Post Workflow - Gear
I'm jennifer cody I am the owner of sidecar post we do post production work for wedding photographers I also have my colleague john our new who is unfortunately not here today but I'm sure he's watching from somewhere to dio I'm sure he's probably buried that is an accurate assessment so uh that is who we are I also own a wedding photography business in washington d c ah that's kind of how I got into post production work and got interested in it and we sort of like we talked about yesterday we sort of realized that a lot of people were looking to outsource we're looking to kind of clean up their work flow on and we saw an opportunity there to help not just in taking on clients ourselves for outsourcing but also figuring out um kind of the best workflow sort of a best case scenario for people that they could even integrate into their own work well so not only do you take weddings from other photographers you actually educate photographers and studios as to how did improve their own work...
flow if they're not wanting to outsource so you're kind of like a like a double threat yeah that's sort of all right is a good way of putting it so we just outsource starting this like apparently so as I said I'm jennifer cody, john arne and uh joran are neo and I in sidecar post and jonze's background is more in the workflow efficiency systems management area so he's the super geek and I was not a keeper right? And know he's not a photographer but because we do work together john actually comes with me to weddings as my sort of lighting guru so he does do vou enough photography he does some shooting so he's very familiar with kind of both sides of the coin which I think makes him a really valuable asset for postproduction because going to weddings with me he kind of understands what everybody is going through and, you know rather than just sort of being that monday morning quarterback person he can actually look at it and say like who? This was a d z of a situation interview you kind of did the best you could he's also our computer genius that tells us what equipment to buy right? Yes, which is great helpful. So we kind of recognized like I said, that a lot of photographers really did need help with post processing because whenever you're on the internet at two a m which is something that happens to us pretty freely daily you sort of kind of start registering a common complaint from other photographers and what is that complain it's two o'clock in the morning and I am up and I am staring at my computer because I am buried in post production and after wake up it's seven a m with my kids and I can't go to bed I have another hour worth of work two dio and now I'm getting tired, which means I'm getting slower, right means I'm getting emotionally compromised, absolutely, and which means that, you know, the consistency of my work is going down because they're trying to fly through this, but I think that something that we do recognize as wedding photographers is right an extremely competitive market, and we really need to be putting our best work out there, you know, there really isn't a lot of room for, um probably shouldn't say that on here halfway doing it. It's changing, you can guess what I was going to set wear ladies on young here were attempting to be ladies today, so you need happy clients and if you want to stand out from the pack, you have to be putting out work that kind of command, some attention. Um, and we're not just talking about fifteen to twenty did images on the block we're talking about straight up consistency, wedding to wedding, the whole gallery beginning to end, right? Because I think photographers get their business in different areas, I think different people get different percentages from different sources, but I think for most of us is pretty consistent that referrals are really kind of the backbone of our business and if you want your current clients to be happy, you need to provide them with a body of work you know, a full gallery for their wedding that looks beautiful that they're going to be happy with because that is how you're going to get that recommendation for their friend their college roommate, their sister I have a family where I've shot all three sisters weddings that is a great feeling because not only is it a huge compliment to you but it also is kind of a great situation to be in because you go to these weddings and they trust you and all of that is built on the back of not only meeting their expectations but exceeding their expectations and when they pull those photos I know that the first sister that got married in my situation she got married almost seven years ago and now her baby sister is getting married next year and I know that there are grand parents for example that unfortunately are no longer with them and I know that those pictures from the oldest sister's wedding all of those photos were edited by mito look as beautiful as I could make them it was seven years ago perhaps wasn't as good as I am now, but at least they can pull those photos and have those images and know that they're awfully edited and I really do think that's important I think it's true and I mean, when if you're giving your files to your clients in a couple of different things, I give my files to my clients if they put them on facebook, I don't want the pictures that they pulled that were used on my blawg toe look drastically different from the pictures that they pulled from their gallery to share with their family and friends, and I also don't want them to come back to me and say, well, we saw these previews and these looked really great, but