Happy New 2017 - 10 things for me to think about in my photography business in 2017

Happy New Year!!!!

Delighted you are with me for another year. I hope last year was excellent for you, and that this year will be even better.

I thought I would start my photography blog for 2017 with a post about 10 things I want to do differently in 2017.

I don’t go in for News Years Resolutions. Not as such. But I do believe in learning and improving. So here are some thoughts on things I want to change, work on, improve and develop in 2017.

  1. Learn new stuff – image capture, composition, processing, SEO, design, marketing. Oh that’s a big one to start with!
  2. Produce less quantity and more quality. I am not only talking about my images here, but also blog posts, articles, work, anything really.
  3. Make my blog work for me. I have written about this before. And when I have a post written, schedule it. And stop the typos. Google doesn't like them apparently.
  4. Take less photographs, but go out more often and try to make more higher quality photographs.
  5. Sort my Lightroom Catalogue. Finally. Once and for all.
  6. Approach more clients. And get more work. More direct marketing. And the use of actual prints. And books.
  7. Work on my stock submissions, both my own stock pages on my website and with my selected picture stock partner companies.
  8. Continue to develop my niches in architectural, building, construction, industrial and interior photography.
  9. Learn more. Read more. Listen to less of the same podcasts. Stop signing up to email lists then not reading the emails and then cancelling the subscriptions.
  10. Read what I already have before buying anything else to read.

And, say it quietly,

Become more efficient. More productive. (I know that's 11 but don't tell anyone).

I love my photography, and want to enjoy it even more in 2017. How do I do this?

Simple.

Get out and take more photos.

Both commercial images as well as personal work which ends up becoming stock imagery anyway, but photographed by me for me. There is a difference here. I do what I want to do and use that imagery, rather than shooting for others.

Regarding gear? I use less and less each year. There are a couple of things I want to get but I will write about these separately.

But another improvement I will continue with from 2016 is the less is more approach to gear.

Right – that’s the plan - tomorrow I will be back to the business of photography. And I cant wait.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Sunday 1st January 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

 

 

The things I am going to write about in my photography blog in 2017

I have been thinking. Yes sorry but it happens every now and then…

I have decided to rethink the content of my blog going forward. Writing this post has helped me sort in my head what I need to do in 2017 and onwards.

I need to make the best use of the limited time I have available for the production of daily blog posts.

Unfortunately professional photography is more about the business of photography than the actual taking of pictures, and this will be reflected in the content of my blog in 2017.

December however is all about producing an endless flow of new images, as I have the fallout of me sorting my 2007 images to contend with. This problem will be compounded even further when I get round to my 2008 images, as there is lots and lots of good stuff in there too. That is if I ever get to my 2008 collection of images.

And the years after that my work steadily improves but that is definitely a 2017 problem to deal with.

But back to my blog, and the content of my blog, and what I want to achieve by continuing to commit to daily blog posts in 2017.

I have to say that I enjoy writing about photography, and that I also enjoy writing about my photography and my images.

But I have to remember that my blog posts are in addition to my full time work, so the content does need to be carefully structured to enable me to maintain a consistent quality of content.

I also want to maintain the quality of the photography that I publish not only on my blog but anywhere externally.

  • Quality is very important to me and is at the core of everything to do with my photography business.
  • Consistency is also important.
  • And it is also important to me that I produce original photographic work.

So put that little lot together and things are going to change in 2017.

My blog should be an output of a selection of the things that I do in my photography business, and also of things that I want to do, the things I want to work on, the things I want to improve and the new things that I want to learn.

All of which should help me progress and improve all aspects of my photography, which in turn should also help to improve the success of my photography business.

And I must not forget of course that I want to produce content that other people will find useful, helpful and informative. And maybe every now and then amusing.

The rest of 2016 is already scheduled out. Well it was until I came across 2007 and editing on my IPad Pro got into full swing! I have gone a bit mad to be honest, being reunited with some old images but being able to process them using everything I have learnt between then and now. This is exciting to me!

I want to maintain the daily blog posts, but I also want them to be structured around my work and the things I want to improve and develop in 2017.

I will therefore continue to produce new pictures of Dorset and Hampshire, as well as architectural photography and interior photography images – all on a weekly basis. These are my core subjects. And this work will feed out into commercial areas of my business. This makes perfect sense.

There will be more variety in the nature and content of my posts.

I wrote a few longer posts this year, and I am going to produce more posts with more detailed content in 2017. These will be about my work in Lightroom and Photoshop. Writing these longer posts about Lightroom and Photoshop also makes perfect sense, as there are things I want to spend time on, especially in Photoshop.

I will also be producing shorter posts as well. More shorter posts and less longer posts.

That sort of works for me time-wise.

I have found writing very helpful in developing my photographic skills in a targeted way. I have also found this writing enjoyable.

I scheduled out December in advance, and yes things changed but this scheduling made me much more productive. Scheduling in advance also made me change the way I work, making improvements in my working efficiency. I noticed a big difference in my productivity in December which was good to see.

Other bigger subjects that I will be writing about on a monthly basis will include

  • Luminosity masks
  • How to organise your photos in Lightroom – the never ending subject and the work done to get on top of my Lightroom Catalogue
  • My beginners guide to Lightroom – started but left behind in 2016

This gives me plenty to do, and plenty of variety.

