DPReview: Secrets of a professional photographer’s workflow: Brian Ach

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3321963167/a-professional-s-workflow-brian-ach

“… For a lot of us, we download the images to a computer and edit a handful that catch our eye, and then… well, there are more photo shoots to pursue. Maybe we’ll apply some keywords, perhaps mark a few favorites, but too often the photos we worked so hard to create are just dumped onto a hard disk and forgotten. We know we should do better, but who has the time?

Professional photographers, that’s who….”

Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.
Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.

Commentary

Getty Images and Associated Press contributing photographer Brian Ach shoots a range of subjects and genres, often under the stress of tight deadlines, poor artificial lighting and the need to get every shot right or if not then the ability to rapidly reduce his selects to a manageable collection for submission, distribution and publication.

That is a far cry from the more leisurely paces and demands of shooting documentary or photojournalism projects over longer time periods, or portraits and photoessays for weekly or monthly magazine feature articles.

I took on a mix of projects during my magazine and newspaper colour supplement days, and came to prefer weekly or monthly magazine projects over daily newspaper assignments for the chance to really get one’s teeth into the subject.

Daily newspaper work had its satisfactions, though, especially in the challenge of producing engaging, informative and sometimes emotive environmental and close-up portraits in no more than fifteen minutes per subject, three to five such assignments per day, in locations throughout the city and suburbs, while carting lights, cameras, stands and tripods about.

That was during the analog era when the time and the stress of processing, proofing and printing after each assignment had to be factored into the equation and before the joys of tethered shooting, editing, processing, tagging, uploading and traveling on to the next job existed as we know them now.

If I were to go back to that world as a freelancer I would have to come up with a whole new workflow all by myself, or learn successful workflows from others, so articles like this come in handy.

So much so that I went straight to the Camera Bits website to download Photo Mechanic to try out, and from a so-far fairly cursory try-out under anything but professional conditions am seriously considering adding it to my software collection.

And I am now crossing my fingers for a similar feature set to appear in the library functionality that is appearing in raw processing and image editing applications that once used to be editing-only.

There is another advantage to having an application dedicated only to selecting, trashing, tagging and organizing – none of the distractions of doing it within a product that also offers deep image-editing features where one can easily be tempted into diving down the rabbit hole of a thousand and one different possible interpretations.

Sometimes, oftentimes, simpler and sharply focused is better.

Now to get to grips with that massive backlog.

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Apple Releases Mid-2018 MacBook Pro Computers and Blasts Off Into the Future

Until the arrival of the iMac Pro in late 2017, Apple’s professional moviemaking and photography customers had been questioning the company’s loyalty to them and dedication to meeting their ever-growing high-end graphics computing needs, without unnecessary monkey work. 

Today’s release of the Coffee Lake sensor-equipped Mid-2018 MacBook Pro models in 13-inch and 15-inch versions along with the Apple/Blackmagic Design co-designed Blackmagic eGPU will further allay these concerns with a hardware combination approaching the iMac Pro in power and graphics processing speed. 

apple_macbook_pro_2018_04_1024px_80pc
Apple MacBook Pro Mid-2018

Next year’s long-awaited release of the re-imagined Mac Pro after the Mac Pro range was left languishing since late 2013’s “ash can” Macs will be icing on the cake for creatives and a necessity for production studios needing the ultimate in multi-teraflop processing power.

Meanwhile, the long hiatus until last year’s iMac Pro saw many visual storytelling professionals looking to pre-Coffee Lake 15-inch MacBook Pros for portability and as a stopgap until Apple radically revised its desktop offerings, beginning with the iMac Pro.

Hard choices though when knowing that Coffee Lake processors would eventually arrive in Apple’s portable offerings, but the decision of when and which production computer in which to invest has always been a vexing one, given the need to choose a model as future-proofed as possible.

Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2018

The Apple computers I have used have always productively outlived all our Windows PCs, and our two current Macs have had long, productive lives though one is nearing its end having endured daily production use since early 2011.

Those lives are about to be challenged by coming software and hardware support demands as well as exciting new standard in video and ever-larger raw files from ever-bigger image sensor-equipped stills cameras such as Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and the coming GFX 100S and GFX 50R.

Internal upgrades of older machines using Other World Computing’s excellent SSDs and doubling the RAM have their limitations in the face of contemporary graphics software’s reliance on graphics processing units (GPUs) so a new 15-inch MacBook Pro has been overdue, preferably attached to a Blackmagic eGPU in the studio and on-location.

Accessories for Apple’s MacBook Pro Mid 2018

The really big investment maximisation lesson I learned kong ago is to max out your production computer with RAM, internal storage, CPU and GPU power to cope with the ever-increasing demands off constantly-updating editing software.

