From zero to hero – amateur photography learning ( Lightroom workflow )

lightroomlogo.jpg Lately I’m enjoying my Nikon D40x a lot ! But using it, has several issues that need to be addressed…
I’m still at a low level of photography, so the input I’m getting is huge and sometimes hard to grasp. Sometimes, I even have several good solutions for a given problem that I don’t know what to use.

Let’s illustrate with a current example !
I’m a bit stuck on how I should ‘manage’ my photos and workflow.
Please feel free to give comments on my workflow and how you are currently managing it !!

First start with how I was working ( bare with me, because I know this has to improve 🙂 ).
When I find the time, I’ll put my SD card inside my laptop card reader and it will fire up Lightroom. Inside Ligthroom I’ll choose to import all files and let Lightroom do his work concerning the location and order of the hard disk folders.
After I’ve done my photo processing, I’ll do an export from RAW to jpeg of the collection. The export is also done in Lightroom and here I’ll select an appropriate location on the hard drive and I’ll also use the naming template feature to give a good name with sequence number.
And that’s it !! Everything done… but lately I’ve been using Lightroom more and I’m aware that it has more potential to facilitate my workflow and photo management !

So what are the things that got improved after I’ve been reading on how to use Lightroom and photo workflow in general…

  • During import select to convert the RAW files to DNG files !
  • Try to rename during the import ( not always possible because I tend to shoot several things before I import that are generally not group able )
  • Try to add keywords ( also not always possible because of the same problem as listed above )
  • Keep the base set of DNG files managed inside Lightroom, no more need for exporting sets to jpeg ! Only showpieces are exported to be shown on Flickr
  • Create collections inside Lightroom to keep an overview of events I’ve been photographing

So there you have it, my new workflow ! And I’m kinda happy with it… except for one detail ( remember the more solutions available thing I mentioned above ) !!
I’m a bit stuck on how I would be storing my photographs on my hard drive. So like I said I currently keep a base DNG set inside Lightroom and group them in collections, this means I don’t alter Lightrooms way to keep them ordered in folders base on the date taken.
But this has a big disadvantage, you can’t locate your pictures anymore by just looking at the folder structure of your hard drive ! Call me old fashioned, but that is actually something I still prefer ! So why didn’t I change this, well because I’m trying to bend/mend my mind not to use this old way of storing. All because of the fact that some pictures could possibly be categorised into several locations, depending on the subject. The other reason is because my heavy use of internet, I’m all in favoure for Tag/Keyword based systems, I’m just an addict of Del.icio.us and Flickr tags, so why don’t I use the same system inside Lightroom !
And if I need to group things, I’ll just create a collection inside Lightroom.

So now I’m using this system and have done several imports… but I still see some problems with it that I hope will be solved soon :

  • Even though I now can create collections to group my pictures, I don’t really like the collections management inside Lightroom… It’s just a list of all collections inside the left hand bar. I’m not a heavy shooter, but I think that after a long time use of Lightroom this collection overview will actually not be maintainable nor oversee able anymore. So my suggestion will be to have a separate collection window where you can use filters on the collections.
  • Use of collections is just great to group pictures, but looking at the not yet grouped pictures is just a mess inside Lightroom !! I still can’t understand why there is no filter to filter out all pictures that are already inside a collection ! This would help my workflow, because I tend to do several imports before I’ll do any post processing… this means I have to use the All photographs overview ( with a date filter ) to get my pictures ( Previous import is no option ), but just one filter on ‘Not yet in collection’ would just do the trick !
  • Adding metadata and keywords just slows down the working process ! Even though I just love the use of it, it means I have to think longer ( about what keywords to use ) and I have to enter everything.

But even with these side effects of my current workflow, I still love Lightroom very much and I hope they keep improving it so that I can work faster in the future 🙂
Because I’ve not even talked on how and where to physically store your pictures ( local hard drive, external hard drive, network hard drive ) and how to maintain a good backup system !!

If you would like to change your workflow here are some links I find are mandatory reading for any serious Lightroom user :
http://blogs.oreilly.com/lightroom/2008/02/organizing-your-images-before.html
http://www.beardsworth.co.uk/news/comment.php?id=1140_0_1_0_C
http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/lightroom/articles/lir1at_orgsystem.html

And if you don’t like doing all the ‘importing’ stuff yourself, just use this beautiful tool I found here !