I am going to schedule out my posts for January 2017 onwards, and see how things go. This is a plan I am happy with, combining all the subjects I want to work on with an ongoing process of production of new images. And the taking of new images – this is very important to me and I will endeavour to produce new personal work very week.

The list of subjects, in no particular order, is this (at the moment)

  • One Top 10 list post per month.
  • Favourite photography locations
  • Luminosity Mask monthly update
  • Stock photography monthly submission/ update
  • Photography news
  • Black and white – three variations of one black and white image
  • Website monthly update – words and images
  • Customer/ client/ marketing news
  • Commercial issues
  • Podcast episode
  • New gear
  • Old gear
  • Lightroom - Quick Tip
  • Photoshop – Quick Tip
  • Lightroom - longer post on a specific subject or technique
  • Photoshop post - longer post or specific subject or technique
  • Photography Term explained
  • Monthly video and image
  • Photography technique
  • Quick photography Tip
  • How I took the shot
  • IPhone image of the week
  • 1 Dorset image per week
  • 1 Hampshire image per week
  • 1 architectural interior/ exterior image per week
  • Image of the week
  • Beginners Guide to Lightroom
  • How Do I Do That In Photoshop article - this will make sense don't worry,

That is a total of 43 potential posts per month! Plus things that happen along the way.

Now I am no expert in such things but 43 into 31 does not go. So I am back at multiple blog posts in a day. Some days anyway. I will have a think about this…….

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Friday 16th December 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/blog

How do I organise my images in Lightroom? Problem number 1 in my attempt to sort the 3116 images in my Lightroom Catalogue from 2008

I set all the images as rejects in the 2008 Collection. I have removed that flag. There are a couple of reasons why.

Firstly, I guess I am impatient. When I have decided I am going to delete some images I want to do it there and then. And I do not want to decide to delete some images then find that I have lost the selection later.

There is no way I can delete the rejects out of 3116 images in one go at the end.

So I have removed the rejected flag. And now I am back to pick or reject, or on my IPad swipe up to pick and down to reject.

Another issue was that it took a while to get rid of the first 200 images. I had decided that 200 images needed deleting, but could not hit delete as all the other pictures from 2008 were selected as rejects, so I went to the first image I had not reviewed, and then scrolled down to the last image and selected all of these and removed the reject flag.

That left just the rejected images which I had decided were rejects.

So my plan did not work.

Which is fine.

We all have to try these things.

And now I am going to continue with my image culling. I am going to work by logical collections of images, say of a trip, or a single shoot. Just do them one by one, then hit delete.

And that way I will go through this big chunk of my Lightroom Catalogue in a logical order, breaking the task down into logical manageable chunks.

My target is to reduce the number of images by a half, and to have 5% of images to edit out of that lot.

This will mean I am going from 3116 images in no order whatsoever to circa 1500 images sorted, rated and keyworded, and no more than 75 images to edit.

That is my target, lets see what happens.

Sorry that this seems to be dragging on, but this is something you only do once, and is rather important!

Rick McEvoy Photography – lost in Lightroom!

Wednesday 14th December 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

How to organise your photos in Lightroom – sorting the images in my Lightroom Catalogue from from 2007

I am now on 2007. Just 442 images in this year. But the beginning of me taking photographs in RAW and not Jpeg.

I know this sounds like a relatively easy task at the moment but the next year, 2008, is where it gets serious. Over three thousand images. I am going to set aside an hour to do those and nothing else. I want to do the first pass of this in one go. Uninterrupted. I want to know how long it takes to go through and sort all those images. When I say sort I mean reject or pick. I will definitely rate them all as rejects before I begin. And I am going to do this on my IPad. And 2009 on my PC. And see which worked the best.

But back to 2007. I started off with 442 images, and managed to reject 201 images.

I forgot to assign all the images as rejects in Lightroom on my PC, but just having pick and reject worked fine. I did find myself rating images that I wanted to edit, but this I will get used to. I am going to do a first pass of pick or reject, then on the second pass assign stars to the images I want to edit.

I was not 100% sure if deleting the rejects from the main catalogue removed them from the Collection as well, but can now confirm that it does. And I also checked that if you remove images from a Collection then they are not physically deleted, they are just removed from that view. Whilst this is a limitation of Collections it makes sense as you can have an image in more than one collection. It is just worth remembering that you cannot delete images in Lightroom Mobile – the best you can do is reject the image then choose Remove Rejected Images in full-blown Lightroom.

And now we are in December I need to get cracking on November 2016, applying the same logic, which I will write about next.

Sorry I forgot. Next up will be one of those 2007 images. Or maybe more than one? Who knows? I know I don’t!

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Tuesday 6th December 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

How to organise your photos in Lightroom – my trial of sorting one years worth of images in a collection

I have written about this before. And now I have to just get on and do it.

I started my image culling process with the 2006 collection of 449 images. This is enough images to enable me to try out what I thought I was going to – this was my trial.

And what did I find out from this trial?

I need to simplify culling on my IPad

I was picking, rejecting, having images with no flag and also assigning star ratings.

I need to go with this.

  • Pick
  • Reject
  • Nothing else.

On my IPad, using Lightroom Mobile, this is a simple matter of swipe up to pick and swipe down to reject. I do not want anything with no flags – I am going to force myself to make a positive choice either way.

In fact now I think about it, whilst writing this post, I will mark every image as a reject, forcing me to pick images that I want to keep. This I will have to do to the collection in Lightroom on my PC. So all I have to do is swipe up when I want to keep an image, and swipe right to go to the next one. If I don’t want the image I don’t have to do anything.

