Titanic, the Iceberg and me.

My favourite movie of all time is  Jim Cameron’s Titanic.

This movie is the ultimate expression of my passion about the ill fated ship, sunk by hubris in cahoots with one huge Iceberg. The answer to just about everything can be found in the story of Titanic, or at least, Jim Cameron’s take on it.

So what does Titanic have to do with photography?  Not a great deal, but the iceberg does. See the bit of the iceberg  sticking about the water,the sparkly, shiny white bit?   It is only a small fraction of what lies below. One ninth, the be precise.

Created by Uwe Kils (iceberg) and User:Wiska Bodo (sky). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) via Wikimedia Commons

Underneath lies a beast of mammoth proportions. A bit like the lot of a professional photographer, actually.

When you hire a photographer, you get the sparkly white bit in your finished images, for a price that may seem a little steep for the small amount of time it takes to shoot the photos at your event.

What you don’t see is  the depths of the jagged and time consuming work that goes by the name of “editing”, and I like to also add, “curating” to bring you images you want to keep forever, not just post on Facebook then forget about. That’s what smartphones are for, and they do it more quickly and for a lot less money.

I’ve just finished editing the 70 or so photos I took at a recent outdoor event. I shot many more than I needed, because the number needed to get a good photo where everyone is smiling and no one is blinking is directly related to how many people there are. Because no one wants to be that person with their eyes closed. Ever.

My workflow looks something like this:

  1. Do a basic ‘batch edit’ in Lightroom. This just means a basic consistency of the photos as far as exposure, etc goes.
  2. I could stop here, but because I like to tweak each photo individually, I then open each individually in Photoshop.
  3. I might do a bit of a crop to make the photo a little more pleasing. There might be a small amount of tweaking via adjustment layers, too.
  4. I sharpen the image in high resolution. Sharpening is necessary on all digital photos. It has nothing to do with fixing dodgy blurry shots, nothing will resurrect those ones. Sharpening merely defines the edges a little more to make your photos ‘pop’.
  5. I save, then resize at a resolution that will me quicker to display on the web and on social media. you get both images, to make life easy for you.
  6. I save both images to my computer, and later, to Dropbox as well as my external hard drive.
  7. I open the next one.

I’ve gotten pretty quick with this, and it takes me about 3 minutes to do each image after the batch edit.

For 50 images, that’s 2 1/2 hours, for the basic digital images you receive from Pink Ginger Photography. As I said, I could give you the batch edit image, and it will be good. But not good enough.

If you order prints, then I will spend anything from 10 minutes upwards to an hour on each image, removing unwanted items in the background,  smoothing skin, selectively adjusting colour and  exposure across the image, making various bits either pop or blend into the background, and anything else to make your image turn out to be something you are proud to display. The final touch is a colour correction so that my prints will look exactly as I see them my screen.

If you want to keep you images forever, remember that the answer to everything can be found in Titanic

Ask  your photographer what part of the rest of the iceberg you are receiving, when you look at a pricing list. It will help you to make your decision.