[tags]Lightroom, Adobe, Nikon, D40x, Workflow, Photography, ImageIngester[/tags]

Eye candy – Marko Djurdjevic

Marko Djurdjevic seems to be the guy who made the ‘American dream’ ( although he’s not from America 🙂 ) ! Getting discovered by the big comic publisher purely because of an evening drawing match with a friend over some marvel X-men characters… and thank the lord he has been discovered !!

I mean, just look at the detailed body work of all his characters, more like photographs, but still they have a fantasy look and feel ! The comic covers he brings are so inviting, that you will actually really buy the comic because of the superb drawing skills on the cover. That’s the main reason why I’m in a dilemma currently, because Marko has drawn some amazing covers for DareDevil and I hate to say this, but I don’t like the DareDevil comic concept very much… but his covers are just so stunning !! Damn you Marko 😉
For some reference material look at his MySpace page and Blog.

I don’t know why, but Marko’s art reminds me of Brom’s work, but the covers for the comics done by Marko are more vivid and less posed !

daredevil95-final.jpg daredevil98-final01.jpg
dd97.jpg starfish.jpg

[tags]Marko Djurdjevic[/tags]

Blog stats – Januari 08

Like the newest polls in the race for the new president of the US of A, I’m going to post some overviews of my blog 🙂
At the beginning of 2008 I changed my theme layout, to a newer free design. I like the clean look and it serves the 3 column layout better. With it I updated the Google Analytics javascript code ( yes there was an update ) and I’m going to give you an overview of the passed months.

So we start with Januari

stats.jpg

What can we make out of this… the overview states I’ve had 1442 visits from 1311 visitors, making it an average 46.52 visits a day !
To me this actually doesn’t sound bad, considering the specific topics I blog about ( drawing art, martial arts and some photography ).
But if we look a bit deeper into the numbers, it shows that I lack real visitor loyalty ! Most of those 1311 visitors only come by once, what is actually not the real purpose of a ‘good blog’. You would assume some loyalty along the way if the topics are pleasing for the readers…

So how do I still get these numbers then ? Well the answer for this is hidden in the overview of the Traffic Sources !

stats2.jpg

Most of the traffic comes from Referring Sites, what again would suggest a good reader base or some loyalty… But in my case, again this is different. All ‘hits’ going through any search engine are also ‘tagged’ as referring site and that means that all Google.com searches are show here.

Lets look at the numbers again… from the 1442 visits, 1192 came through referring sites and 446 where from one source, namely images.google.com ! So in other words my blog is actually only used as an image repository rather then a good reading outlet.
Most cases the people looking for specific pictures will not tend to actually read the blog where the image is posted I guess. No they where searching for that one picture…

So this completes the circle ! The choice of my posts, mostly eye candy art renderings, results in a search heavy blog that functions as image dictionary. I hope I can spin this around a bit, because I would much rather have a small user footprint that will appreciate the small details I give about the artists that created those masterpieces.

But lets not end on a negative side 😉 and give some credit where credit is due !
Here some link love and click through ratings…

Kladblog.be – 15 hits
Eskimokaka.be – 7 hits
fanvanMirthe.be – 5 hits
Imke Dielen – 5 hits
Cindyenguy.be – 3 hits
Pieterc.be – 2 hits
deeltwee.be – 2 hits
Steven Wilssens – 2 hits

And a lot of one time hits, but I’m not counting them yet… maybe in the first half of the year review some of them get through with a larger number.

[tags]Blog, Google, Analytics, AdSense, Traffic[/tags]

Spawn collection

I guess I have already told this… but I think I haven’t shown you some detailed pictures 🙂

About what am I talking ? Well, I’m the proud owner ( I know, me = geek ) of 2 Spawn action figures !! To be honest, I would love to own more of them 😉
The first one is called Spawn V and was released with series 17.
The second one is called Spawn I.043 and he was part of series 24.

I like both designs, but the Spawn I.043 is a little more eye pleasing ! That cape is just amazing !! Especially the size of it is just awesome. To show them to you, I’ve took some snapshots with our Nikon D40x ! The complete set is visible here on Flickr, but here are a few nice ones :

Spawn V Spawn I.043
Spawn V Spawn I.043

[tags]Spawn, McFarlane, Spawn V, Spawn I.043, Action figures[/tags]