop will run it.

I’ll let Jim follow up for any questions that may crop up.

[ Jim McGuinness is an Adelaide based wedding and family portrait photographer ]


a RAW workflow – the first step – changing your default settings

As a bit of a forward nudge to those who are entirely new to a RAW workflow, or who hesitantly moved to shooting in RAW – here’s the next step forward – changing the defaults for your RAW file.

Before we even get there, shooting in RAW is very much part of the serious photographer’s environment. Shooting just in JPG is rarely an option. As I have mentioned, there are few occasions where shooting in JPG might be an advantage. So with that in mind … RAW it is. And has to be.

Now, some notes for the newcomers to shooting in RAW.
There are a few things you have to keep in mind:

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RAW vs JPG – the final discussion

The RAW vs JPG debate has raged on to the point where pretty much every photographer has been worn down, or left confused. It’s been done. But bear with me on this one. It’ll be quick. And convincing. Then we really are done with this. Here it is:

There is NO photographer on this planet who is good enough to get:
– correct white balance,
– correct exposure,
– correct brightness level,
– correct overall and local contrast,
– correct saturation,
– a good black point,
– or anything else you’d like to add,
DURING the moment of capture, for EVERY situation they are likely to encounter.

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a kid’s studio portrait

January 5, 2011

children’s studio portrait – lighting setup and post-processing

The lighting setup was very simple. Mostly because there wasn’t much space in the area where I set up my home-studio in my dining room area.  But also, because a complicated lighting setup wasn’t necessary. Just two lights. One light on my subject – this adorable little girl; the other light on my background.

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your best digital work-flow tip / your best office work-flow tip

I’m once again on a mission to get more control of office work-flow, and to streamline my digital work-flow even further. In a post much earlier this year, I described my Mac awakening, and how a few key things changed my work-flow completely and made my life easier. De-cluttering my desk then made a big difference.  Adding some pieces of technology in a more sensible way to my office too, made my life easier and allowed me to work faster.  Well, I’m again changing a few things to improve my work-flow. (More about this later perhaps).

In a kind of parallel to this, there was the recent article on the extra items in your camera bag – with some ideas on organizing your camera bag by adding some non-photography essentials. There were some contributions by readers of the Tangents blog who came up with additional suggestions. Mention was also made there of the Shoot Kit – a neat collection of the smaller essentials, all neatly packed into an accessible canvas holder. It contains safety pins and a sewing kit and headache tablets and such.  The kit, when rolled left-to-right is secured with a Velcro strip, but rolled right-to-left is easy and silent while opening. (Check the link to the shootkit for the exact details of what is included).

Tying this all together thematically with the idea of organizing your work / life / camera bag, there was a small contest, (now closed):

– post your best digital work-flow tip, and / or
– post your best office work-flow tip.

Even though the contest is closed, everyone is still invited to add their tips and ideas.

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adding my logo to images

October 6, 2010

I get frequent questions about how I add my logo to the images, so I thought I’d explain it in a blog post. Here it is …

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reducing the blue color cast in white clothing

Often when working in the shade, or anywhere we need Cloudy or Shade white balance, we’ll often see a blue tint in the white clothing.  I suspect this might be due to detergents being used which give a blue-ish tint to white clothing to make them appear cleaner.  Or perhaps this is from UV light when we’re working in cloudy conditions or in the shade.  However it might be, we will often get that blue tone in white clothing, as in this photo below …

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