After wrapping up my last day of shooting at MacWorld on Friday, it was time to sit down and sift through photographs. And, boy, there were quite a few to go through. I shot 943 frames for my assignment. During the first cut, I flat out rejected 290 as unusable for any purpose and left 478 unrated. The unrated images are the ones that won’t make it to the client for this assignment, but which might have other uses at some point in the future. Or maybe they won’t. But they won’t get unceremoniously erased off the hard drive at this point like the rejects will. On the other hand, 175 images got one star or better, which means that there’s a possibility of them being used.
The next step that I usually take after the first cut is a second detailed pass. It’s on this pass that I do critical examination of photographs to rank them against each other. It’s at this point that I’ll start figuring out what some of the best images of the shoot are, especially for the immediate purpose of fulfilling my assignment. It’s at this point that my photographs will end up with their final star ranking for a while.
I’ve been somewhat vague, on purpose, as to the details of my assignment. Because projects change or get cancelled midway through, it’s not always appropriate to spill all the details. But, to give you an idea of the magnitude of what I had to accomplish in the second cut, I will say that I needed around 10 good portraits and 10 good environment shots. That’s 20 selected images out of 175. It’s not a hard task, but one that I needed to finish out quickly.
To help me do this part of the job, I leaned heavily on Aperture’s stack and compare features. I’d go into detail about how I used these tools, but Ben Long already hit the nail on the head with two blog posts:
These are where the real sorting power of Aperture comes into play. Using the compare mode, you can just rip through a set of similar images and narrow down to just the ones you want. It did take me a few hours to get through my second edit, but these tools made it much faster—and made my edit much more precise—than it otherwise would be.
So, now that I have the images I need, what’s next? Well, the next part of my assignment involves taking my photographs and building a set of web pages that will be part of the final deliverable. This won’t be a simple web gallery. Instead, these are going to be very photo rich web pages that will be part of a bigger project. Some of the images will be composited with text over them. Others will be standalone floating on a web page. The right tool for the job is now Photoshop. So, I’ve exported out my 20 or so final pictures out of Aperture and am now furiously finishing my assignment using Photoshop for the image work, TextMate for HTML and CSS, and Safari to view things as I go.
Things are looking really good. I’m super happy. And Aperture has been a vital part of the entire process. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be able to provide a pointer to the results. There’s also one more blog post I want to write about this shoot. One that will wrap things up and point out some of the things I’ve learned from the shoot, from the excellent comments to these posts, and from conversations with other photographers while working at the event. But, it’ll be a few days before I do. I’ve got some things to finish up first….