Workflow for Selecting Final Stills
this glass is really all the home studio home, final sort of step before I bring everything out to the marketplace. It's a review period. It's It's part postproduction for stills, it's part editing and assessing the process. A lot of times I'll do this in the field as well, or at the end of the day, as well as looking at motion in seeing what the clips look like. Checking my highlights, checking for the content, looking for problems. It's This is a very critical, very technical step, and I'm going to walk you through both of them both four stills and motion and show you what my processes. I want to add a few caveats before I begin. This in. That is that there are many, many different ways to do this. There is no one way to do it. There are definitely rules and things. You should be looking for our steps in parts of this process that are important to adhere to. But there are a lot of different ways to process images, and it is a um it really is a way for people to define their own creat...
ivity. You can you have looks to images you can add looks to footage. This is gonna be about, ah, white balance and color balance and looking at frame rates and dust and all of those kinds of things and assessing what you're getting in the field. Are you getting it in the field? What, You're N pot? It's gonna look like What mistakes are you making? How can you fix those things and then ultimately figuring out what frames you you want to choose and how I choose the frames that I want to represent me and my work in the marketplace or my portfolio or in a gallery or whatever the end uses. So it's quite a big process. I'm going to give you a relatively simple introduction to it, but it will absolutely lay the groundwork for you to figure out what your process is gonna be and start to figure out how deep you really want to go on certain levels. So I just want to say that in the beginning, because I do know there's a lot of people that will sit here and teach courses, and justifiably so that are four or five days long on how to edit one image um the entire time and adding layers and dodging and burning for me. My process with exception of motion, of course, which is always a slower, longer process. My stills process is developed in the journalistic high return sort of rate. Where you go out, you've got 75 images, and by the time I get home, they've been color corrected. Does spotted sharpened, exported captions, metadata, all done and delivered literally by the time I get home, if not before, I still adhere to that process today on a shoot. And that's why even with Creativelive, I was able to go into the field in North Cascades, shoot for 48 hours, and at the end, we're already promoting everything on social media was able to crank out the shots. Now I didn't get a whole lot of end shots. I got six shots out of whatever the hundreds of them you're going to see today, And I'm gonna walk you through all of those. Um, but it is a process, and, uh, and it's one that I've defined and that has refined for me and has obviously worked very well for me as well. So with that, I'm gonna sit in my laptop, and I'm going to start with talking a little bit about stills and showing you how the stills process is quite similar to the motion process. So, um, the motion shoot, I'm gonna show you. So cutting the screen right now. So basically, I'm gonna work in Adobe Bridge. You conduce you pretty much all the same stuff in light room. Uh, and then some. I'm not gonna jump into their right now. I'm gonna work in Adobe Bridge. They work very similarly. Um, and I'm gonna show you what I'm looking at. What? My processes for all of these things, I don't bother. I'm gonna start with metadata. I don't bother with metadata right away. Um, this is usually the last step. And ah, you know, as they say in in the country of Bologna metadata, uh, you know, that's what they is, a fancy word for that right there. But the metadata is where you put your name. You know, Ian shy of someone somewhere the money spent time going through that for today. I'm really just gonna skim through it, show you put my phone number, my email, my website description, make sure you put the copyright, you'll notice that this core I've already kind of customized of the fields I'm going to use. You can actually set that in your preferences. But these are the ones that I I typically use right here are are the ones that you see on the screen over on the bottom, right hand corner. Um, not gonna dwell on that. That's all about sales and looking for things and stock when you get into captions, keywords and so on. So, um, we're gonna focus on image selection today, and I'm gonna walk you through the chutes. So this is literally the raw shoot From our first day in the field, we spent a lot of time location scouting. So a lot of my images and a lot of ah lot of the process was shot on my phone. Um, I like to location scout with my IPhone. It's helpful because I want to bring out the camera and zoom the focus and all that other stuff and all the roll through it all, I could look at the grid. I can swipe through it real fast. Be like, OK, I like this. I like this that can make changes really, really quick and go for me, it's all about figuring out what I want. Get my shot and move on to the next spot. So I didn't really start until I had already identified that this was the location I wanted to shoot. And I usually and you know, this is about as honest is it's gonna yet. I mean, I'm not out there taking pretty pictures right away. You could see that there's some bags and stuff in the way. Um and so I start by actually just kind of taking a look. Snap a few frames and I see what it looks like. I'm okay. I'm looking at the highlights and looking at the shadows, looking at the composition where the