Saturday, 19 June 2010

SoFoBoMo 2010: the editing process

Manila, June 2010
One of the SoFoBoMo 2010 rejects

As a progress report, I thought it might be useful to some to go through the edit ting process I've been using. I don't do bulk edits in this way very often and so SoFoBoMo is also an opportunity for me to hone my skills in that area, too. here is the step-by-step:

1. Having imported all the photos and catalogued as normal (I had 527 frames taken), I make first cut selections. I'm using Lightroom exclusively for processing and editing as it's a quick and easy one stop shop for the whole workflow. First cut is a fast process - anything that seems like it fits the theme and appears properly composed, exposed and in focus. 226 picked, took about 15 minutes.
2. Work on the first few to develop the visual look, exposure, toning, contrast etc. That takes a few minutes per photo, maybe I spent an hour sorting that out. The key parts of the development got turned into Lightroom presets, especially the toning, which speeds up the rest of the work.
3. Work through the first-cut to pick the ones to edit. Again, pretty fast and I develop a lot, rather than waste time mulling over selection. With the presets developed I spend only a couple of minutes on most photos. A few have local adjustments which take a bit longer but I doubt I spent more than 10 minutes on any one frame. As this is about a fast turn-around, I want good not perfect works of art. And consistency is more important to me than a few individual highlights. 102 edited.
4. I developed a Smart Collection to gather up the edits as they were completed, I'll use the collection for the final sorting and selection. I'm not into the book layout proper yet but I have a few distinct page forms in mind: double-truck, full bleed, single page, multiple per page. The 102 will get ratings based on likely page type and sorted into order of pages in the collection. I may or may not use them all.
5. From there, It'll be new export presets to turn the edits into the final images for the book. Part of that preset will be automated numbering and filing so they're all in order in a separate folder on my computer. Having them sorted that way speeds up entry into the book layout.

Even though I've been working on editing all week, I've actually spent very little time each day. 100 at, say, three minutes each is only 5 hours of work to get to the final cut plus the original hour to get the visual look right, meaning about an hour a night this week.

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