Working an assignment as a team has many perks, not the least being that you have two angles to work shots with and twice as many chances to capture fleeting moments. Another perk is that you have two sets of eyes to edit your images with. Pınar Ozger and I have been working together on various assignments for almost a year now and have been exploring quite a few ways of how to edit our work together, the most fun of which to date has been something I call Pair Editing, a photographic version of Pair Programming where we hook two keyboards and mice up to the same system so that we can work on a set of photos.
Yesterday, while working up a set of photographs for a portrait shoot, we stumbled into another interesting methodology, which I’m going to tentatively call Blind Team Editing. Pınar was taking the lead on this particular project and had rated a bunch of poses of our subject. But, before she went further and made the final cut, she wanted to get my input. She didn’t, however, want my input to be affected by the rankings that she had already given. Instead, she was interested in seeing my unbiased selections so that she could see the set of photos that we both thought were strong.
In thinking about how to accomplish this, we knew we needed to preserve her current star rankings. Therefore, my input had to be marked in a different way so we quickly hit on the solution of using color labels to mark my input. The set of images that were ranked with stars AND my color ranking would form a set of photos that we could then work up into a final set. Once we had the ranking solved, the only thing that we had to do was set Lightroom up so that I couldn’t see her rankings as I worked through her images. To do this, we followed the following steps:
- Set up the Library view with a filter of 1-star and above so that the set of images I was going to mark up didn’t include the obvious rejects.
- Hide all of the side panels, most importantly the library strip at the bottom.
- Hide the toolbar so that I couldn’t see Pınar’s rankings.
Set up this way, the interface made me concentrate entirely on the photographs I was scrolling through using the arrow keys. Whenever I saw a photograph I liked, I hit the 6 key to mark it with the red color label. And, without being able to see Pınar’s rankings, the picks were as unbiased as possible. Once I was done, we displayed the set of all the photos that were ranked 1 star and above in Grid view.
The images I had marked in this set showed up on a dark red tile background making it easy to see the intersection of our picks. Using this input, Pınar went on to wrap up the final picks and produce contact sheets for our client.
We will see if this is as lasting a tool in our bag of team editing tricks, but it seems fairly promising and something that we might use while shooting the Web 2.0 Summit next week in San Francisco. At some point, it’d be interesting to see if we could figure out how to accomplish a true double-blind team edit, but that might take a bit more finesse.