I can also do this on my PC of course, but the point is that I can sit down and relax on the sofa and go through a years worth of images, or anywhere else I want to.

Once again giving myself the time to think about an issue has enabled me to come up with a logical, simplified solution.

Once I have done this first cull I will then delete the rejects on my PC in Lightroom.

And then they are gone. Forever.

I will probably go through this process a couple of times as I am not that good at getting rid of my images. Once I get started though I am sure I will get rid of lots of stuff.

And I can also assign stars to images I want to edit on my IPad if I want to.

My initial trawl of 2006 was mainly of pictures taken in Chile.

From those 449 images from that year I have managed to come up with the following

  • Picks 99
  • No flag 135
  • Rejects 215

This was my first pass in what I am considering a trial.

So I have deleted the rejects, and removed the pick flag, leaving 234 images.

I will go back through the images I have culled and revisit the picks/ rejects. Then I will delete the images I do not want in Lightroom. And then I will assign star ratings to images worth editing, whatever they may be of.

As I do 99% of my editing in Lightroom on my PC this is fine. And as all my images are stored on an external hard drive connected to my PC this makes even more sense.

There is one issue I will need to contend with at some point – I will have backups of images I have since deleted. One for another time - I will worry about that when my 4 TB hard drive is full.

I have narrowed down exactly what I use Lightroom Mobile for to the following

  • Reviewing
  • Picking/ rejecting
  • Sharing/ posting
  • Browsing, thinking, ideas.

And quick edits as and when I want to do them.

The rest I do in Lightroom on my PC.

And the good news is that the 215 rejects from the initial trawl is nearly 50% of the images. These are images that I do not want to edit, do not want to keep, or are duplicates of edited images. Only another 45,000 images to go!

Another thing sorted.

And it means I can still go through all my catalogues any place, any time, anywhere.

Someone should use that in an advert……..

And if you are younger than me you will not get that joke

OK enough from me. Someone get me a Martini!

Next is one image from those lovely keepers which I have re-edited and will post tomorrow on my blog.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Saturday 3rd December 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

Autumn in Dorset and Hampshire – why are the colours more vibrant this year?

Is it me or is Autumn getting later and later? And getting more and more colourful?

I thought I had missed the colourful season of Autumn but am finding myself in November transfixed by the golden autumn colours in Dorset and Hampshire.

November? I should be preparing for Christmas now not photographing golden autumn colours surely?

I must have been concentrating on my commercial photography work, but now have popped my head out of the window and noticed (possibly the back end of) Autumn 2016 in all its colourful lush golden glory.

I was meant to be working on stock imagery and luminosity masks in November, but have been completely sidetracked by the stunning autumn scenes I find myself in.

The colours seem more vivid and intense this year. Maybe I have just opened my eyes properly to what is out there. I feel like I am seeing in 4K now, having been looking through eyes like an old 14” CRT TV.

It’s a good job this finally hit me. Just in time too as the storms recently down here in Dorset and Hampshire have gone rid of a significant amount of that lovely colourful autumn foliage!

This is a good thing. I am getting some new work I am really happy with. After a lot of architectural and interior photography work it is nice to have a bit of a break and work on some new landscape photography work taken in Dorset and Hampshire.

So in actual terms I am still working on my stock imagery – rather than going though old images I am just creating lots of new ones!

And I have even applied some of my new Lightroom Catalogue management ideas to my new images.

Some – not all.

It is at times like this that I feel that the different strands of my photography world are beginning to come together. As though I actually have a plan.

Now I better stop waffling and get out there before all the leaves get blown off the trees in the storms!

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Sunday 27th November 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

Cropping an image - one quick way to transform an image

The point of the last two posts is that cropping can transform an image. I like all three versions, but which do you prefer?

I like all three in different ways, but I have an emotional attachment to the images having taken them all. So yes I am a bit biased.

The original image was the composition I actually took a photograph of. This is what I saw. This is the scene I photographed. This is what I wanted to capture and convey.

The square crop is interesting. This crop allowed me to exclude some of the trees at the top and some of the ground at the bottom. I did not want to cut off the starburst, and this was the logical square crop.

The landscape format shot is the picture I should have taken. I have just gone back to all the images from that day, and I only actually took one shot!

Usually I would take a variety of pictures of a scene, but must remember being careful with my composition so much so that I only needed the one shot.

Not a bad call to be fair to me.

But I need to remember to take photographs of a great scene in landscape and portrait formats for this very reason.

Now fortunately for me as I take my photographs with a Canon 6D I can crop within an image quite a lot without any noticeable loss of image quality.

There are two points to this post about cropping. And one of them is nothing to do with cropping.

The first is the most important. Think about what you are photographing. What you have included. And think carefully about what you have excluded. Or indeed could include or exclude.

And the possibilities when you get back to your PC.

And then when you are processing an image think about the content of the image. Crop to make the best of the image. Try different crops, portrait, landscape, square and custom. And of course no crop at all. That should be the best shot, and in time will be…..

And you never know what you might end up with.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Thursday 24th November 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

How to organise your photos in Lightroom - how I am going to manage an ever expanding Lightroom Catalogue

I wrote a post in July of this year called Organising my images in Adobe Lightroom.

This is such a fundamental issue in my photography business that I have decided to return to this post and review my thoughts. And at the end of this post you will find my step by step guide to how to organise your photos in Lightroom. Think of this as a thank you for getting all the way to the end of this long post!

