About Me

My photo
Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How Do You Want to Be Seen?


Part 2


Last week I offered some thoughts about how the casual (read smartphone) photographer can take some simple steps to improve how their pictures are seen on social media.  Today’s smartphones have remarkably sophisticated cameras crammed into their tiny cases and, with just a little attention to their strengths and limitations, you can get surprisingly good results.  



This week I move to the other end of the spectrum and discuss my overly compulsive work-flow, using every possible approach to get the most out of my images. 



Caring about your Image

Social Media has increasingly become an important venue for professional photographers to show their work .  Many more people see my images online than in all my exhibitions, or in print.  Given the dizzying number of online venues, I could easily spend all my time just trying to keep up with posting images and responding to comments, but I try to reserve a little time to actually get out to take pictures.




My approach to social media follows two simple rules.



1) Limit the Number of Venues
I know that there are many choices out there, but I limit my postings primarily to Facebook and Twitter.  I publish images on several  Facebook accounts, most notably my own, and the New England Photographer’s Guild pages. I limit postings to a few of my recent images and some to promote the topic of my latest weekly blog.  I have accounts on 500px, Google + and Instagram, but I rarely visit. I know that Instagram is popular but I have never found that its format works to show my work at its best. 




2) Only Show the Best Work

I try to post pictures to social media on a regular basis, usually daily, but I only publish images that I have edited to my satisfaction.  This doesn’t mean that I only show my occasional “Hero” shots, but frequently pick images that illustrate a point from a blog or that tell the story of a recent shoot.  Most images may not “fine art”, but I try to select and edit them to communicate to their best potential. Even when the picture comes from my iPhone, I don’t merely snap and dump.  Whether they are edited in one of the excellent photo apps, or in Lightroom and Photoshop, the goal is always to show that I take my photography seriously and devote the time and care that each image deserves.



Workflow

Lightroom Editing
In my typical workflow, I upload the RAW images into Lightroom, converting them to DNG, and backing them up to a separate drive.  After selecting and flagging my favorites, I run the best through the Lightroom development workflow.  When finished, I almost always move the images to Photoshop for final tweaking.  Check my recent article about when I Jump from Lightroom to Photoshop. 



Photoshop Tweeks
After my Photoshop adjustments are complete, I then save a “Reference” image.  This is an un-cropped, full size and resolution image with all the adjustment layers preserved, and saved as a PSD or Tiff file.  I typically don’t add any sharpening beyond my preliminary tuning in Lightroom.  This is the base image that I can use as the starting point for final adjustments to meet specific output requirements of color balance, crop, size and resolution, but the reference image always stays untouched.  After I have saved my reference image I then crop and sharpen it to create a picture that I can use in my website as a final
"Cloud" Upload to Zenfolio
full-size selection.  When done I save the image as a full size and full resolution JPG.  I find that the highest resolution JPGs work well for standard printing and it is the format requested by most professional labs.  I also use these large JPGs as my “cloud” images.  I can upload an unlimited number of JPG to a directory on my Zenfolio web site.  I use this cloud storage only for my finished images.  I am a firm believer in the value of RAW images, but once I have finished all my editing a JPG version works well for archiving. 

Web Image



Finally I resize the large JPGs to a web friendly size, with a long
Private Image Gallery
dimension of 950pixels.  I reduce the quality to yield an image that is about 400pixels.  I create this “web version” of all my finished picture, but only post a few.  I keep the rest in my own private web gallery, that allows me to quickly scan for needed images. These pictures still look good on the web and, as long as they include my watermark, I don’t mind people copying them to show on their sites. Obviously, I don’t expect them to be sold or used commercially.  People still steal my work. but the quality deteriorates quickly, if pirates try to blow up these images.  I’ve seen some terribly meat-handed attempts to obscure my watermark, but I don’t spend too much time chasing these creeps.  I mostly try to accept the compliment and reassure myself that these thieves would have never actually payed me for my work.



So now I have two backed-up raw copies, a layered reference copy, a full size JPG on my computer and in the cloud, and a web-sized image saved to my private web gallery.  Oh and I release a few of my favorites to the world, on my web site and social media.  



The whole process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on how much detailed masking and cloning is required.  You must develop your own workflow, but it all comes back to getting the best from every image.  These little piles of pixels deserve nothing less and, in the end, they are how the world will judge your work.



Time to move on to the next picture. 


Jeffrey Newcomer



1 comment:

  1. This is a very informative post! have started following your website religiously! Like you post such simple tips which are very easy to follow

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