Still taking photos…

I am taking a portrait each day since 55 days. It has been an extremely rewarding experience, both from a technical photographic point of view and from an networking point of view (55 days = close to 55 people I spent quality time with, most of them newfriends). I begin to realize a Project 365 is only partially about taking pictures. Especially when doing portraits of others, I think the whole post-shooting process, backing up, managing multiple laptops and keeping a calendar, etc. is another challenge you have to master. Partially for myself to reflect on what I learned, I compiled this list of ‘experiences’ and tipps:

  • I promise my subjects all RAW files and JPEG exports. Initially I shot in JPEG and then used a memory stick to transfer the images onto their laptop. This is a really time -consuming process, as you first have to transfer the images onto your laptop, then to the memory stick and later again to their laptop. Sounds like just a few minutes each day, but it gets boring. Also when doing RAW, it means you have to visit them later on, but what if they work in different building?  So you chat and email to meet but all too often you just waste a lot of time delivering the images.
    Solution: burn DVDs. After importing the raw files and converting them all to JPEG using the preset white balance from camera, I just burn a DVD each day. I deposit the DVD on my desk for people to pick up or carry them around for a few days in case I see them often.
  • After you’re done with a shooting, you probably have a couple hundred RAW files. Conversion to JPEG is pretty time-consuming, but luckily you don’t have to watch and see it happening.
    Solution: I make a a trade off – while I could optimize each image for white balance, I just take the preset white balance. I take a new preset white balance before each shooting and just keep it for exporting to JPEG later. The results are good enough and I would not have the time otherwise. Exporting to JPEG is a background process using ufraw_batch – a unix command line tool which is quite fast. It runs in the background while I work or am in a meeting.
  • Managing the pipeline of shootings is also a crazy task. I am booked – in theory – till mid March now. I often ask my subjecs to refer me to others and that works amazingly well. It still happens some people drop spontaneously, what then?
    Solution: Having a calendar with names and email addresses of future shootings is critical.  I also remind people 3-4 times before each shooting so the appointment is really set in stone in their calendars. For the actual shooting, I check out poses on Flickr and sometimes print or scribble them down in a small notebook I carry. This helps to get an easy shot and leaves more room to explore each day.

Getting late… more the next days!

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