This is a massive subject to me. I was going to title the article

Question - How do you eat a large elephant?

Answer – one piece at a time!

But I thought better of this!!

But seriously,

I have been working for the last three months on my two portfolios, and now that this work is complete one of my next major tasks is to sort through the images in my Lightroom Catalogue. This is a winter job for sure, and one of the outputs of this process will be the production of new sets of images for stock agency submissions. And I have absolutely no doubt in sorting out these images year on year I will be stopping regularly to edit some new work – things that I have forgotten about over the years.

And this is the point of sorting out my catalogue once and for all. There is some good stuff in there that I want to identify, and mark for editing whenever I want.

There will also be a post on picture stock this winter as well, so these two should subjects will combine nicely and meet at the end with new stuff for stock. Yeay!

And then there is my online store that I will be creating shortly.

Lots to look forward, but let's get back to the subject in hand now.

I will include the text from each section, along with my revised thoughts a few months further on.

The issue when I wrote the post was this.

“I am an architectural photographer. This is my specialism. I also carry out commercial photography work, but architectural, building, construction, industrial, property and of course interior photography are my main areas of commercial photography work. I also enjoy travel photography, and landscape photography in Dorset and Hampshire.

So, I take lots of photographs. And the number of new images I am producing is increasing week by week.

As of now, June 2016, I have well over 40,000 images in a single Adobe Lightroom catalogue. These images occupy 908GBs of space as of today.”

On November 1st, 2016, I now have over 47,000 images in my catalogue. So, the problem is an ever increasing one. The more work I do the more my catalogue expands.

This catalogue is my photography business, and it needs managing, curating and looking after.

“I need to improve my digital file management in the future. I also need to address the back catalogue, which has never been properly sorted. This is in part because it has taken me up to this point to think about the whole subject in a structured, organised way.

The outcome of this structuring of my work will be that I will be able to be more productive, giving me more time to take photographs, giving me greater opportunities to improve the standard of my photographic work.

What is the point of having over 40,000 images if I cannot find what I want quickly? This post is my plan for how to manage my images, not only the ones in my catalogue now, but also future images not yet taken.”

So, that was the issue then. Blimey.

Now let's get to the specifics.

The issues I must contend with are as follows (as I wrote in July 2016);

  • “General organisation of my catalogue
  • The number of images in my catalogue
  • The folder structure
  • My Collections structure
  • Keywording
  • Rating
  • Stock images
  • The process for going through my existing catalogue
  • The process for new images.
  • Videos
  • Duplicate images
  • Backups – catalogue and import backups”.

I can add to this list the following

  • Rating of images that is relevant and helpful to me
  • Key wording of images for stock use
  • Better use of collections

I will go back to each of these headings and deal with each one in turn.”

General organisation of my catalogue

My catalogue is a single catalogue. That is fine. The images are stored on my external hard drive. The Lightroom Catalogue is on my laptop hard drive. I have an off-site hard drive backup, and a permanently updating cloud backup. I have written separately about my backup strategy.

So, my data is secure – I am happy with this. And still am in October 2016.

And because of the way I have structured and implemented my back up strategy this will not be affected by the changes I am going to implement within Lightroom, other than the fact that there will be less images to manage.

And if I improve my data management at the time of import and sorting I will be more efficient in the future.

This change has worked well going forwards, so my data is secure and the structure can accommodate future expansion of my Lightroom Catalogue.

My Lightroom Catalogue is organised as follows

I have an Import folder, which is the default folder where my images are imported to. This, and all the other folders, can be viewed in Windows Explorer. They are in a conventional folder structure.

I have created several folders (within Lightroom) to break up my Lightroom Catalogue.

These are

  • 1 – Import
  • 2 – Sort, name, keyword
  • 3 – Edit file
  • 4 – Commercial work
  • 4 – House Simple
  • 4 - KKL
  • 5 – AFCB
  • 5 – Bournemouth
  • 5 – BU
  • 5 – Cornwall
  • 5 – Dorset
  • 5 – Hampshire
  • 5 - London
  • 5 – Poole
  • 5 – Sandbanks
  • 5 – West Berkshire
  • 5 – West Sussex
  • 6 – Google
  • 10 – Worldwide
  • 11 – Other
  • 99 - Personal

Many of these folders are sub-divided by subject matter or date. The import folder is where images land now when imported, subdivided into folders by date.

This is the evolution of how I organised my images when I started using Lightroom, back in version 1.0!

But now I use Collections in Lightroom more and more, mainly when I started to use Lightroom Mobile on my IPhone 6 Plus. Before then I did not have much of a use for Lightroom Mobile, as I always had my laptop with me and all my images fitted onto my laptop hard drive.

That was until my hard drive filled up, and I had to do something completely different. If you go back to my blog posts on the 15th February you can read all about this, but basically I had to put my entire image collection onto a new, separate, external 4TB hard drive. For the first time, I did not have all my images with me.

Using Smart Previews, and keeping the Lightroom Catalogue only on my laptop, I can still view and indeed edit images remotely from my external hard drive. And this has made Lightroom Mobile even more useful for me, as I can access collections from my phone and Ipad anywhere in the world.

And so far, I have not found a limit to the number of photos you can add to Lightroom Mobile. On my IPhone I have (access to the Smart Previews of) 32,881 images, but Lightroom Mobile is only using 4.03GB of the 64 GB memory available.