everything else, I mean, it doesn't look quite the same, there is a disconnect, and for a while for me, there was a disconnect between what I was putting on my blogging when I was delivering to my clients, and I'm not saying that what I was delivering to my client's was bad, but it was basic and it was noticeably different. It was a client, it was just all I was doing in years past was a very clean, simple color correction, exposure correction and move on. I wasn't having any time to really finish the files in anyway, so there was a disconnect it's like one was good and then one was premium, and I just simply did not have the time. Or to be perfectly honest the desire at fifty weddings a year to be premium on every single image luckily some people are crazy in this world and don't mind doing that right to me that's the that's the fun part you know what I mean that's a fun part so the way that are kind of system our protocol whatever you wanna call it works in terms of our editing work flow was really something that was developed really for me for my studio I own ego media photography in washington she's good people her that's right and my twitter followers just wanna ah and I was shooting about thirty two, thirty five weddings a year and I too was running into a little bit of a roadblock because I felt like I wasn't able to get weddings out quickly I was getting bogged down in the processing and I wanted to find a way to speed things up without actually sacrificing the quality that I wanted to provide my clients now we'll say there's a little bit of a caveat to that and I'm going to kind of explain this a little bit because I think it's important there are some people out there I know who are going to be up all night tonight trying to achieve one hundred percent perfection with all of the images that day delivered to their clients you will not let them go until each one is dead on just right. We're talking less he's been editing a wedding since two thousand, so I really hope but it's way talked about yesterday was calling that I don't want to let it go until it's perfect, right? So I just want to say is a disclaimer I am not talking about perfection because I really think that perfection is something that I couldn't achieve unless I probably charged about twenty thousand dollars per wedding and maybe took about six every year and those I could spend maybe three solid months on. Maybe then I could achieve perfection. I just don't think it's ah it's a doable thing. I don't think it's something that is practical for most wedding photographers, every image that you deliver to a client is not a competition grade image like it isn't being picked and pulled, and crop and liquefied moved in every exit and every stray hair and every everything that's just simply not realistic in any way, shape or form. If you look at a commercial job where you have to deliver a small handful of files and you're being paid richly, toe, edit and retouch every single one of those you're talking about a half dozen files, a dozen files, you're not talking about six hundred files, and I think that there's an extraordinarily stupid, unrealistic expectation from some people who go even just photoshopped that right we've all heard that aware serum us really I mean I know that the janitor was like mopping in the corner when we were doing family formals but you could just photoshopped him out right with a flashlight absolutely but what we are going for here is a is a quality and consistency and I like to put batted around eighty five percent I think eighty five to ninety percent is an achievable goal for most photographers for the full gallery that you're delivering to a client I think that's something we should strive for it because I think our clients deserve it I think they deserve that quality of image um and I honestly the other thing is I don't think most clients see a difference between eighty five percent and one hundred percent you see it I see it they don't see it they don't they don't see it I've tested this believe me, I know most of them do not see it for example these images that are hanging on the wall these are my competition prince these are printed from the files that I'm using for competition now under my guidance these files were prepared for competition by rocco and cora he did prep them, he did he didn't print these but he printed my competition files and we've got days that have gone into putting these together and I guarantee you if you lay them down and you look at them next to the one that I did myself and put it on my blawg find some differences, but your client won't be able to find the differences, and I'm not telling you you should cheating your clients are trying to put one over on them or deliver something that's not awesome, but the level of scrutiny that we put on our own work is obscene. And again, you've just gotta let some of that go, you've got to step away from it just a little bit because you do want good quality, but you can't obsess you obsess yourself right into they're really great. And they said, if I obsessed when I call a wedding, I'm gonna end up with two files, maybe, or I'm just gonna say, I'm not delivering every thousand, right? Yeah, there's no way. So this really was developed kind of a solution to my problem, and when susan got into that circumstance that we talked about yesterday, where's years, we don't discuss yes that's the dark days because I did the great thing where I decided that I wanted to out source in the middle of wedding season, right? Wei don't take kindly to that nowadays, but essentially what we kind of realized was she's all of these kind of