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Discussions in Photography

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Portfolio Presentation

I’ve been thinking about how to best present a portfolio of your images. Once upon a time you would make prints of your best work put it in some sort of binder and present it to potential clients with the hope of someone purchasing your time or images. Today I think we have a multitude of options on putting together a portfolio presentation.

The iPad seems to me to be one of the best ways to show off you images.  The device size and resolution give your images a chance to shine.  Of course your not going to be leaving your iPad with a potential client so your images may only be held in the clients mind for so long.

Putting your images in a PDF file or some other document that you can email is one possibility another might be to make a movie of your images.  I’ve done a little experiment with loading a number of images into iMovie to make a movie you can host on your website, host on another website or even email to a client. This seems to be an interesting way to present your portfolio.  I’ve whipped up a quick “Epcot” portfolio as a test case to see what I can determine the best way to show images in movie format.

Epcot Portfolio from Jim Roberts on Vimeo.

 

After playing with the settings in iMovie I’ve come to a couple of thoughts on the way to present your images.

  • I would turn off any Ken Burns effects.  While they are super hip and such you’re presenting your images as a whole. You don’t need your viewer to miss the overall balance of the image. You went to all that trouble to get the rule of thirds right so you need to show a full image.
  • Make sure the images stay on screen long enough.  While the viewer can pause the movie at any point you still want the viewer to have time to view the image.
  • Make sure the images don’t stay on screen too long. Viewers get bored easily.
  • I would not suggest a narrative other than maybe at the beginning and end of the movie. If you have to say “this is a picture of a dog” you probably aren’t doing stuff right.
  • Movies are landscape mode.  Images you shot in portrait mode are going to take up less of the screen with white/black space on either side and be smaller.
  • I’m not sure at this point if adding music to the movie is a good or not.

These are just a few ideas about presenting your work as a movie. Of course the hard part is alway which images to include. Like everything else experiment with the format and make it your own.

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The Digital Negative

I’ve just finished reading The Digital Negative by Jeff Schewe.  I first became aware of Jeff Schewe when I attended a one day digital photography   seminar put on by Epson.  It’s been a number of years now as I think I had just upgraded to a Nikon D100.  There were two sessions a basic session and an advanced session.  I attended the basic session with Vincent Versace. The advanced session which I probably should have gone to had Jeff Schewe as one of the presenters.

Anyway, seeing that it was an Epson seminar there was a gallery of very larger prints by the speakers and a few others.  One of the prints was an image of a old fashion gum ball machine mostly in black.  The print was exceptional.  I’ve subsequently had the pleasure of sitting in on a few of his sessions at PhotoshopWorld a couple of years ago. Jeff Schewe knows a lot about photography and Photoshop and how to get the most out of digitally captured images.

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In The Digital Negative Mr. Schewe put forward the premise that the raw image capture of your digital camera is really a digital negative.  Not in the sense that the raw file is the inverse of the printed image but in the sense that the raw file is the basis for creating your image.  The image that you will then print or publish to the web. I really like thinking of the raw files this way.  It frees you from the thinking that what comes from the camera and has had a default processing applied is as far as you should take an image. In fact the raw file is just the start of what you can do.

The book starts out explaining the technical side of how digital cameras work and the usual stuff about about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how they affect the digital capture.  He then spends time on an overview of processing digital negatives in Lightroom and or Camera Raw and Photoshop.

A large portion of the book discusses the Library and Develop modules of Lightroom (which is where we spend all of our time). The book was published in 2013 which means it’s up to date with Lightroom 4. Each panel of the develop module is explained in detail. While reading the book you are presented with a lot of information.  The section on the develop module could be overwhelming. I read through it but didn’t commit it all to memory. It’s easier to use the book as a reference when you need a refresher on what a specific slider or button does.

After the thorough description of Lightroom, Mr. Schewe goes on to process several images step by step. Each step is explained in depth. The final chapter describes his digital workflow for the ingesting (his word) and storing of images.

This is a must read book for those who want to present the best output from our digital negatives.  I give it high marks.

The only issue I have with the book is that the Lightroom interface being fashionably dark does not reproduce well in the book and makes it hard to read the illustrations for Lightroom panels.  A magnifying glass may help.