I still can’t work this out but it is incredible how fantastic the Smart Preview feature is.

It does not make sense. How can that possibility happen?

Collections are amazing. They are the way forward, and make editing more efficient as well.

I had the following Collections, containing anything from 3 to 1500 images, some of which are synced with Lightroom Mobile, some not.

  • Web Pages 2015
  • About
  • Architectural Photography
  • Bournemouth
  • Building Photography
  • Commercial
  • Commissions
  • Construction
  • Dorset
  • Freelance
  • General
  • Hampshire
  • Home
  • Home 07072015
  • Home 07092015
  • Home 08062015
  • Home 18082015
  • Industrial
  • Interiors
  • Landscape
  • Panoramas
  • Poole
  • Property
  • Sandbanks
  • New
  • Archives – 4 sub-folders
  • Commercial Work – 2 sub-folders
  • Dorset –
  • From LR Mobile
  • Image Brief
  • Image Sets
  • Kendall Kingscott
  • London
  • Loop
  • Portfolio 2016
  • Sandbanks
  • Smart Collections
  • To do

And another 50 collections.

You get the idea…..

Wow. What have I done? Interestingly in my November update I have loads and loads more collections, and I find I am using them more and more.

I have not changed this structure, as I have not done what I wrote about doing as I have not had the time. So the Collections have grown more, without much consideration. But they need sorting now more than ever!

The number of images in my Lightroom Catalogue

This is an ongoing problem. 40,000 images take up 908GB of hard drive space. There are 123,224 files in 68,679 folders.

Now I have over 47,000 images. And another memory cards worth to add when I have finished writing this post.

The Lightroom Catalogue itself takes up 75GB of laptop hard drive space, 82,437 files in 61,367 folders.

And to put the issue into perspective, I came back from Rhodes 1400 images, which on their own filled 2 separate 16GB memory cards and a bit more on a third card!

Obviously, this is a problem for the future which needs addressing now. I need to be more brutal with my culling of images, and also my bracketed sets of images. Basically, I need to delete some stuff now and in the future.

Bracketing is fine – it just needs to be managed - as part of my sorting I need to remove unwanted bracketed sets. This needs to be dealt with at source going forwards, on import of the images into Lightroom – well at the sorting stage that is anyway.

I am still not doing this.

Again, due to time available to carry out this extra work the situation has worsened. I have more images, but thankfully my strategy for storage and backup has kept up with the increase in the size of my Lightroom Catalogue. All my data is secure and backed up so the first part of the exercise was a huge success.

The folder structure

I have described my folder structure, but need to decide about this for the future. Do I stay as I am, come up with a new structure, or abandon it completely and let Lightroom do this bit for me, relying solely on collections?

I am going to stick with my folder structure in general terms– it does not take a lot of time to put things where I want them, and there is a degree of logic to how I have structured my folders.

And I do sub-divide folders such as those from a two-week trip, where I will have lots of pictures of the same subject taken over a number of different days.

I am however going to revise the structure going forward to the following. When I say am going to revise this has not happened yet, and is something I need to do.

The question is this - is the structure I came up with still valid and the best for me going forward?

No.

I still want the folders to be a part of my photography workflow, so the first two folders I will keep.

1 - Import

2 – Sort (cull/ rate/ keyword)

That is the easy bit. And this needs to be consistent with my image rating system, which is another integral part of my photography workflow.

The other folders I proposed were.

3 – Commercial work

Sub-folders by client

4 – Dorset

Sub-folders by location

5 – Hampshire

Sub-folders by location

6 – London

Sub-folders by location

7 – England

Sub-folders by location

8 – World

Sub-folders by location

9 – Working files (This is where I will put stuff like skies etc that are generic and specific to nothing).

That is it. Simple. Less is more.

9 folders and sub-folders.

Job done. Funny as I have been messing about with this for ages, and once I finally sat down to think about it the answer was clear.

I see no reason to change this – it looks fine for me and has the capability to be added to whenever needed. Happy with this.

I just need to get on and do this!

The next subject is a bit more tricky though…

My Collections structure

I can improve my collections structure I have no doubt. It is about breaking these things down into what you really need. This is what I am going to do now. You can have images in more than one collection, which as you will see will prove invaluable. This is one of the great things about collections.

So, what do I want collections of?

Current projects. Each time I import a new set of images I automatically create a new collection and add them all to it. One slight drawback with this and the way that I work is that I take bracketed sets of three shots as a matter of course. After import, I auto-stack the images. Using my Rhodes trip as an example, I had circa 1400 images, which reduced to 464 once I had put the bracketed sets together. This update was not reflected in the Collection though, meaning I had to remove the images from the Collection, then add back the set so the first of the three bracketed images is visible.

Collections do not contain actual images, just links to the files, but you can work on them just like the actual files. This is how you can have one photo in more than one Collection. And if you change the image in one Collection it changes in the other collection. And of course, the image in the actual folder.

Update on this point. I have more collections than when I wrote this post in July. It is good that I am using them more, I just need to get rid of lots of them, and produce a structure for new ones. A thought comes to me at this point. I can simply reflect the structure of my folders. The folders can be collection sets, with individual collections within them. I will give that a go.

The only problem with this is that you can't have collection sets in Lightroom Mobile, well you couldn’t at the time of writing. All you get is the collections themselves, but this might not be an issue as in Lightroom Mobile the last collection you were working on appears first automatically, which is a cool feature. This might actually work.

