Help - Finally going digital (weddings)

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by meddlin'murdoch, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. meddlin'murdoch

    meddlin'murdoch TPF Noob!

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    Hi everybody, this is my first post.

    I've been shooting weddings on a part time basis for about ten years using 35mm and medium format. It's been a hobby business, about five to eight weddings per year. I now want to expand and do more weddings as well as set up a portable studio for home portraits, etc. I've just picked up my first pro level digital camera.

    So where do I begin. I've been playing with the digital camera and found it fairly easy to adapt to. Where I am totally lost is the digital tech talk about the types of digital formats. I don't know much about RAW, JPEG, TIFF, etc, etc. Where could a find a good primer website to give me the basics on this. I'm also going to pick up PhotoShop CS3 and take a course on it. Any online tutorials for this?

    I also wish to get a good printer but am wondering if it is recommended to do my own wedding prints or continue to send to the lab?

    Your thoughts and expertise is appreciated.
     
  2. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    for image types, always shoot in RAW. They give you that added flexibility to fix problems that the other formats don't give...well, they can give you it, but there is image degradation issues when you do.

    Can't really help you with tutorials, I'm taking some classes to learn
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The biggest difference in switching from film to digital, is probably the work flow. With film, you shoot and most likely drop the film off at the lab. With digital, you now have much more control over the images but it takes a time, effort and skill to get the most out of your images. It's not uncommon for photographers to spend 2, 3, 4...times as long editing as they did shooting. So for an all day wedding shoot, you might spend 30 or 40 hours on the computer. :shock:

    Of course, some people do more or less editing and everyone has their own workflow. Some do only minimal edits until prints are ordered, some don't let the clients see anything until they are all perfected etc.

    They key is finding a workflow that works for you, which may take time, practice and some experimentation...but there are plenty of us who can help you along the way. Just remember that it usually gets faster and more efficient as you learn.

    Heck, I know some wedding photographers who outsource a lot of their editing, which is certainly an option.

    As you are starting to see, there may be a lot of 'digital lingo' that you need to know. I'm not sure about the best resource but there are plenty of books & sites to search.

    For now, I'll suggest taking the path of shooting RAW and learning how to 'develop' them.

    Photoshop is certainly the program of choice but I will also suggest Adobe Lightroom or something similar like Apple Aperture or maybe Capture One. They are 'workflow' software, which is different from Photoshop which is more of a pure image editor. Workflow software helps you work with a large number of files in an efficient way. There are many photographers who only do minor editing and have found that they use Photoshop much less now that they use Lightroom.
    Taking a Photoshop class is a good idea and there are millions of on-line tutorials.

    I wouldn't suggest trying to make high quality prints yourself...not unless you are an absolute perfectionist and think you can do a better job than a pro lab & professional printers. The cost of doing it yourself is just as or higher than the lab, and the time & effort involved don't help.

    Don't forget about a good computer. You will want a good amount of RAM and a good monitor, along with a monitor calibration device. Also, you may need a lot of hard drive space to archive you shots, and you may need to come up with a plan for backing up and archiving the images. You don't want to loose someone's wedding photos.

    Good luck and I hope we can help you along the way.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm
    http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/articles.htm
    http://www.clarkvision.com/photoinfo/index.html
    http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototip-archives.html
    http://www.shootsmarter.com/
    http://www.normankoren.com/#Tutorials
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/
    http://www.naturescapes.net/docs/index.php/articles
    http://www.blackandwhitedigital.com/

    Real World Photoshop books by the late Bruce Fraser are always recommended. I really liked "Skin" by Lee Varis.

    You might check out Lightroom 2. I never tried the first version, but I've been using LR2 for about a month now, and I love it (I was processing with CS2). It's a lot cheaper than Photoshop, and I'd say it covers about 99% of what I normally need in portrait and wedding processing. I bought CS4 at the same time, but I've barely used it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008

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