benches where it's hitting the wake. And in this lesson, we brought in our creativelive model slash editor slash field help and all kinds of other great wonderful things, Aubrey, and had her sit in. And this is, you know, I wanted to have a human element in the shot. So what you're gonna look at in this there's 138 frames here, and this includes just this one set up. Essentially, I only took two frames of 138 as my final and ultimately had to be about making the final decision. How do you pick one from the next? They all start to look the same. But you see what I'm doing. Each time I shoot, I'm changing the framing. I'm changing the composition. I'm changing the til. I moved her, You see home meaning and this is an intentional, but I'm getting closer and closer and closer to the frame that I actually ended up picking. So one thing I'll show you real fast. Go to the final frames. You can actually see the hose. Uh, this is the end shop, this one in this one. Show you how I got to those two. Do you see the composition changing a little bit at a time. And at this point in here, I called it. Okay. Ah, Lighting changed. This was part of like this reshoot. See, the clouds blew in. I kind of just revisited a few quick things I liked. And then that was the end of it. So how did I end up with the two frames that I wanted? So This is a great example of working the scene. You're seeing the end result of me working the scene. And when I'm looking at are two things. Two key elements in this picture and how I ended up picking the frame. I did. I'm gonna show you down in here. Ah, one of these frames and then one of these frames. Right? So whoops, se Find the right one here. So I'm looking at two pieces in here when I'm in the composition. So I like this angle because it didn't obscure the lake. So I'm not looking at sharpness. I'm not looking at color. I'm not looking at anything but composition. That stuff one in my editing process and the composition looking for is how close is she to the edge of the frame? Things your hand isn't out looking at the bench, making sure the bench that I'm standing on is an in frame, preferably if possible. I'm looking to see the clearance on the weight because that's what I decide on the composition. I cover a lot of this in the class and I'm looking at the mountain. The thing is, I'm doing this in the field, and I talk you through this in the field. But when you get back, you kind of gotta talk yourself through the same process a second time because I'm shooting as I go. It's an evolution. And each time I take a frame, I'm eliminating or chain making changes to that composition. So, like what? I just talked about their like you could see the benches in there. She's blocking the Lake Mountains. Fine. For the most part, I've got a lot of dead. This is what I would call dead space. This I can cut all of this out, and the picture is still more or less the same. It's not changing the look. It's not changing the feel. There's no motion. There's no power. I love the way the breeze was coming through her hair. I'm not getting that in this shot. But a couple shots later on that higher angle cleaner lines less on use space and you've got a nice diagonal Coming through that draws the eye line through composition is something that's happening in two different places. That's happening in the field. That's happening again in the editing process. I'm analyzing that compositional element. And now I knew I was doing that. But I come and back to the studio and say, OK, this is my five star. I didn't go OK, market now a lot of people could market in the field, and that, actually is not a bad way to go. If you want to start your images. If your camera has that option of notated the images you like a lot of times it's good to do it because if you liked it in the field, chances are you probably gonna like it in the studio as well. But I'm not paying that close attention. Every time I take a frame, I'm cleaning my lines up. Look at the difference between these two. Almost nothing, right? Very, very little. But I'm getting rid of that little extra room on the top, and I'm getting a little bit more room in the hand because I think it's too close to the edge of the frame, right? So when analyzing this process are when analyzing these images, that's all part of that process of figuring out what you want you want you want to take. But then you start making other little decisions. Well, where do I like her hair? I kind of like a hair here. A little bit better. It's a little more up in the back. Or is it? Maybe here. Looks a little more natural. Where? What is your body posture look like? You know now will start to look. Is everything sharp? Hopes have been there. That's where my screens doing. Something different than that one. So now I can take a look. Okay, this looks pretty good. You know, I might zoom in or something like that. Not zooming in on this. So at this point, if I'm gonna narrow it down, I'm gonna start Somebody go. I like these both. I'm gonna give him stars. I'll just do a five star. That's pretty much my process. I'll go through first and just do a quick edit, and I will go rapid. So what? I'm looking at here. So I kind of like this composition, and then I'm honing in on her hair and I'm looking okay. How much is it blowing? Kind of like this, but it's touching the tree, looking at the two shots, so kind of kind of like this one going to give the star same thing here. Kind of like that. I like the sun on the hair here. Better so I'm literally just analyzing composing. Don't care for this, but whatever. I'm gonna take this. I'm gonna take this. That's pretty nice. Okay? I didn't like this as much. Didn't get the right angle so much. And I'll go pretty fast to this looking good. I like that angle. Still touching the lake didn't quite breaker