Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Well I'm back in the land of Oz after a pretty relaxing time in Guam and Japan - well at least as relaxing as it can be with two adrenaline-junkie toddlers! What with waterslides, snorkelling, windsurfing, giant obstacle courses, baseball, video game arcades and other general adventures I think we managed to tire them out pretty well.

I'd show you some photos but I haven't got that far in my post-processing yet. In the meantime I thought you might be interested in the kind of gear I travel with and my workflow. It's pretty much the same whether I'm on assignment for a client, a self-assigned stock shoot or on holiday. We photographers are never really on holiday anyway!

I had a pretty minimal kit (for me) this time around and carried it in a Lowepro shoulder bag. Just a single body, 10-22 wide angle, 24-70 and 70-200. All f2.8's except for the 10-22. I limited myself to one flash as well as an infrared trigger as I always prefer to use my flash off-camera whenever possible. I have a small hard-drive/card reader gadget that lets me download cards during the day if I fill them all up but this time around I didn't need it. It also doubles as a back-up drive for my images. I also had a polarising filter for each of the three lenses as well as my trusty old Manfrotto tripod and a cable release.

These days I travel with a small 10 inch Acer notebook. It's a groovy aqua colour and is just the right size to fit into my little day pack. I don't have Photoshop installed on it because I don't like to do any post-processing whilst I'm away. Maybe I'm just weird but when it comes to the end of the day I just wanna sit down with a good meal and a cold drink and not spend hours looking over pictures. I know when I've got what I need and don't need to start playing around with pictures until I get home.

Which isn't to say I don't look at stuff. I have Expression Media loaded on and I download all my images on to the netbook and then catalogue them. I cull out any obvious mistakes and add metadata to the rest - copyright info, location, any pertinent keywords. I find that if I do this on a regular basis (usually every day), whilst it doesn't take long it saves a lot of time trying to remember names and places afterwards.I then back up those images on to external hard drives just for safety's sake.

When I get home I load everything on to the main computer and start working on them in Camera Raw. I leave the copies  on the netbook and external hard drives until I've finished finessing the images and make permanent back-ups, then they can be deleted from their temporary homes on the netbook and external hard drives.

And that's about as complicated as I like to get! I'm sure if you're on an advertising shoot with a tight deadline you must have to work a lot more quickly and process images on-site but not many of my clients really demand that. So I keep it light, simple and leave myself ample time to enjoy time away from the photography.

Stay tuned for some pictures from Guam and Japan!