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A Few Words About Workflow

January 30, 2012
Northern Cardinal

© jmillerphoto.com - Northern Cardinal

A few years ago I had the good fortune to hear a Canon Pro Rep discuss shooting philosophies (as well as the standard sales pitch to buy more glass and bodies).  He strongly recommended always shooting in burst mode.  His reason: When you shoot a Canon camera in burst mode, your 2nd and subsequent images are going to be sharper (if all other things are equal) because after the first shot the mirror stays up and there will be a little bit of vibration in the body when the mirror flips up.

From that point on I moved to burst mode.  Has it helped for vibration?  Maybe.  But it has given me at least 3-4 images of each subject for me to review after the fact.

It was this shooting habit that caused Bill (fellow photographer and good friend) to ask me how I picked between the images in that burst to process.  That is a great question and opens a window open on my workflow.

When I’m going through my set of images from a shoot, I will first just do a quick scan to see if there are any images I want to look at right away.  Admittedly this is lazy, unorganized, and often a lot of fun.  When I finally return to a systematic way of reviewing the images, I do so by keywording the images and then review the bursts that I shot.  I’m looking for sharpness of focus, exposure accuracy (or can I fix it) of the series.  If there’s nothing there, often I will just move on.  But if the focus is good and exposure is acceptable, then I look at the poses that were in focus and pick one or more based on how the image strikes me.  If more than one is good, I usually go ahead and process both of them and then allow my most honest critic look at them and have her tell me which one is the best.

I also flag the images in Lightroom so I have the ability to quickly get back to the digital negative.  There are times when I need that original and having the ability to locate it quickly helps in that process.

Does this process work?  It seems to for me.  It isn’t quick–especially with as many images as I make.  But the results generally speak for themselves.

About the Image:
I’ve been on a long streak of female Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) so let’s throw in a male into the mix from a recent trip to Pedernales Falls SP.  ISO 200, f7.1 at 1/320 of a second.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2012 10:20 am

    I always shoot in the burst mode. I load them in Fasttone Image Viewer and can immediately view each one on full screen. Since, of course, I end up with lots of duplicates, for example three. I check those three for the best of the lot and immediately trash the other two. Of course, in longer bursts, I may end up with different poses,too.

    If the bird is sitting still, I usually limit my burst to 2 or 3.

    • January 30, 2012 4:48 pm

      Faststone Viewer is a wonderful product and if I were not tied to Lightroom and its digital asset management tools it would easily be the tool that I would use for dealing with viewing my images from a shoot. I keep it on my netbook because Lightroom is far too processor and memory hungry for that little machine that could.

  2. January 30, 2012 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the burst hint. I never thought about it like that.

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