from the background as much. These are the ones that keep going back to that. I like here. She's too close. This could work, right? Very little difference here. Almost a negligible difference for here. Look how close she is to the edge of the frame. But this could work is well, but now she's almost completely off the edge. I'm trying to avoid I want a little clearance cropping. You never know. My was straight in the horizon. Select a little clearance. I don't want my subject matter to be right there. Okay. This isn't too bad. I kind of like how it's squared up. I've got a nice level horizon. This is crooked. This one's too far back. I don't need all that foreground in here, so I'm gonna just choose this one. These air just overexposed, common ugly lighting changed, got defused. The clouds will. And that's not too bad, though. That's looking pretty good like that as well. Here's a little too wild. So this is my process. I'm just talking myself through it. I'm making some image selections up there is the crew, and you could see in here it got just so ugly. I wouldn't need filters. Now it's hand holding this and a handhold. Try too often handhold with people. Unless it's like the composition is crystal clear to me. I'm usually gonna hand hold so I can just move through it. I'm just composing all the way around this situation and ultimately, you know, because I knew we had Obviously, the Sunset magazine was promoting and I really wanted to capture, like, this iconic Sunset magazine image I wanted that warm light wanted feel like summer time when these clouds balloon. It just felt like dreary, depressing day, Right? So I really just kind of avoided this in general. But these air, these aren't bad, but we'll take. We'll take a look at him I don't take a look. Here's the same composition with different lighting. So see, the lighting change went back, redid it and worked right back through the same situation. Right? So this is how I started. But this is the second time. So I have this view. I have this view. I have her on the other side, and I have her here. I have three, essentially three setups. That's what I would call a set up. We do that in stock photography and stock photography. We do it in stock motion clips each time we say, Okay, we're gonna do a new set up which change our location. Let's change the angle when that we're gonna work this scene. So I moved her over, and then I work all the way around mover over here. I work all the way around. We keep over here, I'm gonna get the higher angle. Each of those is a different set up from which I'm gonna add it. That's what we did with the running shoot that we produced, which is covered in the boot camp class on, um, capturing stock. And then I fired off just a few random shots like a pretty lake little road. Needed a car just messing around. Nothing great. Didn't keep any of these. All right, so what did I choose? It shows 14 shots. Look at those and that's what I've narrowed it down to. So these are my 14 shots that I started with. It's gonna be a lot easier to get down to two shots or three shots. Whatever the final product is gonna be from these 14 I'm not going to try and get down till, like, one or two shots when I'm editing from hundreds. I'm going to go round after round after round until I start to break down what it is that is capturing my eye and that I feel like is great. Now this is a hard thing because there's only so much being very honest here that you can teach about what is appealing, you know, for me, it's what strikes me. It's it's a big part of what has become part of my photography brand and career. I can't sit there and say, Hey, I want her on this angle on this island and this is the right way to do it. You have to trust your gut. You have to trust your instinct and you to say, You know what this feels the best. This is the process, the people who are gonna be best to help you with that. If you don't feel like you can do it on your own, our editors or build a community of other photographers and people around you that you can say, Hey, here, I've narrowed this down to these three or four shots. Which one do you think is the best and why? And the more you hear the answer to why from professionals who understand it, the more you'll start to craft your own opinion of this is what I like. This is what is working for me. This is what I think will work. There is not a right and wrong in a lot of this. It's so subjective most of the time that you're just kind of like maybe, maybe not. I don't know. It really just depends on the person. So, you know, like you might say, Hey, I like her dead center a lot more. You know, I may feel differently on this round of edit that I did on the first round of edits The further away I get from a shoot. Ah, lot of the times I'll come back. And why did I ever skip those shots? I mean, it's really worthwhile to do this process right after you shoot, because you're gonna be really sensitive to the location and you're not going to be. You're gonna be more critic. I find out much more critical, and so you're gonna probably get a tighter at it cause you were just there. You're not getting that wow factor of Wow, this is Blue Lake or whatever. You're not associating with the U. S. So that we'll talk about that a second on the emotional response to But you're maybe not a Zim ocean All about the response where you may be even more emotional about the response. Depending on, um, you know your personality type for me. When I come off of a location, I'll do an edit. I'm like, Whatever. Bone, bone, bone, bone, boom. I want to pick the best friend. This is the one. I think that's great. That's it. I don't care how hard I hike. I don't care what amount of mosquitoes I endured. I'm not going to consider any of that in the process of choosing my friend because