Camera check list

OK, I thought I would share with you my routine after I'm done with a shoot.It is usually, open a beer...

This part of my process is done during the time I am importing images to Lightroom. I have set Lightroom to beep when it has completed the first set of imports so I can then switch over the memory cards.

Remove and start to charge batteries for camera and flash.

This is the most important one for me! Never run out of power on a shoot! All chargers plugged up and ready to charge batteries ready for the next shoot.

Lens cleaned and capped.

All lenses, used or not checked and cleaned, caps checked and cleaned. All lenses capped and and toweled down to remove possible build up of grime.

Towel down the camera.

Same with the lenses, I gently towel down the camera to remove the possible build up of grime on the grip and buttons.

Remove lens from body for storage, body cap in place.

I put the body cap in place and the camera is stored separate to the lenses. Even though my camera bag is well padded I don't want the lens causing wear or stress on the lens contacts.

Tripod maintenance

The tripod is checked and all metal parts cleaned, especially if the shoot was outside, feet are cleaned of dirt. Tripod is then folded and stored away.

Clear all memory cards

Once all the images from the shoot have been imported to Lightroom the cards are formatted so no matter what shoot I am on I have a full 1500 image capacity available to me.

Camera bag packed

Once everything has been cleaned and checked all equipment is packed back into the camera bag ready and primed for the next shoot. So if I get asked to shoot something at short notice I know that at least my kit is ready, even if I am not.


Lightroom Plugins - Snapshotter

Evening.A while back I posted an entry about my workflow in Lightroom. I have since updated this workflow with a simple but time saving plugin. It's called Snapshotter from the Photographer' Toolbox. I will quote from their site:

The Snapshotter plugin creates snapshots of the current develop settings for all selected photos in a single step.  Snapshots capture a permanent record of an image's current develop settings and can be accessed from the Snapshots panel on the left hand side of the Develop module.

Up until recently I never used this function, out of site out of mind. I normally use virtual copies of photos and work on those. However if I change a shot and don't take a snapshot and something happens then I may never get the shot back that I was happy with. Lightroom has no function to lock images yet.

So I downloaded the plugin as a trial version and tested it. The trial version allows you to snapshot up to ten images at once. After the first test I was happy, it does exactly what it says on the pixel based screen text. So I bought it immediately! Once fully installed, I highlighted every photo I had from the top level folder and added a snapshot based on the photo as it stood at that time.

I would insert this process after step 4 in my workflow, just before I edit the successful photos I would use Snapshotter to create snapshot of the original image. I would name this snapshot something like 'Original' or 'OOC' short for Out Of Camera.

I know I can just right click the image [Develop Settings/Reset] and reset everything but it is quicker (think workflow), if I just have to click on the  first embedded snapshot. Now I just have to work out a process to remind myself to remember to take a snapshot in the first place.

When I get around to it, I will revise my workflow tutorial. There are still somethings I need to put in there for my own sake, let alone putting it up on the blog!


My work flow in Lightroom

1. importIt was noted by a fellow suave photographer, while I was photographing performers at the Burlesque Idol Final, that I was snapping off lots of shots so post editing would take some time. I use Lightroom 4 which makes the processing of massive amounts of files easy to do. I thought I would share with you all how I process my shots.1. Importing.

The first thing I do is get all my shots into Lightroom, I don't waste time selecting the ones during the import stage I just want them copying to the hard disk asap, plenty of time to accept and reject later. I also don't use Collections that much, I prefer to hold everything in folders dependent on what the subject is about i.e Aviation, London, Astronomy and branch off from there. On my Alpha hard drive I created a 'Pictures' folder and then a '_Lightroom dump' folder.

Tip: If you put an underscore in front of your folder name then it jumps to the top of your folder list.

2. Apply SettingsI import direct to this folder. I do not rename the files as they come in though that can come later once I have the shots I'm happy with. I leave develop settings as they are. I would rather see the shots as they came out of the camera. I use my Lensintheface metadata which includes copyright information.

I also add the basic Keywords at this point, usually about the event or place I was visiting at the time and any general descriptive term that could be added. Once that is done I hit the import button.

2. Accept and Rejecting (A&R)

4. LoupeOnce I have imported all my shots from each SDHC card that was used. I then begin the process of Accepting or Rejecting. In the Library module I switch my view to Loupe mode, (2nd Icon from the left) and hide all the the other panels but pressing Ctrl-Shift-F, followed by the L key twice for Lights out mode.

This removes all the clutter so I can focus on the photo itself. I use the 'p' and 'x' keys to accept or reject a photo. Once I have chosen either accept or reject the view shifts to the next shot. I can quickly move through my shots this way using the following criteria.

  • Too blurry
  • Hands, feet cut off
  • Not sharp enough on the focus point
  • Wrong focus point
  • Too much ISO noise
  • Just plain bad..

3. Move the rejected, play with the rest

Once I have gone through the first A&R session I then move the rejected photos out of the way to a Reject folder. Pressing Ctrl-Shift-F and the L key again returns me to the normal working screen. I choose the Grid mode ( first icon of four above) in the Library module. So I can see all the photos, accepted and rejected.

7. Backslash key attribute

Pressing the '\' back space key once brings up the Library Filter panel. I choose the x[] flag attribute so I am shown only the rejected pictures. I highlight the lot but pressing Ctrl-A. At this point, if I am feeling evil, I can delete all of them but I like to go back and check the rejected ones just to make sure I haven't missed anything. With them all highlighted I right click on the _Lightroom dump folder and choose 'Create Folder inside _Lightroom dump folder', name it Rejected and tick the Include selected photos. Then hit the create button.

Tip: If you are moving a lot of photos to this reject folder, you can speed the process up by simply clicking on another, less populated folder. This means Lightoom doesn't have to update the view each time it moves a photo, it is moving them in the background.

9. Reject Folder

4. Trimming in Survey mode

Stage 4 is where I use the Survey view (fourth icon from the left). This allows me to group mini sets of photos together and again I trim them down to a couple per mini set using the A&R method. I use this method because, as with live events, I may let the camera loose and just fire shot after shot. This will result in a number of photos looking very similar so using the Survey mode I can quickly discard (reject) the bad ones in favor of the better.

8. Survey Mode more rejecting

As all the photos at this point should have the Accept flag on them, I can use the '\' key to bring up the filter pane and filter by accepted photos only. When I reject photos from the mini sets in the Survey mode they are hidden away, I can then filter and move them to the rejected folder as described in stage 3.

After that I should have the photos that will form the remaining set of the event. There I can now get on with editing the ones I want.