Another problem sorted!

Keywording

Now this is boring.

Boring but important - especially for stock photography.

I have never needed to use a keyword to find an image to be honest, but stock libraries rely on keywords.

That means I need to keyword everything. You can sort images using Smart Collections that do not have keywords, and that is what I am going to do one wet winters evening this year. And I am going to start keywording images as part of the import process going forward.

Again, it does not have to be complicated, just simple words to describe the picture. Nothing fancy. And my two stock agencies have specific keywording requirements which I have to add to as part of the upload process.

What I need to do is decide on the minimum number of keywords, to account for the following

  • Location
  • Subject
  • Related words

It should be a simple job, again I will become more efficient the more I keyword.

Image rating

The ongoing issue that I never seem to get sorted.  And things have changed again since I first wrote about this subject.

This has caused me issues over the years. I have frequently changed this, never seeming to get it quite how I want it. This is the time for me to review this, think about it, and come up with a system for current and new images from now on.

In Lightroom you can rate with stars, 1-5 (and no stars), and also with (6 different) colour labels.

Currently my star rating is as follows

No star - unrated

1* Maybe

2* To edit

3* Quick edit

4* Full edit

5* Edited best

What do I want to do with star ratings?

Good question. This is the fundamental point.

When I import I use pick and reject. If I have a pick then it should have some value. So, having a rating for “maybe edit” should not be required at all.

The one thing I am settled on is this

5* - the best of the best. Pick. Portfolio piece. Star image. Call it what you want. It all amounts to the same.

Starting here I could follow the process as follows

4* - not as good as a 5*

3* - not as good as a 4*

etc etc

But what is the point of that?

I want to identify images for stock use. That could be a colour label. One colour for “potential stock image”, another for “image edited ready to upload”, and another for “image already uploaded”.

That works, and as you can only have one colour label per image that is colour labels done.

Which leaves star ratings. What do I want to track?

The process from import to 5*.

So how about this?

0 – Unrated

1* - Imported

2* - Keyworded/ filed

3* - ?

4* - Full edit

5* - Edited best

Hmmm still not working.

Try again. I have 6 potential star ratings (including no star).

0* - Imported/ unrated.

1* - Keyworded/ filed/ sorted/ culled – an important first stage as I don’t always get time to do this at import

2* - No use. I could split 1* further but this adds another process.

3* - Edited – commercial work

4* - Edited – non-commercial work

5* - Edited – portfolio best

I will have a think about that. It sort of works for me. I don’t want to over complicate this after all, but I need to quickly find the following

My best work

My edited commercial work

Unedited images

Unsorted images

I don’t need unedited as a star rating as I used to as that is a 1*

This is what I came up with

1* - To sort

2* - To edit

3* - Edited commercial

4* - Edited non-commercial

5* - Edited best

Simple. Job done.

Rating using stars and colour labels. Again, it should be simple to be usable.

And with my brief trial of the 2004 and 2005 years it turns out it didn't work.

This is what I changed it to

0* - Unrated

1* - To sort

2* - No edit

3* - To edit

4* - Edited

5* - Edited best

In Lightroom Collections you have what are called Smart Collections. Once you have assigned a star rating to an image it is automatically added to the Smart Collection. I have added text to the smart collection names In Lightroom which is as above, so I know what the stars mean. Yes, this has been such a problem for me over the years, but hopefully it is sorted now.

Lightroom Mobile uses the star ratings, but you can’t see the description for each star rating, which is a shame.

Stock images

I need to identify images for stock. I use two stock agencies, Image Brief in the USA and Loop Images in the UK. I have been very lapse with my stock submissions recently, so need this identification now to allow me to get a grip of this.

Colour labels as described above will be the way forward.

  • No colour label means not considered yet for stock.
  • Red means not suitable for stock (for whatever reason).
  • White means image suitable for stock
  • Blue means edited ready for upload.
  • Green means uploaded to Loop/ Image Brief (I will differentiate in the Collections for each).

I will have a Collection Set of Loop, and one for Image Brief, each with the following sub-collections

  • To edit
  • To upload
  • Uploaded

This will help me keep track of them.

Another thing sorted.

Well not quite.

You can't assign colour labels in Lightroom Mobile. One of my main requirements is that I can do this anywhere, using collections in Lightroom. Which is why my rating system had to change. See above for that.

This is not a bad thing necessarily. I am confining my organising to star ratings and collections only, which is the least number of combined things I can get away with.

Colour ratings are out for me!

The process for new images.

Import into the import folder onto my external hard drive.

Create a duplicate import back-up set on my laptop hard drive.

  1. Build Smart Previews.
  2. Add copyright data
  3. Add develop presets.
  4. Then once imported
  5. Cull
  6. Rate
  7. Keyword
  8. File
  9. Edit as required.

Done.

No changes here. My thoughts on this are fine and this is what I will do. The problem is I was not actually doing it!

Videos

I have videos on my IPhone. Simply I need to put these on my PC hard drive, and from here I can upload to YouTube and my Blog. That is all as I am not editing videos, just dabbling in moving pictures at the moment.

And tagging videos in YouTube is much easier from my PC than from my phone.

This is one that I have had a rethink on this one, and have no t decided what to do. I also have a problem with my Google account and YouTube which I need to sort. Video, it is fair to say, is not my strong point, and I feel I need to work on this.