no one cares about your story. Getting there Ultimately they care about is the story you're telling in the shot. Your back story doesn't matter, so you might as well make life easy for yourself. And if you could do all of your shots without a whole lot of struggle, and it works really great and you can build a great career, that's great. Cause your back story truly doesn't matter unless you're trying to be very dramatic and gave a great presentation in front of a group of people. Never mind, just just kidding. But it's true, So the emotional connection is something you have to be really careful of. So I'm not thinking about anything other than composition in here, so the next step from this would be to start narrowing it down a little bit further. So at this point, you know, I've got from this set up, I've got six frames or so and really I mean, I could pretty much rule out this second frame, right? She's kind of lost over here. The right. If anything, I like that one better so I'll actually either go to a color coding system where I will, actually, just in this case, probably rule it out. So I'm not gonna come back at this step, so I'll just do a zero and get rid of the five star step. Uh, this one. I'm not loving as much as the one after it. For starters, the horizon straighter. I will have to crop until as much which preserve inequality of my image. Like the hair better here. It's the same thing here. I'm gonna cut that one down. I've decided to keep this one for now as well. Now I'm looking at these two, like the texture in the sky. But you're not seeing much of her face here. We're seeing more of it here, so I'm not really sure. So I'm gonna leave that one. This one Same thing. You know, my horizons a little crooked, like I want that bench squared off and you'll notice in my final product. That's ultimately what I came away with, right? Was these two shots. I never even went with a squared off one, but I didn't even out honestly for all that level of a horizon but explain that in a minute. On why I'm all right with that. So between these two, which ones do you guys like better? Like her dead center. Do you like the one on the top? Were one on the bottom or how many? Okay, that didn't work. Which try this again. We're joining. Who likes the top of your raise your hand. He likes bottom. One will raise your hand. All right. Pretty close. But the top one wins for sure. And super interesting. Why is that? I prefer mainly because, well, your model farther to the right, the image feels a bit more balanced with the mountains on. There's a final. Yeah. Anybody else want to say what the reason is? What about somebody who likes the other one in the center? So I like it because of her hair because of the movement of her hair. Um, I do think you know she's more centered, which I would prefer her to be. More rule of thirds balanced. But I really like the movement. Yeah, I appreciate that. And I agree the hair thing is was tricky. And that's why when you're sitting there firing so many frames will allow you show hundreds of frames. Yeah, I'm not doing it because I'm changing my focus or making adjustments. I'm doing it for those subtleties, especially with people. And I would agree with you about the hair. Um, the other thing that for me doesn't work as well about this is I'm losing my mountain in the top of the frame. And so it's starting to creep off, and I really want to still keep that drama and her eye line looking out up in an across really worked for me because it keeps things moving from here in the frame where again, we're still have that dead space as much almost of our subject matter and where we tend to look, you know, be the be a viewer, Bubi a reader and start thinking about that process, and you'll, you know, that will help you narrow it down. There's no right or wrong answer in that. Ultimately, if I never got this other shot, this bottom frame, that would be fine. I mean, that's the one that ended up going with, you know, this would work just as well. It would. It would be not bad, but it's not what I'm exactly looking for. And that's why the more options you have, the better. And it's also why I don't edit in the field. This is the edit at home edit in the studio step, because only then when you start looking side by side and take an analytical approach, can you start to make the frame selection? So in here now I can start looking at her hair a little bit more, and I'll be honest. I probably after taking an even closer look at this. This is the frame I took with 55 to 4. I think I like 5 to 5, slightly more. So even after going through this entire process and making this election, you know, I'm I'm going back through and take another look going back through in a couple of days. I mean these air subtle. But you know, I like the hair here a little bit more. It's catching the light. Um, and I also like the fact that she's up a little bit higher in the frame, and I'm not losing anything anywhere else. Subject wise, it's otherwise the same thing. It just pushing her a little bit more up into the frame. Actually, I don't know. See, I'm conflicted. So anyway, so All right. So I've made that is a selection because I'm so on the fence about it. I'm gonna just give this a color code and say All right, this is one I want a process up. I'm probably gonna try and take a look at processing up one of these as well. I'm not going to do this one since already did this one. So, whatever I process on this, I can apply to this and then take a second look at because maybe once I opened the shadows, That's also something else thinking about the editing process. Maybe once I open the shadows, color balance, Seymour detail in the hair. And maybe I'll change my opinion yet again. So it's a process of elimination and adaptability to the process that you're of