Archive for May, 2014
May 20, 2014
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What does a professional photographer do with the photos after an event?

When I was still photographing weddings, it was critical that I had a system for editing and enhancing photos due to the large number of images. I eventually got it to where I could finish processing all of the image from a wedding within a day, compared to the 2+ days it used to take. It was also important to know the necessary shots to get and avoid needless over-shooting that will just lengthen the editing process afterwards. But I don’t shoot weddings any longer. In fact, I turned away all events. But I did agree to one recently, but for good reasons. Mostly because I love a good rodeo! I agreed to photograph a high school rodeo as part of a side project for someone that is already part of another equine project that I’m already working on. Being a rodeo, it fits the new market that I’m reaching for, and it’s something fun and different for me, plus they need a calendar and I can definitely help with that. Besides, you say “rodeo” and we’re there!




So why do I mention the weddings and the processing time? Because this is an event just like a wedding, in which I capture tons of images that later have to be managed. I have to download them, organize them, edit out some photos, enhance the remaining photos, and then process them out so that others can see them. After the two day rodeo, I had more than 2000 images and a group of people eager to view them. Within two days of the event, people were already asking how and when the photos will be available for viewing. And that’s a perfectly logical question to ask. But it did remind me that in the current world of instantaneous, most people probably aren’t aware of what goes on behind the scenes to get the images from capture to viewing. And though everyone is patient, they are also anxious.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to pull back the curtain and reveal that we as professional photographers don’t simply download our images and then blindly upload everything for everyone to self-navigate thru. Believe me, that’s not in anyone’s’ best interest to do so. Instead, we’ll remove unnecessary and unflattering pictures so as to avoid bogging the viewer down with them. But think about this one step alone psychologically. Imagine you’re the one viewing the images (unedited); you’re looking at a gazillion images before you. You see some that excite you, giving you that warm fuzzy, and then all of the sudden there’s images here and there that are repetitive, boring, or plan unflattering, and then back to exciting again. It confuses your emotions and ruins your viewing experience because you’re thrown from excited to cringe to fatigue. We don’t want you to go thru that, so we try our best to make sure that you’re getting as many of the exciting images as possible, and minimizing the others as much as possible, so that you can have a purely exciting viewing experience.



So what is my process then for getting to this point?  Well, here we go:

  •  First I start by downloading everything to a new catalog in Lightroom, while also converting to a DNG file format, giving me the best chance at longevity support and faster processing time. Depending on the size and amount of photos, as well as computer capabilities, the time for this can vary from minutes to hours. I believe the two days combined probably took about 2-4 hours. I didn’t really time it, but I know it took a long time.
  •  Next I had to organize them. It was easy with weddings because I just found and group images according to the event: cake cutting, ceremony, etc. But this event was a lot more complex. I first grouped each contestant for each event. I also took a bunch of side shots, and so I had to either group them separately or add them to an individual’s group of images. Now I have 2000 images into less than a hundred groups of images, so then I had to find each individual and group all of that person’s images into a single group. So by the time I’m done I have a single group of images for each individual, plus a group for misc photos or team photos. This process alone probably took close to four hours.
  •  Now comes the long process of editing down and enhancing photos one group at a time. Each image needs to be individually cropped, and some received special enhancements for added effect. Shooting everything in the same white balance rather than Auto white balance makes things simpler because I don’t have to individual adjust white balance on every photo. Instead I can make a single adjustment and have it apply to every image. What I can’t do is correct every image at once, though I can do them in groups. For example, all my shots from the pole bending are from the same position, same camera settings, and same weather conditions. So I can apply the same adjustment to all of them, saving myself hours of time. But even with these time savers, the process is still taking many hours of time to complete.
  •  After all the editing and enhancing is done, then I have to process them out. This is also not a blindly done generic process. I’m taking rather large images and creating new sets of image files that are intended for a specific use, and each type of use is a different final file. For example, I need some smaller images with my logo on them specifically for Facebook, or some at a not so small size with my signature for my blog, or some larger web files for online proofing, or some printable files that are too big for the web. Some require sRGB while others Adobe RGB. So according to purpose, I’ll process out my images into a folder(s) identified for it’s specific purpose. This can also take minutes to well over an hour. For those requiring my signature, that takes additional time by opening them individually in Photoshop and using my signature brush to stamp each image, then save and close it. The only time my images will be without a signature or logo is when I’m putting them all in online proofing or in commercial work.
  •  Time for creating the viewing experience. Images need to be uploading into a created viewing site, and access sent out appropriately. But first I need to make sure that everything is organized in a way that makes sense instead of random and chaotic. The way I’m doing that for the rodeo is by renaming photos according to the individuals. So instead of _BMP5664.jpg, you’ll see AmberGoff003.jpg. That will make it so that when the viewer goes to the event group of photos, they can find their images by looking for their name instead of just scrolling aimlessly until they find themselves. Everyone’s time is precious, so I want to make things easier.
  •  There are extras available for viewing also. I can provide a mobile photo app that is a gallery of images, but it is limited in space and so should be no more than 30 images ideally. But this helps give each person a way to have even more. This will be done by request only, so if you’re reading this, you’ll need to give me a list of images that you’d like to have, and I’ll put it together for you (once they’re up of course).
  •  What if you want to order something? There’s no upfront obligation for this, but I do provide very nice professional products that you’ll be able to enjoy for many many years. The online proofing site will have some options for purchasing, but I have a lot of other options as well, including books and my new rustic collection. Just contact me and I’ll take care of that for you.
  •  Backup time: at various points in the process, starting from downloading, everything is routinely backed up to two separate external storage systems, so as to ensure that everything is well protected against computer failure, theft, and disasters.


