Thursday, July 9, 2009

EDITING, OUR 15-STEP PROCESS

Post by Steve Temple

A lot of you may be wondering why it takes soooooo long for event photos to appear on our website, and that's what this post is all about. For instance, Michael just returned from Laconia, NH, but it may be several months before it appears on lichterphoto.com.

First of all, we wait until the event appears in Easyriders and V-Twin magazines, it would be a little sneaky of us to release all the photos before they hit the stands or your mailboxes. Second, we have a rigorous (aka anal) and ever evolving editing method. It's this editing that takes time, and factor in Michael's back to back shooting schedule this time of year and it reeeaaalllyyy takes time.

It all starts the day of the shoot. Upon returning to his room (usually around 2 am), Michael downloads all the cards from the days shoot. During this 'ingest' all the images are; 1. tagged with information about the shoot, camera settings, our information and copyright, 2. renamed and 3. written to two separate hard disk drives for immediate backup. After the shoot when Michael returns to the studio, all the images are copied to our image server and he begins the editing process.

During the editing process Michael will look closely at every single image for focus, exposure and overall composition. Any that don't make the cut are deleted immediately. On a second run through, each photo is rated. This rating determines where the photos will ultimately end up, on lichterphoto.com, on our stock photography site (lichterstock.com) or simply in our files. Once the photos are rated, those targeted for the website get captioned and keyworded. Captions are the shorts blurbs that appear with each image on the website, they frequently contain the who, what and where of the photograph. Keywords, on the other hand, are a simple list of terms describing the photograph so it can be found on our stock site. They can be words or terms such as, 'riding shot', 'smiling' or formal terms like 'Sturgis Motorcycle Rally'. That way, when a yoga magazine is searching for a cover shot of a person smiling, they find ours (this actually happened).

At this point, Michael is done and I take over. My first step is to burn the whole shoot to DVD, usually around 13 of them!! When the burning is done I delete all the files that didn't make the website cut, resort the remaining files, of which the raw files are converted to DNG and the NEFs are deleted. As for the JPGS, a subset of re sized files is created and uploaded to our stock site on PhotoShelter's servers. From the same original JPGS, the image galleries for lichterphoto.com are created, uploaded, and linked. Finally, the JPGS are deleted, leaving only the DNG files on our server for quick retrieval later.

I'm sure it seems like a lot of work, but this process has taken us years to develop and finesse, constantly trying to streamline any little detail we can.

1 comment:

John E. Adams said...

Nice overview Steve and some great food for thought over here -;0)

John