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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Time Required for Photos

Time is a critical thing in photography. Not only how long the shutter is open or what time of day the photo is taken (Yes, it matters) but how long photograph takes to produce. It used to be that time was how long it took you to take the film to the photo lab and for them to process it. Now it is how long it takes to process in Photoshop, Lightroom, NX Capture, or whatever you use to process the photo. The speed of the computer processor will have an impact on this but one of the main things that impacts your time is how many photos you took and how you prioritize them (in taking them and in processing them).
In the old days, you had 36 photos on a roll of 36 exposure film (maybe 37 if you were lucky). Now you can take hundreds and thousands of photos with a digital camera. Hey, it doesn't cost anything? Sadly, yes it does. It costs on the wear and tear of the camera. (My D300 shutter is rated for 150,000 clicks) and it costs time to process them. If you take 5 or 6 of everything (just in case) you are killing yourself on time management. You have to prioritize as you take the photos. Experience helps here greatly which is why you need to keep shooting all the time.
BUT This doesn't mean to take only one shot of a setting. If you are a long ways away (in either time or distance) and may never get back except at great expense, take some extra shots at various setting. I worked on a year round set of photos for a particular scene and later thought I would go back and reshoot the fall scene. The colors were not as bright the following year and I don't know if I will be able to go there the next fall.
When I started, I uploaded everything (Use a card reader instead of loading from the camera, it saves the drain on your camera battery). and then processed everything and eliminated the worst. That took TIME and it filed my external drives as I shoot RAW instead of JPEG (larger files but more flexible to work with).
My next stage was to load everything and then eliminate the worst (will come back to further eliminate others later - yeah, right).
Now I have gotten to the point I can limit the number of shots and can tell pretty much what has potential and if I want to work with it or not so now I pick and choose as I import from the memory card to the computer. Things are going a lot quicker. Do I always do this? No. For family shots and all I still upload everything and then choose what is workable and what to toss BEFORE I actually work on any photos.
If you are just starting out, don't fret, it takes time to learn "see" how a photo will come out and if it has potential. It also takes time to see how much time it takes to process a photo with your software. Try to only take the shots you need. Only load the ones with potential. As you gain experience with your equipment, you will not have to take as many shots to get "the good one".

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