Linda D. had studied photography with some very notable photographers and evolved into a remarkably talented photographer with a great sense of vision. Her photographic compositional and color skills were exceptional, but her technical photography, digital post-processing and file management skills needed development.
She had recently started a personal night photography project capturing Staten Island’s historic, organic, exotic and cultural sights and was challenged with technical problems – long exposures and noisy (grainy) photos – while prolifically shooting thousands of pictures every month. The digital captures she was taking were uneven, frequently with camera movement and heavily underexposed (much too dark).
Mounting the camera on a tripod for stability on long exposures and shooting in camera raw instead of JPEG was essential for more successful night photography. I helped her choose a tripod that was light enough for her to carry and easy enough to manage in the dark. Shooting in camera raw meant more flexibility for developing and correcting exposures with Lightroom. I then accompanied Linda on a couple of her photo shoots, demonstrating how to properly set the manual light meter on her Nikon D610 and balancing those settings with a low ISO to address image noise. These first steps immediately improved Linda’s photos by increasing the sharpness and lowering the noise issues that had been plaguing her captures.
The next task was exporting her discontinued Apple Aperture photo library into Adobe Lightroom and organizing her library’s photos by date and topic. Although it’s critical to being organized, Lightroom libraries are frequently neglected because it is a mundane task to attend to and developing photos is much more satisfying. However, once the Library module was mastered, it facilitated a smooth workflow and, as a bonus, Linda’s picture taking also improved as she learned to edit down her photos to the best of the best. During the editing process she was able to identify mistakes that she could avoid and understand what caused the happy accidents to make them repeatable, photographic techniques.
Finally we got to the fun part of Lightroom: developing. The improvements in her technical photography now allowed Linda to go further with her vision in Lightroom, bringing out a more saturated color palette than her earlier photos had and broadening her ability to enhance specific details that make her work visually unique. Over the past three years, Linda’s project has grown into hundreds of gorgeous images, both day and night shots, that have become a themed body of work she’s decided to compile into a Staten Island tourism picture book.
Since making that decision, I have worked with Linda to identify and edit images into categories, proofread captions, found a high-level graphic designer to design a printed sample chapter of the book and researched strategies to help find publishers. At the time of this writing, without even securing a publisher, the book is well on its way; Linda has pre-sold a number books to Staten Island hotels and to local government offices. She expects to find a publisher by the end of this year and see publication by the end of 2016.