So much to do!!

The discipline I need to adopt here is to post videos as and when I shoot them. The YouTube app works fine now for keywording and tagging so in time this problem will sort itself out. I just must deal with the backlog and then delete them from my phone. Which takes me back to the beginning and putting them on my PC. Or maybe in Lightroom? I will come back to this as video is something for the future for me and I do not want this to hold back the more pressing job of sorting my Lightroom catalogue.

Duplicate images

This was an issue, less so now with Lightroom Mobile. I used to export images to a folder in Windows Explorer, then add that image to a web page, Blog post or whatever. Now I do this mainly from my phone, direct from Lightroom Mobile. Lightroom Mobile does add so much efficiency to my workflow. Blog posts are all done this way now, meaning that I only export from Lightroom client work and images for my website pages.

Lightroom Mobile allows me to post to Instagram, Twitter, 500PX, Flipboard, Tumblr, Blogger, my Wordpress Blog, and to my main blog direct, without even having to add an image to my camera roll.

I now save the images from Lightroom Mobile to my camera roll and add post them to my blog, Instagram and 500PX from there. It just worked out better this way. And I can delete the images from my camera roll without fear as they are copies generated by Lightroom on my phone/ iPad.

Backups – catalogue and import backups

These need keeping on top of. They can eat up memory.

I backup my catalogue every day, and delete the backups when I remember. But this is not so much of a problem for me any more now that I have moved to a larger external hard drive.

Import backups are also less of an issue now that I have the extra storage space, as well as having backup copies in three different places. But I still do a copy on import, and delete these from time to time just to keep on top of the volume of data stored.

This has become routine housekeeping now so is not a concern.

Summary

Having reviewed my review of the review of the content of my Lightroom Catalogue (sorry this has been a long post) this is my plan going forward.

Firstly, I am going to sort by years. I am going to start with 2004, the easiest year with the fewest images. I did have a trial go with 2004 and 2005, the results of which are included in this updated post.

In terms of time, this is what I want to achieve

  • November 2016 – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • December 2016 – 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
  • January 2017 – 2014, 2015, 2016

I was going to schedule a year per month, but that is not quick enough for me. If I gave myself a month for each year that is all I would get done.

In return for increasing my target I am gong to confine the task to the following

  • Sort
  • Rate
  • Delete
  • Keyword
  • File
  • Collections
  • No editing. Just sorting.

Sorry I need to make a point here. I will find something I want to edit. And I will stop what I am doing and edit it. I know that and must accept it. That is why I have given myself the time I have, to allow for some random image editing, and of course writing about the image I have edited. I have a daily blog to maintain after all!

The editing will be to images I want to edit, which is a big improvement.

And a targeted set of images with specific markets in mind.

This sounds like a good plan to me. Once again the process of writing has helped me organise another major task that my photography business needs from me. I have set aside the time to produce a plan, then try the plan, then review it before committing considerable time to the actual doing.

Another thing I like about my more considered approach is that I am going to sort a major issue to me, and I have a timeline, monthly goals to achieve, and an endpoint.

And when I get to the end there is my reward of an organised Lightroom Catalogue with images to edit.

I will of course at the same time adopt this approach will all new work as well.

So, there we have it – all there is left is to actually do the work now!

Thank you for reading this updated post about how I am going to manage an ever-growing catalogue of digital images. I hope that my thoughts are of use and give you things of your own to consider if you are facing this challenge.

I will provide regular updates on my daily blog so you can follow along as I go from 46,000 images to who knows – maybe 20,000?

And I have no doubt I will come across images I have not seen in a while which I will process and post on my blog just to keep things fresh and interesting.

If you are or are not going through this process please get in touch with any questions, or advice! I am always open to ideas from others on better ways to do things.

As promised here is my step by step guide to how to organise your images in Lightroom

  1. Import to your hard drive
  2. Make a back-up on import
  3. Add to collections
  4. Stack
  5. Sort
  6. Rate
  7. Delete
  8. Keyword
  9. File
  10. Process
  11. Share
  12. Enjoy

I will write another post shortly describing the importing process as I import a set of images from a memory card. Step by step.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Tuesday 1st November 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

Another picture of The Shard in London – a dramatic view looking up with a plane flying by

Black and white picture of The Shard, London

Black and white picture of The Shard, London

The colour version of the picture of The London Shard

The colour version of the picture of The London Shard

This is my second favourite picture of The Shard. The view looking up from the ground. The plane helps and for me places this spectacular

picture of a skyscraper in London.

The Shard is a fascinating building.

The structure is very modern, hard and graphic. A black and white picture should work really well, as these are elements that black and white photography naturally works with really well.

The colour image works well. I have made the image punchy and contrasty. I need my black and white processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro to continue this good work.

Preset

Full contrast and structure

Filter

Blue filter

Dynamic Brightness

Dynamic brightness + 24%

Vignette

Vignette lens fall off 1

That is all I did. I can produce great black and white images using the Nik software so so quickly. Every photo shoot I do I convert a couple of images into black and white versions. Sometimes all I do is add a preset and save back to Lightroom. I am spending more time on these black and white images as working in a black and white portfolio, but still not a huge amount of time. I write about my processing as I do it which obviously takes longer, but I would be surprised if any image took more than 5 minutes of straight editing time.

If you haven't tried the Nik Collection you can download it for free at https://www.google.com/nikcollection/

Yes you heard me right. Free software from Google. Free great software from Google.

