"Patiently Waiting" Copper pots wait for use in a Sherpa home in the Everest Region. ©Joel Addams
Many of you know the feeling. You’ve taken too many pictures on your trip, you’ve remembered a few spectacular ones, and you’ve quickly downloaded them, worked on them, saved them, and posted them. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh…mission accomplished.
Only one problem remains, and we shove it to the back of our minds like a nagging social injustice we can do nothing about. The “other” files.
What do we do with the ones that we just didn’t have time to review carefully? Or maybe there were some hidden gems that could have been easily cropped into a masterpiece? We hesitate to hit the delete button but simultaneously refuse to spend the time to really make a decision on the remainders, the “B” sides.
I found myself scanning the hard drive in my brain of all my images the other night. I needed a second black and white fine art image for a submission, and my hippocampal neurons fired as soon as they reviewed the “2006 Nepal” folder. There was something in there. I connected my 80-gig card reader combo and started visually searching.
"Sunaj" The Buddha lines buildings and fountains in Swayambunath, Kathmandu, Nepal. ©Joel Addams
Multiple files remained from three years ago that I had simply forgotten about, becoming busy with other projects and photographic travels. How could I have done this? It was a black and white festival. I proceeded to make adjustments on at least eight photographs which have now been added to my fine art collection.
"The Flower Girl" Two friends sell flowers in Kathmandu, Nepal. ©Joel Addams
So, the question really is, “How do I organize my workflow after a trip?” Let me offer a few simple suggestions:
1) Discipline yourself to erase. This will save you the most time on the backend. Sit down and scrutinize your images in camera. Enlarge them, and if they are not sharp (and others are), delete. Under or over-exposed (and others are not), delete. Lame expressions on faces (and you have one good one), delete. Believe me, two files of one good thing are not twice as good. They are twice as time-consuming and take up twice as much space.
2) Erase your cards completely. Try to backup your images on two sources when you are back in the hotel room or at home. Then erase the entire card. Saving a few images of the best ones is not necessary if you can back up the image properly on other sources. Otherwise, you will end up saving the image 8 times in three locations and causing havoc and frustration in your workflow.
3) Second edit at home. Immediately edit your images again, discarding ones that you simply won’t use. Do this immediately because as time passes, you will have less and less motivation. Get a cup of coffee, your diet Coke, whatever makes you happy in sitting down and forcing yourself to edit.
4) Third edit at home. After a month or even six months, review your files again! You’ll realize that you still have unused images from the trip that you simply won’t use again. Be strong. Delete. Your hard drives will love you.
5) Save the gems. Surprise! You have found a gem. Publish it. Print it. Love it like a $20 bill that you hid in your coat pocket for a rainy day.
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