Photographer Friday

22 October 2010

5 steps to simplify your processing time.

These are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to be able to speed up my processing time considerably.  When I first started out in the digital photography world it took me roughly 8-12 hours to process an entire wedding.  That’s one entire workday just working on images.  That doesn’t count the time I needed to then import them into a movie program, make a slide show or send files off to the lab for printing.

Fast forward to now.   I shoot more images but take less time to process then every before.  Why is that?  I’m going to share some quick tips to help you speed up your processing time on the computer so you have MORE time to do normal everyday things, like be with your family!

1.              Get it right in camera. If you shoot a lot and you are unsure about what an image is looking like and think to yourself, “I’ll fix it on the computer.”  You’ve just added 10-30 minutes to your time you spend after your photo session.  Take your time while you are in the field, get the exposure right to begin with.

2.              Shoot Smaller Files. Let me ask you a question.  How many images have you made into a 16x20?  A 20x30? A 30x40? A 40x60?  How about a 4’x8’ banner?  If your answer is not a lot then you should look at your file size.  If everything is coming out of your camera is 10 megapixels or larger, you might be over shooting. Bigger files take more memory and a faster computer to process as well.  A RAW file with no adjustments takes 33 seconds for my computer to open and save.  A full resolution Jpeg takes 6 seconds.  When you are working on 5-10 files it’s no big deal.  But add one hundred to that.  Or a thousand, and that’s a time killer.

3.              Know your shortcuts. Your photo editing software has built in keyboard shortcuts.  Learn them by heart. To adjust the color balance without knowing a shortcut takes 4-6 seconds to open.  Knowing the shortcut for the same adjustment takes a fraction of a second.  Add in 3-4 adjustments over one hundred images and you’ve saved a lot of time.

4.              Create your own shortcuts. Photoshop lets you create your own keyboard shortcuts.  A few I have loaded are, Save, rotate, sharpen, saturation and brightness.  If you find your self using the same adjustment over and over, create a key that with one press will do it for you!

5.              Actions. There are so many actions that will do several adjustments with just a click of a button.  They are amazing and can save you from several seconds to several minutes just by using them.  Just do a search for “Free Photoshop Actions” and you will be instantly overwhelmed by how many there are.

I hope this helps to give you some ideas on what can be done to reduce your time spent editing photos.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  I’m on Twitter @jonesphotog or Facebook.

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