little systems that we've put into place for my business. There's really no reason why they can't work for other studios as well because they're really not that subjective there things that speed up workflow and khun speed up work flow really for anyone processing a high volume of images uh so again we're still reviewing and editing every photo individually we're not doing a batch action we're not using bridge to apply some kind of a filter we really do believe it andi are kind of going through every image but it starts to get pretty overwhelming I mean we've all stared this down um it's a scary scary thing it's your whole all of your images and you start looking at them and you start thinking about how long this is going to take you um and then when you start adding this up of course in my case thirty weddings and susan's case fiftysomething weddings who could believe a human could do it you can you really I mean you really start to be just you can't believe how this is gonna unfold for you particularly in those months when you really are getting buried depending on where you live in the country for me may june september october for other people living in sunny or climate that could be other months but you get the gis in florida it was january february march right that must be nice not really a hell in another man's right so at that point I had a thought bubble which john harris killed emily is my john is very on the artist but right nicely I could go faster that's john's handwriting so you started to realize, you know, the real problem here is that it's taking you too long and there's a couple of reasons it's taking too long there's the sort of propensity to obsess about the images but what we were really trying to think about unsolved was the technical aspects of this taking too long raw files were getting bigger guys, every camera that comes out the raw files just get bigger and bigger one hundred days one hundred think I wrote this down something like thirty six two fifty mega pixel something like that for file something in that range it's seventy three hundred by five thousand I mean, that is just I mean, don't get me wrong I'm sure that there is a use for that, but there's a reason I'm still shooting with the defense of the unit the g seven hundred was much smaller than that. I mean, I think they tripled or quadrupled the size of the files between the seven hundred and eight hundred this is an icon I can't speak to cannon because I'm not a cannon shooter, but I'm sure that they're kind of going down the same megapixel road and so you don't realize it, but what happens is those file sizes really do create bottlenecks that really does start to slow not just your computer down but the software and the catalogue and everything else and those tiny little partial seconds that things start getting slow down turn into minutes which turned into ours you have turned into days, years they dio so on and so forth they do all of those you know, all of the extra five seconds that you spend on something over the course of eight hundred images boy, that really adds up that adds up to not sleeping, showering, never leaving your house okay for yourself, whatever you outsource we really decided that in order to kind of take these this workflow that we kind of learned kind of inspired by my company and apply it to other people we wanted to come up with like rules that we could write down and kind of have as our guideline we wanted to be really consistent so we created an operations manual which is really well it was john's idea imagine that so it really covers everything. It covers all of our style guidelines. It talks about the process of how we handle photos it's just kind of our bible I guess you could say on how we do our work and it has kind of all of the details because we wanted something really I mean, I hate to make the hate to make this kind of analogy but a lot of successful businesses like starbucks they have a three ring binder I'm sure you know what I'm talking about it is kind of it addresses how they manage all of their operations and we felt that we were not above having something written down like that it's actually been really useful because we have had a lot of demand we do have a long waiting list and it kind of helps us because we are hiring and we're training some additional people on this operations manual has just been gold where that's concerned it really does kind of help us in part all of this information in a very easy way so just to kind of talk a little bit about our setup and how we do things we have kind of a three tiered kind of workstation way use I max because we like I max we don't have to argue about it if you want to use something else with great monitor I think that's great I don't work for apple and I don't get anything for free from them so you used what you want I wish we could um so I used the imax because the screen is good and because it's a great all in one computer I used twenty seven inch so does john said it's susan you saw what she uses yesterday I used what john uses could john told me to buy it exactly um and we all have the same software. We all have the same setup configuration, and we all have kind of these three drives. So on the left, you can see that's an ssd drive, which is the solid state drive. That's, the fastest drive that you, khun. I think there may be a fusion drive now, but the solid state is the fastest drive that we've been using over the last couple of years. It's a smaller and it's more expensive but it's very fast. Then you've got your traditional hard drive that's in your computer a little less fast. Especially