color about of coloring and changing the image itself. You have a question? Yeah, Just simply, These are all landscape. Ah is opposed to portrait. And I know sometimes you're selling for magazines, your marketing towards magazines. So I'm just kind of curious when you choose one or the other. You mean Okay, So a vertical horizontal thinking about OK, so, yeah, it's a good question. So I probably should have shot vertical, and I think I normally would have. I'm pretty sure in the scouting phase when we're looking at it. I was trying it out, but it just keeping the bench, the mountain in the lake, in the shop and keeping the energy flow sort of going that direction in keeping things clear wasn't working as well, especially from a higher angle, because what happened was, I think, had a move over a little bit more. And then this started to move over a little bit more. It was just kind of a funky angle and end up having a lot of dead space is well in here. The horizontal, I think, work better. It still has a lot of dead space, to be honest with you. Um, but there wasn't a better way to do it. I mean, you're limited. I was physically limited by the constraints of like, there's a big bench there. I'm already standing on top of the bench to get that extra height. Um, so I can change the perspective and not shoot lower, which I really like. Um, but you would have been just trying to figure out that there's also a path that leads right up to it. And there was a rock wall on a ledge over here, so I'm trying to keep my frame is clear and clean as possible so that it doesn't mean it's got it. Obviously got a bench, and it feels like that classic National Park shot at the same time. I don't want to look like an overdeveloped spot. I want to try and keep it a little more, like again, going after themes like more about that emotional connection of, like, solitude escape. You know, for me, this almost says, like victory in many ways. Like I made it up to the top. I feel good. You know? Everyone else can can leave me alone. I'm turning my phone off. I'm just gonna have this moment, right? I mean, you could get a lot of different things out of this. Um, you know, in a way, it almost even convey strength just because of the power of the shot and win. And just kind of the relaxed posture of the person, you know, It says a lot more as well as travel, but that's a really great question. I probably should have made that decision here versus in the field. Um, and it having vertical and horizontal options is always very good, Especially when shooting for magazines. The other thing when shooting for a magazine. If I was gonna shoot vertical, I would have had a lot more leeway with sky. So I could have cropped out more of the foreground and maybe gotten those elements out, had more room for the sky where the title of the magazine could go as a cover option potentially or the name of the story. Um, so moving on a minute I'm gonna stick with my original choice. We'll take another look. Here she is. Alright, So I've already kind of got married to these two, and she's just too close to the edge of the frame here. So I'm gonna knicks that as well. And this and this and this. So another good way to do this is to look side by sides. This is when the clouds start to get a little more dense. I mean, if I was to pick one of these, maybe I don't know. Kind of leaning towards the one on the bottom. Somebody give that a process as well. And he's a pretty lackluster. So for me, I think it's gonna boil down a hair as well as the edge of frame with her hand. Take a look. I'm gonna take this one. All right, So now I've narrowed it down to these four shots. I'm gonna go and take a look. Now, the key is, where do you go from here? I am trying to convey, as we just talked about the emotional components of the shot I'm trying to come. They warmth from china, convey fun trip. Ah, lot of the when I talk about motion and how a scene is created and, you know, the office environment. In this movie I was watching, everything was very blue. It's very cold. Literally, though the white balance was brought all the way down to the low end of the Calvin Spectrum. Whereas when you want, like that vacation feel, you know, in the French chateau in the countryside of the bugs flying, it's low light contrast e and tends to be very, very warm. Warmer images are honestly I see them do better in sales and people have a little bit stronger reaction them. So right now, this is pretty neutrally balanced. It's not really skewed one way or the other. It's pretty, pretty well balanced. I was using auto white balance. You can tell even right here in the screen. You'll see eight over you be at the bottom, a swells, all my settings. You'll notice my settings, by the way, which I was talking through in the field. It's covered in the class. So not gonna go into detail about those. But obviously I wanted that the hair and other motion frozen. So having that nice fast shutter speed with super great. So I'm gonna start. I've down to four shots, and this still is one of my favorites of the two of even of the two ended up picking. Um, let's say it was a by 45 is the one I ended up picking. So let's take another look at that and see why didn't that I wanted it. Keep This is honest as possible. So So this is the one I ended up taking. Somebody give this ready. Let's do. This is the yellow as well. I'm not gonna give it a star rating. This is the one I took Is the one that did in the next edit. Okay, I see why I took it. So I'm not really losing anything here by the frame I actually took, But the hair for me, it just little bit's. It's subtle. It's a such a subtle difference, but just a little bit better is actually the one I end up doing in my first pass at it. So that one, I like that. So I'm actually going to get rid of this.