Sunday, August 24, 2008

Merilyn shot

I'm still working on the Merilyn set - I've noticed in my 404 log that folks are hoping I've somehow finished and they're lurking in a directory with an obvious name. In the past this might have worked occasionally if I put up a test set so I could check it on another machine but since I don't want other folks seeing test shots other than what I post to the blog I've had to stop. It's extra work and just slows me down - ironic, huh?

Anyway, I might be able to get them done by Monday. We'll see. Basically the workflow for digital is...

  1. Go through the RAW files, picking images I like
  2. Keep going through the RAW files, eliminating ones I didn't like as much until I'm not making much progress.
  3. Take the RAW files, and pop them into the RAW converter. This lets me adjust the color, exposure, all that stuff. The color's done via shooting a test chart with the same light and using that as a reference. The exposure should be very close already but sometimes a little tweak is in order.
  4. The RAW converter does a lot of math and extracts out a bunch of 75MB TIFF files, one per image.
  5. Sometimes I'll take another pass through them at this point, weeding, Passes through take much longer at this point since the files are so large, so if I was waiting to see the crops I'll just go right to step 6.
  6. Crop each image. I'll also tweak the levels (more exposure stuff) at this time but it should be rare because I've already done it in RAW conversion. I'll also convert to black and white at this time if it's right for that image.
  7. This is the kind of no excuses weeding stage - the images look identical to the final images except there might be a couple of little things to Photoshop out (a stray light stand leg in a corner, an unfortunate mole, some dirt on the paper). So here's where I really get it down to the final set of images.
  8. Go through and remove those little things in Photoshop that need to be removed. This can be slow even with minor changes so it really helps if I've done #7 properly and don't spend a lot of time fussing with images I'm going to throw out.
  9. One last pass, just in case I thought something was fixable but it wasn't, or maybe I missed something.
  10. Generate the HTML, thumbnails, images for the website. I'll usually sanity check the set on my laptop - sometimes I'll spot something I missed.
  11. Tweak the index page and so forth to point to the new set.
  12. Upload the set and the other pages that got changed (if you're on the pictures only feed that's live at this point).
  13. Email the model that her pictures are up.
  14. Blog it.
I just finished step #6.

For film it's not much different except I obviously have to develop and scan the film (which I do myself) and then they're just digital files that get inserted into the workflow at step 5ish. There's also some extra touch up to remove dust but that's at step 8.

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