by Michael Ayers Published 01/08/2008
Michael Ayers FSWPP sets out how to reduce your screen time
Like many other photographers today, I started out with a different career path; in my case, I was destined to be a civil engineer. But during the educational process, I realised I would be spending much of my time living my life in front of a computer screen. Naturally, I decided to look into a career in photography, which was my other passion. With the advent of digital imaging science during the past decade, I have come full circle and now spend my life again at my computer screen! Was it a good decision in the end? Well, for many professional photographers, it can be, as long as you set a few realistic goals.
Are you spending too much time sitting at your computer? If you are getting your meals served at your keyboard, you may be too far gone! And are you burning 'the candle' at both ends...with a blow torch? It's time to win your life back, and taking several simple steps will help tremendously.
GET ORGANIZED. Clutter is the arch-enemy of production. Get your act together and your results will look like you really are an industry imaging expert.
ESTABLISH A SMOOTH WORKFLOW. Set up the exact process that your digital files go through from camera to finished print. Then repeat this list with every client's order without exception.
USE THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT. There is no substitute for high quality when it comes to cameras, lenses, flashes and digital cards. You are not an amateur, so don't use the stuff used by the masses.
EXPOSE YOUR IMAGES WITH PERFECTION. Your postproduction time is greatly reduced if your exposures are created in an effort that minimizes any corrections on the computer. A few extra minutes to check for both proper colour balance and exposure can save hours later
PURCHASE FAST COMPUTERS. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting on a CPU to render images. All areas of your hardware must perform at peak speed, including: RAM, graphics card, DVD burner, card reader, hard drives and processor.
DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO PROCESS RAW IMAGES FAST! Many photographic instructors today teach about workflow, but they do not teach us how to go through all our images with extreme speed. This is the subject of most of my lectures - get it done quickly and accurately!
PRINT IMAGES USING A GREAT LAB. The client does not care about the process by which your images are exposed, retouched and adjusted, they only care about the results. My lab is my equal partner in the making of my photographs and I rely on them to produce optimum prints.
BACK UP EVERYTHING AUTOMATICALLY. It is only a matter of time before a hard drive will fail or a DVD disk gets damaged. It is pertinent to routinely make multiple copies of everything not only for safety, but also for convenience.
I am winning the fight against my computers which we now call the 'new darkroom.' With just a little planned effort, you too can avoid growing old in front of an LCD screen and WIN YOUR LIFE BACK!
Michael J. Ayers, is regarded as one of the world's best wedding album designers. From Lima, Ohio and also Chicago, he has developed a widespread reputation of artistry and success, including honours such as WPPI's International Photographer of the Year and a Leadership Award from the United Nations.
Michael, and his wife, Pamela will be giving a four-hour Superclass at the Convention 2009.
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