That’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of the process for taking the rodeo images from capture to presentation.  I did have some lessons learned in the process that could have made things faster, but I’m always learning as I go.  This was my first high school rodeo of course.  And even after all the images are up for viewing, I still have a slideshow video to create, as well as some draft calendar layouts, plus I want to play with creating some cool collages.  So I’m probably going to have at least two weeks’ worth of time in this rodeo by the time I done.  The excitement I hear from everyone makes it all worth it for me.  Oh yeah, a by the way for you: part of the delay is finishing this project is due to my day job as a government photographer, as well as with trying to get ready to move part of my house here soon.  So I do apologize, but I am working as hard as I can every minute possible.

Thanks again,







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Here’s the link to the photos:

high school rodeo association team photo


This past weekend we got to do something a little different for our fellow equine owners.  We had the pleasure of being invited to help photograph the Maryland division of the National High School Rodeo Association.  Apparently it was their first, and it was held at the Howard County fairgrounds.  They also shared the grounds with the Wild West Festival where some friends of ours ironically took part in the cowboy gathering as re-enactors of the wild west.  They also were also actors in a recent western movie called Day of the Gun.


american flag on a horse

The rodeo assignment came about because of another project I’m working on.  Karen, who is the one in charge of the MDHSRA, is also part of the mounted drill team in Southern MD.  We’ll be starting our project with them shortly.  Part of the drill team project was that I offered to do a personal session for each member of the drill team, and so Karen asked if I could do the rodeo for her.  So there we were.  The only bummer was that it was Mother’s Day weekend, but Amanda endured the sacrifice.  We both had a lot of fun.  Zachariah was a handful for her though.


cowgirl running pole bending

I really have to say that I’m very impressed with all of the participants.  Some of them were on horses that were just about breathing fire, yet they cowboy’d up to get the job done.  I know a lot of adult riders that would panic and get off, if not run and hide, if their horse acted that way, but not these kids.  They truly showed character thru their persistence and sportsmanship.  The parents are I’m sure very proud of these kids.


high school bull rider

I know it’s popular now days to make everyone a winner, and I understand that to a point, but it’s the competition that drives and pushes us, as well as develops our character and ability to handle the daily challenges of life.  Allowing kids the opportunity to learn this while they are young thru competitive activities helps to prepare them for both success and failure as an adult.  Whether it’s learning humility in your winnings, or positive thinking in your failures, everyone wins by their own experiences when they have something to strive for.  Competition is generally in us to get to that next place that’s hard to reach, like climbing a ladder.  We aren’t always competing with others, but with ourselves.  For these kids, it’s not completely about the other riders, but for them to finish within a certain time, or without a single penalty, or to stay on for so long, or to rope that running calf.  Not only did these kids do that, but they did it with a smile.


girl tying a goat

Rodeos are tons of fun and built from a strong heritage.  They are also very dangerous.  Being from a big rodeo town, Mesquite Texas, I love a good rodeo, so it was a pleasure to photograph my first high school rodeo.  I loved watching these kids put all they had into what they were doing, and their parents right there to support them all the way regardless of how they did.  Finish the ride, make it home in one piece, and call it a good day.  This is probably my favorite culture.  I look forward to hopefully doing more work like this when we move to Tennessee.


I will add a slideshow movie within the week, so check back.




high school barrel racer

I really must point out that if it weren’t for the vision and devotion of individuals like Karen to start something like this, and devotion of others to share that vision with Karen to the point of fruition, then things like this would never happen for our kids.  My hat goes off to Karen and the staff for making this happen, and to the kids that rode their hearts out.  Well done all!


cowgirl roping


cowboy in chaps


mule running pole bending


girl standing by a horse


cowgirls preparing for a rodeo


cowgirl sitting on her horse




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May 05, 2014
posted in Business with 0 Comments

I recently purchased a new Steadicam 4000 as a toy to use for video.  I wish I could say that I purchased the brace with the robot arm to go with it, but I was already going out of my budget already.  In recent posts I’ve talked about how I’m aiming to add elements of video to my photography business.  I don’t plan on becoming a full fledged videographer, but I know I can combine the two and give my clients a greater experience.

Amanda did have a fun idea for the Steadicam, but I doubt I’ll be able to pull it off, though I’d love to try.  It involves videoing while riding on horseback getting video of someone else on horseback, including running.  Currently I’m having to use both hands to operate this thing, so until I can do it one-handed I don’t see me using with while sitting on a running horse.  Lol.

After spending more than an hour trying to get the rig assembled and kind of balanced, I wanted to see how much of a difference it made.  So to test, I did two walk arounds my house.  One hand holding only and the other with the Steadicam.  You can see the difference of both below.

Hand Held Video


I then went on to video around the horses in the pasture, which is full of divots.  I think I did pretty good considering.  Of course I learned a lot of lessons, like needing to slow down.  It’s definitely a new tool that I’ll have lots of fun with, but it’s heavy and definitely takes practice learning how to use.
Steadicam Video




If you found this post helpfully in anyway, please let me.  Plus I appreciate Likes and Shares when I can get them.  Thanks for reading.

Post by  at Brandon Malone Photography