At the end of October, 2019, my photo library contained approximately 60,000 images, mostly taken over the past 20 years. (Of those, nearly 40% are from the past five years.) Comparing the size of my library with those of friends of mine, I’m about average, but still, 60,000 is a big number, and managing that many photos can be a bit intimidating. I once topped out at 80,000 photos, but about six years ago I came up with an exercise — pruning a single year’s worth of photos — that has helped me get my library better organized and more efficient. As a photo-management tool, I felt it was worth sharing here.
The editing conundrum
I tend to do the majority of my editing — culling, sorting and post-processing — on my most recent photos. For example, out of a shoot where I end up with 600-800 images, I’ll quickly get that to upwards of 50 selects, and I will then spend most of my time working on those photos. The rest soon get lost into the archives. It’s not that they’re unimportant, but they aren’t compelling to me at the moment, and as such, they end up disappearing. As time goes on, and I take more photos, it becomes harder to find key photos from the past (at least those non-portfolio photos), or to even know what I might have hidden that is of some value.
I have been fascinated with the furor that has whipped up many photographers about the release of Adobe Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. As I noted previously, I totally get the idea that people are getting weary of ‘subscribing’ for software, even if that’s really what we have all been doing for years. My friend Jeff Carlson is doing a good job of talking about this issue, and today has an interesting piece called Math is Hard, or, A Quick Look at Lightroom Pricing. In it, Jeff talks about the cost of purchasing and upgrading a product like PhaseOne’s Capture One Pro vs. the costs of having an Adobe software subscription (in either Lightroom incarnation).
Jeff is spot-on in his analysis: if you are someone who is serious about your photography, and you want to remain current with the latest in features and performance, Adobe’s $120 per year for Lightroom (both versions) and Photoshop is a good deal. It is made better by the fact that Lightroom really is the best product for most photographers in the market, but if you don’t like Lightroom/Photoshop, or are upset about Adobe’s policies, there are many alternatives in the market for you to use. Read more »
I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day, one that I felt was worth recounting here. I was at a bookstore, perusing photography books for possible review here on the website. It was clearly a very slow day at the bookstore; while I was at the register, the checkout dude murmured something like, “these look interesting…I’d really like to take better pictures.”
We had a short conversation about whether these books might help, and he then asked me if I was a photographer. I told him yes, but that I was really more of an editorial guy who published a website about photography.
Without missing a beat, he said, “I really need a better camera. Which one should I buy?”
After finishing up a ten-day job last week I came to Oklahoma to visit my parents. Tired from the previous week-and-a-half of shooting, and not wanting to think any more about images, I spent a couple of days ignoring my camera. But, with each day bringing nice afternoon light, I quickly began to worry about falling out of practice. I didn’t feel up to getting out for any kind of big shooting expedition and didn’t have any need for particular kinds of images so I decided that simply doing some exercises was all I needed. It’s often difficult to have a fresh eye in a well-known environment, so goal-driven, exercise-oriented shooting can often get you capturing frames in places where you normally feel there’s nothing to shoot.
Read on for more details about the exercise that I tasked myself with.
Ow. I’ve been having a lot of pain in my left shoulder lately. It might just be age, but I can’t help thinking that all these years of carrying a camera bag on that shoulder have left me messed up. The years of having a pound of bird riding on that shoulder probably didn’t help either.
October 21, 2014 by Ben Long & filed under Features
This site has been running off of WordPress for years – since way back at WordPress version 1 – and hasn’t had a re-design since WordPress 2 was released. Recently, I encountered Squarespace while helping a friend put a site together. I was very impressed by Squarespace’s ease-of-use, beautiful designs and thorough feature set. Seeing Squarespace also made me realize that my own site was looking very dated, so I decided it was time to bring completedigitalphotography.com into the modern web era. This posed an immediate quandary: should I stick with WordPress or migrate to Squarespace? Which, I wondered, was best for a photo site?
September 20, 2013 by Ben Long & filed under Features
On The Practicing Photographer this week, I talk to fashion photographer Troy Word about his use of Polaroid. Along the way, he brings us up-to-date on where the current state of Polaroid is, how you can easily get into Polaroid gear, how to mix it with digital, and what you can expect to spend along the way. Most importantly, he speaks to how it can change the way your photographic eye works. You can watch it right here.
September 19, 2013 by Ben Long & filed under Features
This summer, for some reason, a friend and I drove a tiny Fiat Panda from London to Mongolia. Though I have a 13″ MacBook Air, I decided to take my iPad with me on the trip instead of a “real” computer. I also took a good amount of photography gear, which meant that the iPad had to support a fairly full photo workflow. This article details how I made it work, and what I found I could and couldn’t do. The good news is that, if you manage your expectations, and grab the right apps, you can run an effective post-production workflow directly from your iPad.
In my Lynda.com Macro and Close-up course, I cover the simple basics of reversing the lens you already have to turn it into a macro lens. This gives you an extremely easy way to start shooting macro, without having to invest in any special gear. If you give this technique a try, and find it useful, then you’ll want to watch my Lens-Reversal Macro Photography course which goes into more detail of how to get good macro results when shooting with a reversed lens. You’ll see how to re-gain aperture control, how to mount your lens to your camera backward, and how to stack multiple lenses to get even more macro power. Check it out now!Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-up
There are a lot of small things in the world, and many of them make great photographic subjects, provided you know how to shoot at a macro scale with your camera. In this course, you’ll see all the basics of macro shooting. If you don’t have a macro lens, don’t worry, because the course starts with instructions on how to shoot macro shots with gear you already have. From there, we work up through extension tubes, add-on lenses, and finally to full-on macro lenses. Focus, metering, composition, and basic lighting are all covered. If you’re interested in macro or close-up photography, you’ll want to check out Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-up.