when you're going through eight hundred images, but still good on your computer. A little bit less expensive. Then you gotta back up whether it's a raid I use a drove. Oh, I know some people hate drove. Oh, for a variety of reasons, we really were bitter and angry and using their drogba's as very heavy, very expensive doorstops. I have been very lucky. I have had a very good experience with drove. Oh, it just goes to show you you just never know. Sometimes you gotta women. Sometimes you don't. So I used robo and that is a great storage system it's, very affordable now. But it's very slow. I could never work off of my job. Oh, it's incredibly slow working over there. I mean, when I want to go back and grab something because I want to make a sample album for someone you know that takes I've just gotta, like, grab that file and stick it onto my hard drive and I just leave, I just walk away like it's dinner time, I'll be back and it will be very troubled continually, like launched on your computer. Do you always have a talented or you just plug it in? You need it? No, I haven't mounted because I also use it as an automatic backup, and I'm not going to totally geek out because we did do a creative live back in august, and I know a lot of people watch that I don't want to be too repetitive, but if you would like more, you would still yeah, you would like it, it's still there, and you can check it out on dwi use colonel sink, which actually, when I'm working on files, whether it's for myself and my clients are for susan or my other post processing clients, I have a cornice sync set up that backs up from my solid state drive to my hard drive. To my drove oh, and that way I have my work duplicated just in case something happens I don't lose a day's work, you know I haven't set up basically to run I think once a day and I back up too but not in the same way that you do. I have a completely separate external drive and I use a program called super duper and I back up once a week that's perfect but what you're doing that the constant because I'm doing some teaching of files what I do, you'd have to plug it in every single night and do it that doesn't make any sense, you know? And I have my it's kind of it's kind of sad to tell you but I have one that runs at eight pm because that's usually when I'm having dinner and then I have one that runs it like four am which is going todo eso I'm not a not a morning person, I do have another eight a m one that thinks up because I knew I would be there that will never happen my emergencies with her need to start somewhere after about eleven a m yes, I often week two texts of can you please let me know when you're up right? So this is kind of how we set up our storage I don't care what you buy the important thing is back things up because you are a wedding photographer and you have the on ly files that they have from their wedding day so back it up if you could do an off site backup that's great if you can't do it in three play for some proof whatever you want oh, not that kind of packing it up and just make sure that you are putting yourself into a good position because you don't want people coming after you and being angry and sad. Um so that's kind of the first part of the work station that king second part of the workstation isn't running that's exciting oh god that's so you can watch that the second part of the kind of work station flow is we have a screen calibrate er we use the x right it's a great one. There are others if you can put all of these in the proper hue order you're probably working on a calibrated screen and is not good for your john aren't you or your john are now? Um, did you take the test? I did. I got a one I think, which is pretty good and I got like a board like I did pretty okay you're improving, I'm getting there, I got a twenty seven you have a feeling that you guys you know what that was pretty good rate your time? Yeah, I love to watch a color blind guy tried to take me I know that if I were her I am mean so the calibrate a really is about getting your screens set for your environment and what you were looking for is consistent sing so if you were working in a room that stays pretty much consistent in terms of light levels you can have one profile of calibration and use that all the time if you were in a room that gets a lot of daylight during the day and then his dark at night then you may want to set up two profiles with x right not gonna get into details here but the point is calibrate your monitor because that will give you the most consistent result and it will remind you once you have this offer it will remind you to calibrate like every you can set it up like every six weeks you suddenly ignore it too. You can ignore it. Some people do that. I really don't have the option of doing that because obviously I have a lot of post processing clients. You just want the things on your screen to be as accurate as possible so that if your client comes back to you after you deliver the images and says yeah, I really love these pictures but I feel like I look a little green you can actually with authority no that most likely she's looking at them on a screen, maybe at work maybe she has kind of an old computer and it could be that her color balance is off because you knew what you had to do. You did your calibration and you know that your solid I think that's really important. Um the next part of our kind of work station system is I'm sitting in front of me. I don't know if you guys can see it it's up here. Tio it's it's a thing I can't pronounce. Welcome, elinor. Welcome. What can I go with holland? This sounds like whack