The BS of Digital Photography

Mark Roberts mark at
Wed Oct 7 08:38:56 EDT 2009

Christine  Aguila wrote:

> Even with digital, I still try to get the best photo in-camera 
>to keep the post-capture processing down.  When I started shooting digital, 
>I read somewhere that more than 5 or 10 minutes or so on a standard picture 
>should be enough post-processing.  I try to follow this rule--obviously 
>there are exceptions with playful renderings etc--but for the most part--for 
>me--it's a good rule to follow.  I've noticed that as my skills improve, I'm 
>even getting a lot faster than 5 minutes.

This is my approach *exactly*: I try to get the capture as close to
perfect as I can - just like I did with film - with the goal of doing
as little post-processing as possible (just like I did with film). ND
grads, fill flash, reflectors, you name it, it's still in my arsenal
of "get the best capture" tools.

After bringing everything into Lightroom I do a quick pass to pick the
standouts and eliminate the obvious mistakes. Then I spend probably
about 30 seconds (at most) on most images doing rough highlight
recovery, exposure and brightness adjustments, generally. After
setting everything aside for a week or so (assuming no specific
deadlines) I'll come back to the best shots to give them extra time
and fine tuning (and to further delete the shots that a week's
perspective has let me see aren't as good as I fists believed/hoped!)
But with most collections we're talking about 2-5 shots out of every
100 or so that get extra time.

The rare, portfolio-grade, shot will get additional attention in

Being able to put aside the evaluation of your shots for a week or
more seems to be a crucial part of the process for me. The extra time
provides perspective and seems to let me be more objective about my
own work. It's then easier to see which shots really stand out and
which need to go into the bit bucket. 

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