Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

What Do You Do When You Get Home After A Photo Workshop

I recently had the opportunity to co-lead a week long photography workshop on the Oregon Coast. It was a truly wonderful experience and was made that way because of the great group of participants that were on the trip. Once everyone was happy and settled in at the various locations and had their questions answered I was able to do some shooting as well (while still always being open and available for questions). I thought a good follow up to that trip would be a blog post about how to approach all those photos once you get home. Obviously, what I do doesn't necessarily apply to everybody, but you may find some good suggestions in my list that also work for you:  

1) The obvious first step is to download your images if you haven't done so already, and not to delete any back-ups you made on the trip until you are sure that you have the images where you want made back-ups while you were away, right? Please tell me that you did! 

Cards are so relatively inexpensive these days that I keep the originals on the cards and just put a new card into the camera when I need to. If I have my laptop with me, I download the card to the laptop but don't delete the card and then make a copy of the files on a small portable hard drive.  When returning home I put the small portable drive into my luggage that is being checked. That way I have a copy of the files in my checked luggage as well as on my laptop and original cards. Now, if the airline loses my checked luggage or if someone steals my carry-ons in the airport I still have copies of those images saved.

2) Once I download the files at home, I make a backup to a large external drive  and then the small drive I use on trips and the camera cards can all be reused.

3) So lets get editing....whoa there.....that's not what I do next, though it may be tempting! Why not? Because the images are still too up close and personal to me. When all the pleasant memories are still fresh its very easy to get lulled into thinking that your images are fantastic or that they are terrible. There are probably some of both......but it is far easier for me to be objective after having distanced myself from them for a period of time. More importantly, as time goes on, I am going to forget things about the shots, such as the location each image was made. So my next step is to keyword them as to location, subject etc, before the memory fades. 

4) After keywording, I go through and stack (using Lightroom) the various iterations of the same shot made with different apertures, shutter speeds etc. That way if the image ultimately becomes one that I want to work on I have all the iterations to compare neatly together. Also, if I did any exposure bracketing sequences for HDR I will stack the brackets together and color code them so I know the stack is a HDR sequence.

5) OK, now I can get down to editing (with ruthlessness) my shots and choose the ones I want to spend time processing. Alternatively, I might let them sit a bit longer to be able to evaluate them more objectively.

That's my post-trip protocol. If you do anything differently or have other suggestions please do comment!