a mole. It just sound like you're what I call it the tablet so I could just get away without not with not saying its name. Either way, it's a tablet highly recommended. You can move so much faster I'm gonna demo light room on dh show you but this will just really speed you up. I know some people like to use the mouse I'm telling you force yourself I know we talked about you pushed me into it. I did I know you talked the other day I think about not wanting to use the back button on your camera cause you weren't used to it and it's faster, I get it it's true force yourself to use this tablet I am telling you it will save you so much time you don't have to get the newest latest greatest one yeah I think you want one I think mine is like a six by nine something like that are something along those lines you want something that size you don't want to get the really small one but you don't have to get the master huge one and you don't have to get the the greatest model just get something solid that fits within your budget on dh teach yourself to use it and you want to set the pen pressure sensitivity so that we knew bear down it it marks more and when you kind of lighten up he creates a lighter impression it's pretty fantastic yeah I think it is it's really effective and it actually really did speed up my efficiency and yes back button focusing which we talked about you know the other day is will definitely it's a more efficient way to do it but that's not as big of a revolutionary thing is using a tablet because it literally doubled my speed you know like really aggressive ways you have kids they like to open up blank documents and make you art yeah yes that's kind of an added bonus to love these talked about these yes and then this is kind of I think the last component that I'm going to talk about is we have this our piece of cheese, so this is a keyboard it's an actual piece of hardware, and then rpg is a software that maps certain things to the keys. We like the fifty eight key lay out. Some people have smaller layouts it's basically it's great, because it's beat you up because you can use the different keys for functions, exposure contrast, highlight whites. I'm going to show you when you get to like what? I don't even have one of these I now it's great, and it just speeds you up because rather than using the mouth swirling down the menu, looking for what you're looking for, it is all there for you. And in that time, why don't you swing overto one odd click and then swing to the other side and click there? Go those seconds that are starting to add up, and I think that the other great thing about it is once you use it for a while, just like anything else, just like typing on your smartphone just like any other regular keyboard you start to get the muscle memory, you know where those functions are and when you don't have to look at that keyboard that's when you really start speeding up because they're going to be certain actions that you're going to come back, teo time and time again. Like exposure like setting your black point like contrast, maybe, you know, if you're using our pre sets or someone else's presets, you can use those, and it just makes that one klick is much faster, just moves you along. Andi, I much prefer that, so that really helped us. I would emphasize this is a huge time saver along with the tablet and even if you don't go with rpgs, I know there are other things out there. Definitely something that's going to move that along for you is important because when you're talking about workflow, you're talking about every single place these air, so many different places that you can shave a second off here and a minute off here in a minute off there and if the next thing you know, your workflow that's taking you twenty four hours is suddenly taking you six hours with only making those minute adjustments. I mean, you can then really start flying, and I mean, you're wicked. You don't even look at that thing on you. No, they're not really not really on dh. You can map just about any function in light room to a key so you can set it up how you want it. We're working on a workflow app we've gotten a lot of contact about this since we were here in august we are working on it there are a lot of people on the beta who want to try it we will be sending it out but the whole goal of this is to give you this workflow that you can follow like we talked about the operations manual that kind of plays everything down we're hoping to create this kind of application that everybody can use I mean I call it a nap because ups are kind of the thing but I guess it's really a program that runs on your computer that kind of helps you follow like you talked about shoot you when you have that workflow and shoot q and it says like the next thing that it says is you know, edit images it doesn't give you every step that you want to go through in there and even if it did it's not very helpful to click back and forth I know into your browser to see that oh did I remember the noise reduction but if you have a kind of a workflow guide we feel like this could be a really great solution for photographers who are kind of trying to learn the workflow and making sure that you didn't miss any steps because it's easy to miss out on things like noise reduction because you're you're in hurry um so this is where we kind of talked about speeding things up. We talked about the technical aspects of it, what we kind of came up with came up with was not really new because it's done in video and it son, in some other venues, but the idea of proxy at it so brilliant, it really is pleased also sleep, this is so