Photo Management Surprises

Well, my 1TB external drive filled up over the weekend. Apple's Time Machine software promptly cleared out some old backups, which was fine by me. I took it as a sign that I should perhaps clear out some of my files. With digital photography, it's easy to take hundreds of photos a day, hoping for the good shot. With small children, this is even more important. You can almost never anticipate when a child is going to do something amusing. Often by the time the shutter is released, they've stopped doing something cute.

As I shoot a Nikon D50, I tend to shoot in RAW mode. Each photo I take is roughly 5-6MB. When I'm actively shooting, it's not hard to take from 150-200 shots in an afternoon, which is somewhere around 1GB of photos. Transferring these to my computer doesn't take very long. What I haven't been very diligent is in reviewing my photos, and deleting the ones which -- let's be honest -- suck. It's certainly not the fault of my models. It's not their fault that someone blinked, or looked away or yawned when I was taking shots 23-50. It's definitely not their fault that my white-balance was set to fluorescent while shooting outdoors in daylight for frames 1-22. Some of the white balance can be "fixed in post", but it might not always look so great.

No, the real fault is mine, for failing to actually delete photos on my computer. I'm trying to go through them now. Theres a lot of very similar photos. Some series I'm deleting entirely, as the shot as a whole just isn't that interesting. For others, I'm keeping a few. But the main problem is that it's going to take much longer to sort through now, after several years of shooting, than it would have If I had properly managed my photos from the beginning. In the past ten minutes, I just cleared 4 GB of disk space.

As I manage my photos in Aperture, I'm also re-evaluating my organization. I think I need to make smaller projects, but then group them in a way where similar photos are kept together. Going through some of my folders of images is surprising. I wasn't expecting 900 photos of my dog in "Untitled Project (3)" for example. Guess who moves around even more than small children? Yup. My blurry, partially out of frame dog.

Anyways, back to clearing out my photo archives. Maybe I'll find a few really good shots in here that I've previously overlooked.

On Photography

I considered doing a 365 day photography project this year, but decided against doing so this year. While I'm currently on a good start for daily blogging, I suspect that adding daily photography would cause me to miss one, and likely both of these goals. I do plan on some photography projects as part of this blog, but instead of just posting some photos snapped during the day, I'm hoping to do a more in depth analysis of what I did, and go into more detail.

I would like to work at more at portraiture this year, and practice different lighting techniques.

Christmas Photo

Here's a Christmas photo of my primary photo subject. The lighting from this photo is coming from two locations. I have a Nikon SB-28 at camera left, shooting down through a white umbrella. To camera right is a Nikon SB-25 at a lower power, shooting through an Aurora max/mini soft box. If you examine the white ornaments closely, you can see the second specular highlights from the SB-25. Looking at this shot, I think I should have tried to even out her shadow on the wooden mantle behind her, but I had limited time in which to shoot. Little girls don't like to stand around too long while you fiddle with lighting.

I had a great deal of fun with this photo, although the trickiest part was getting my photo subject to stand still. Finally, it was suggested that she should ring the jingle bell ornament while her stuffed sheep toy "sang" Jingle Bells. Sometimes the simple tricks work the best I was quite pleased with how her hair caught the highlights from the flash.