My Process

Late Addition To This Entry Which I Actually Wrote This Weekend: I have been in Knoxville for a few days as my Mom has been put in the hospital with what we now know is a gallstone which will be removed today. Possibly along with her gallbladder. Keep her in your thoughts.

I have always loved to take pictures. I have always adored photography. I just wasn’t able to merge those two into a hobby until 2006 when I could finally afford to buy my first real camera. Since my first outing with that camera (slideshow here) I have been growing as a photographer. I still have such a long way to go, but as I learn, I realize how dependent I am on other people sharing what they’ve learned, their process, their opinions. It occurred to me this weekend that maybe I’ve reached a point where documenting my process could help out other people. So…here I am! Documenting my oh-so-thrilling process.

First…is the outing. NikkiZ has been begging me to let her dress as a princess and walk around town. I thought I’d make a game out of it for pictures and we took her downtown last night to find her castle. She picked out her own wardrobe and accessories (hence the two purses) and I gave her guidance as we explored downtown Huntsville and played pretend while looking for her castle. When I came home, I transferred all pictures using the organization method I’ve been using for years. I keep a directory with the year/month (2009_08). And inside that directory, I have two other folders: SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) and edit. I copy EVERY photo I take into the SOOC folder. I only delete photos that are simply bad or redundant. I then open my favorites and…even if they need no editing…I save them into the “edit” directory. And if they required no editing, I try to add an “sooc” to the file name.

DSC_0015 (3)sooc

I upload everything in the “edit” directory to my flickr page. It gives me a backup of my favorite photos and an easy way to search as I try to be very diligent about tagging.

Now…most photos? I edit. By keeping the originals in the SOOC directory, I can always go back to the original and do other/different editing somewhere down the road. I do this often for birthdays or Christmas. I’ll revisit photos for gift ideas.

I edit almost every photo I print and/or upload to flickr. Most of the time I at least crop photos. In terms of other editing I rely heavily on PW Actions because they are great for beginners. Just a click away. I’ve started exploring more advanced actions (like MCP Actions) but I still do almost everything with PW’s.

With my kids the shotgun method of photography is the best. I just take as many pictures as I can. When I sit down at the computer, I clear my mind and just look at each of them individually. In my pictures, the post-processing is just as fun to me as the photography itself. I don’t always know if I’ve caught a good expression until I get home. Many times…the expression is so good that I change the entire composition of the photo just to draw the attention to the expression.

My Process
Cropped. PW Actions Slight Lighten. PW Actions Lovely and Ethereal.

Since kids move so much…I often just need a basic crop around them in the frame. But to me? Even just a crop makes a huge difference.

My Process
Crop Only

I often look at my photos and try to make them Print Worthy. What can I do to this photo to make it worth the cost of a print to be hung on the wall? Sometimes I open a picture on the computer and immediately I feel a certain story to the photo that a little editing can tell. Turning a nice photo, but probably not Print Worthy, into an interesting photo with a story to tell that would look great on any wall. This always works with non-face photos. My kids often don’t look at the camera, but sometimes even the back of the head can tell a story.

My Process
Crop. PW B&W Beauty (I think?). Boost.

My Process
Lovely and Ethereal x2

My Process
PW B&W Beauty.

And then…sometimes? I just play. I just see a photo and start clicking until something speaks to me. Many times I start over (another of PW’s Actions!) and try a different route. But often? I end up with photos I adore and send immediately to be printed.

My Process
Crop. Lighten. Lovely and Ethereal x2

If you want to look at all of the photos from our outting this weekend, you can see the slideshow here. This was a great outing and NikkiZ wants to do it again with friends next time.

Of course, she also wants me to dress as a princess next time.

That’s NOT going to happen. In case you were wondering.

19 thoughts on “My Process”

  1. I also am interested in photography and right now I just have a basic point and shoot. I was wondering what kind of camera you have.

  2. Awesome! Thanks for the pointers. I love the SOOC idea – great archive and then the “edit” folder for the publishable ones.

    I had my gallbladder out two years ago and know plenty of others who have as well. Relatively easy thing, as far as losing an organ goes.

  3. I love this. I’m always looking for ways to grow in my photography, too.
    So thank you.

    Also, try not to worry too much about your mom. Mine went through the same thing last summer and she’s so much healthier now that the gall bladder is gone. Your mom will do great!

  4. Thank you thank you thank you! I just got my first digital SLR in the spring and was lamenting the fact that we couldn’t afford the Nikon D80 (especially after seeing all of your photos). For some reason it never occured to me that by editing my photos I could make them look bright and contrasty like yours. I can’t wait to start playing!

  5. Thanks Kim, this was very helpful. Quick question – where do you get your photos printed? Do you have a printer at home? Do you recommend?

    Sending lots of thoughts to you and your mom. xo

  6. Very very cool…..I do NO editing with my pictures, perhaps I need to start doing that? I looooove taking pictures (i have like 70 albums on FB. Flickr and I don’t get along) …..maybe I need a better camera first?

  7. But if you wore the right dress you could be Camera Princess! Just think of it! Immediate editing with a strong blink of the lashes! Cropping with a nod of the head! I think you best rethink your reluctance to certain clothing.

    (Thanks for sharing your organization methods. I need some organization aside from deleting bad shots directly from my camera and then dumping everything onto my Mac.)

  8. I LOVE the photos! You always get some great ones. I don’t have a ‘real’ camera, but have to ask anyway: when you crop, do you zoom in to keep it the same size as the original? I crop a lot of mine, but don’t bother with resizing.

    I like your methods of organization as well! I have a flickr, which I love…but can’t bring myself to pay for a pro account since my photos are not that great. I may do it just so I’ll have access to all the photos that have been pushed past the 200 limit….

    Sorry to hear about your Mom’s medical issues, but am glad she’s getting taken care of and hope she has a speedy recovery. She will definitely be in my thoughts :)

  9. I love these – what an expressive model NikkiZ makes! The second to last one is my favorite…it really tells a story.

    I hope that everything goes fine with your mom and that she’s feeling better soon!

  10. I’m with you – I love reading about what other people’s photography processes are. It helps me so much! My biggest problem is organization. I have thousands of pictures on my hard drive, but they’re not cataloged well, so most of them go to waste.

    I love PW actions, too. I’ve found some others that look really great, but it’s hard to beat the free ones!

    These are beautiful images. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I love the organizing idea. I will have to add SOOC from now on. Your editing skills are awesome. You have an eye for just the right tweak that make the pictures “pop”. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    Also, I hope your mom feels better soon.

  12. Those are some amazing pictures. I always wondered how people edited them. Thank you for the introductory lesson. I’m going to go play around with some of my photos now.

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