this is really interesting. This is when you want to start. Listen, I, um so when you're editing a photo and light room, you're not really editing a photo in light room now, okay, what you're really doing is you're creating meta data. You're creating meta data, you're giving a recipe, and I demonstrated this with a sandwich during our creative live presentation you're creating. I did I didn't need it, though you're creating a recipe that when light room exports this photo it's going to go through those steps and export a final thing for you. Okay, so what I'm saying is, you're giving a set of directives alight room and it's not done until the images exported. No, I know you're going to say, well, then why is it showing me all of the adjustments while I'm going through this? Why is it showing you out sorcery um so it's showing you all of this as a preview um and while it does the preview that takes time, right? Have you ever been doing light room? And you've been adjusting something and you're like, come on, come on, come on, show it to me, it's taking forever to update this is a real problem this is something that we wanted to try to solve so, um, like we said, it's, just a recipe the photo changes regardless and then it's just a preview, but the larger the file, the slower you kind of happens. So let's think about this for a minute when you look at a photo on a screen, you're not looking at the full size photo you're just looking at whatever the screen is, and john did the math on this and said the real photo is twelve million pixels and it's full size, the raw file you can on lee really look at one point, five million that's just the reality of the screen that you're looking at maybe a little more if you have a slightly larger monitor, maybe a little less if you don't, but do we really need that twelve million? Because we can't look at it it's just it's simply too large. So what we decided was that since all we're doing is setting up a set of directives for light room, we would use smaller dan ji's to make the adjustments to make light room run faster. Then we would take that recipe. Those directives that we set up in light room and apply them to the full size files spread all the mind blowing starts. Right, that's what everyone goes oh, yeah? Wait right. I have no clue what you're talking about. So I actually do. I watch their creative right. So the way that we do that is we have a script. But ignore that for a minute because its not available the moment that that s o if you have ever been anybody familiar with the dmg file, anybody know what a dandy follows here? Good. So dmg files is kind of an open source raw format, right? That's, really? All it is. And when we work on files, we create two sets of d n gs. We use adobe dmg converter, right? Everybody has access to that appropriation it's free. So we used adobe dandy converter, and we create one set of full sized angie's, just like you would just like you would. Normally, the raw files just become dan ji's, but it still retains all of that data. Then we create a second set of dan ji's. But this time, if you go into adobe dmg converter there's an option to use lossy compression wanna bore you with all of the technical stuff but there's basically a check box that says use lossy compression and you change the file size the size of the dmg that it's producing toe one point five million pixels whatever it is and I don't know em john knows this stuff plenty things tiny things so you create the smaller file and what you want to do is you want to create identical files you've got the full size and then you've got what we call the proxy which were the small dan ji's and that is something that you want to make sure is identical and then when you start editing and light room which were just about to do, I'm going to show you what I do you were going to edit the proxy d angie's the small files, fake out files, the fake out files and that's really what they are they're just faking you out there just giving you all of this stuff you stick with me, I'm gonna show you so when you bring those in and you do the adjustments what happens is when you have eight hundred images in that catalogue for that wedding it's going to move so much more quickly because all of the previews air going to render much faster on a file that's one point five instead of twelve that's just math that's easy and once you were done with that you were going to save all of the meta data to those files and then magically you're going to switch over to the full sized angie you're gonna point light room believe it's ok and wedding that's right you were going to make that switch over to the full size and you're going to quickly save the meta data to those files as well it's brilliant I'm going to demo it you guys are going to see it first thing you do is convert all the files when they come into the g correct great thank you convert them to dmg full size and then convert them to dandy proxy small size all right and you want to make sure you do it to all of them and they have to be identical you cannot change the name you do not want to move them out of the entire large project file that you have them under you don't want to delete any you don't want to do anything that might mess the symmetry up because they need to be exactly mirrored in terms of the file name the number of files etcetera otherwise light room's gonna get confused and you're gonna panic and email me at three o'clock in the morning and I might be up she'll be up but I don't I don't like panic photographers I don't like people to be unhappy so I want to make sure that people understand how this works