And as well as The black and white software there are lots of other cool things to try out, including colour effects and HDR.

It is well worth giving a go – you never know what will work for you.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Tuesday 27th September 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

The final image in my portfolio is this picture of the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth - Portfolio Image number 40 Monday 12th September 2016. Well it was going to be..

And finally for my portfolio, after a long time, this is how  how I edited the picture of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth featured in this blog post.

Ok I'll stop there.

I changed my mind.

Do I want two pictures of the Spinnaker Tower? As much as I like the spectacular structure no I do not. Pictures of the Spinnaker Tower are not really my core business.

My core business is architectural photography of recently completed buildings.

My interior photography in churches and cathedrals is relevant but personal work for me.

No I want my portfolio to have a strong commercial photography lament to it.

So it is back to looking though my Lightroom Collections. I think my decision to put two Spinnaker tower pictures in my portfolio was a lazy decision. After all the time I have spent I have no problem changing my mind and sticking to my original intentions.

I have 20 interior shots, and 19 exterior pictures of buildings. You can probably guess what I am looking for. Something that fits in with the rest of the images. I need the last image added to my portfolio to be as strong as the first image. All 40 images need to stand alone quality and content wise as the best examples of my work.

So after much debate I am doing something else which will be on my blog shortly. Well tomorrow actually. See you then. Back into Lightroom for me.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Monday 12th September 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk

How I use Collections in Adobe Lightroom CC to find the images I need quickly

I was talking before about Collections in Lightroom Well they have helped me select the last two images for my Portfolio. I have a collection called building exteriors, which as you will imagine was a logical place to start looking for images 39 and 40. There is a variety of pictures of buildings in this collection, and also an image which is of;

A large tower.

A local landmark.

A big white tower with an interesting sky.

And it is

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. Hampshire.

I might not use the image in that collection, but what I can do from that image is simply right click on the image and go to the folder containing all the images taken. I will have a browse in there and pick a couple of shots.

As a slight aside, looking at the set of images I now have a nice geographical split of the locations of the images included within my portfolio.

  • Dorset – 21 images
  • Hampshire – 10 images
  • France – 3 images
  • Spain – 1 image
  • Italy – 3 images
  • London - 2 images

That mix looks about right. I live and work in Dorset. I often work in neighbouring Hampshire.

And I have images from London as well as Spain, France and Italy. Places I love to visit and photograph.

A nice mix.

Back to the Spinnaker Tower.

I photographed the spectacular Spinnaker Tower one November afternoon when the winter sun was out and there were shite fluffy clouds in the sky.

I am not a fan of blue skies. They are boring to me. I like skies with interest in them, such as on this day.

I have posted pictures of the Spinnaker Tower before, but am going to do new edits for my portfolio. These images are a few years old now, taken in 2012. The 170m high Tower was opened to the public in 2005, and since I took the photographs has had a sponsored makeover. And my processing has improved enormously since I last edited any of these images.

You can find out more about the Spinnaker Tower at https://www.spinnakertower.co.uk/. It is well worth a visit, especially taking the lift up to the viewing platforms with the glass floor you can walk over.

And for those not as obsessed with buildings as me there are lots of shops at Gunwarf Quays, which you have to go through to get to the Tower.

I am now going to edit two pictures of the Spinnaker Tower which I will post and talk about over the next couple of days on my blog.

And then my Portfolio is done.

Finally

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Saturday 10th September 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk/blog

How am I progressing with my new photography portfolio I hear you ask?

Very well - thanks for asking!

37 out of 40 images done. I need three more. I have 17 exterior shots and 20 interior shots.

So it looks like three more exterior shots are required and I have my 40.

I should have 38 images but I rejected one image which has made a mess of all my scheduling of posts etc.

And confused me no end.

But I am back on it now.

And I have 35 black and white edits for my spare portfolio. That one even I can work out and sort.

So three more architectural images, and five more black and white images.

And then I move on. For a while.

No sorry one more job to do – sequencing. I need the images to flow, with that transition I have talked about before from interior to exterior photographs.

Once that is done I will leave my portfolio for a couple of weeks. I am going to move on to other things I need to do, and you never know some new images might appear from my current work which go straight in there.

I am going to submit my portfolio(s) to the BIPP at the end of September.

Once submitted I will receive feedback on the 30 I need to submit – yes I will be losing 10 images from the set. Poor things. No-one likes being rejected…

When I have my sets of 30, hopefully 15 interior and 15 exterior sets, I will produce a new section on my website called, Portfolios (I know where do I come up with these creative names from).

I will have 60 images, interior, exterior, colour and black and white.

I will add to these portfolio pages over time, but I have not yet decided how I will do this. I could go by the following

  • Colour
  • Location
  • Town
  • County
  • Building
  • Style
  • Architecture Style
  • Subject matters
  • Sunsets
  • Clouds
  • Skies
  • Water
  • Fields
  • Trees
  • Boats
  • Orange
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Buildings

This is just a quick list. Just some thoughts. You get the idea…

Boring statement alert.

Sorry. I am going to repeat myself. Writing helps me think. One reason is that I am not distracted by other things (other than my own digressions), and writing allows me to think about a subject.

Digression over.

Back to Lightroom for me in the search for those 3 extra images. Call back to my blog tomorrow to see what I have come up with!

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Wednesday 7th September 2016

www.rickmcevoyphotography.co.uk