Apple has clearly heeded this relentless tendency with the 15-inch MacBook Pro Mid-2018’s up to 6-core processors and 32GB of RAM, and a great choice of SSDs up to 4TB, obviating the need to connect external media drives when working on ambitious video and longterm photography projects.

Invest in a minimum of 1TB internal storage, 32GB of RAM, choose the highest specifications processor, add Thunderbolt external storage for media and scratch disk space, and cast an eye at LG’s excellent UltraFine and UltraWide 5K monitors, two of which the Mid-2018 MacBook Pro can easily handle.

Consider a Wacom pen tablet for fine selection control and to guard against wrist damage, add the Blackmagic eGPU, look at Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Micro and Mini colour grading panels, and by doing so create a top-end editing workstation approaching the iMac Pro or coming Mac Pro in power and reliability.

Above all, do not aim low as it will only keep you down as your needs and ambitions change.

Those griping at the price of this versatility and power would do well to consider the past alternatives.

It is significant that Apple has begun collaborating with Blackmagic Design in the eGPU and hopefully other areas given Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty’s mission of “allowing the highest quality video to be affordable to everyone, so the post production and television industry can become a truly creative industry.”

When I first read that, I cast my mind back to the very first video editing workstation I clapped eyes on at a top London creative hotshop advertising agency costing, if my memory serves me right, some £100,000 for the hardware and software, barely affordable by the agency much less any creative of my acquaintance then.

The two photographers-turned-directors who had headhunted me for the agency relied on funky old-but-beautiful Super 16mm movie cameras but the cost of the video cameras of the time was astronomical compared to the price of current small cinema, video and hybrid mirrorless cameras.

With personal computers being the centre of our creative lives, it makes sense to spend some of the money saved on free and affordable production software and hardware on the beating heart of your production kit, making it last for years to come.

Speaking of which with Apple now doing right by its professional users on the hardware front, it is past time for the company to do right in video editing software by improving Final Cut Pro X’s audio capabilities now that Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve’s Fairlight audio page is putting it to shame.

Likewise Apple’s still-smarting 2015 abandonment of photography organizing and editing essential Aperture, was an almost shameful act still with no fully-featured direct replacement anywhere near the horizon whether by dint of third-party software makers or Apple Photos, its erstwhile in-house successor.

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Image Credits

Header image by Carmel D. Morris. Have you seen the Red Forest?

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8sinn_bmpcc4k_preview_03_1024px_80pc
Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K with 8Sinn camera cage, Scorpio handle and Canon CN-E 24mm T1.5 L F Cinema Prime Lens with EF-to-M43 adapter.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Apple iMac ProB&H
  • Apple Mac ProB&H
  • Apple MacBook Pro Mid 2018B&H
  • Blackmagic Design camerasB&H
  • Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio (Activation Card)B&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic eGPU – not currently on sale at B&H, but I will add the link when it is on sale there.
  • Canon EF Cinema Prime Lens Kit (14, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135mm)B&H
  • Fujifilm GFX 50SB&H
  • G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle Thunderbolt RAID ArraysB&H
  • LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27″ 16:9 5K IPS MonitorB&H
  • LG 34WK95U 34″ 21:9 UltraWide 5K Nano IPS MonitorB&H
  • Loupedeck + Photo Editing ConsoleB&H
  • Other World Computing (OWC)B&H – upgrade ageing Apple Macs with faster, larger internal drives and extra, faster memory.
  • WacomB&H

Panasonic’s ‘Lumix Stories’ Videos made by Griffin Hammond Show Lumix Cameras’ Popularity Amongst Pro Photographers

Although the buzz across the Internet about the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 still seems to be focussed on its remarkable video capabilities, the fact remains that the GH5 is also an excellent camera for stills photography. 

I proved that to my own satisfaction during the loan of a GH5, producing stills as effective and as high quality as the video I made with the same camera and lenses.

The buzz on the many photography and movie industry fora that I visit continues to centre on the GH5’s video capabilities, ignoring or denying that it can be used to make great stills as well, so showing how professional photographers rely on the GH5 makes good sense.

About the Lumix Stories project

Photographers are dropping the DSLR in favor of lighter and more media diverse mirrorless cameras. Panasonic lead the development of the first mirrorless digital camera to replace the aging DSLR platform in 2008 with the LUMIX G series.

Today photographers are experiencing the benefits and flexibility of a lighter more compact interchangeable lens system camera that adds modern features like 4K video, in camera video to still conversion, combined body and lens image stabilization, and touch screen controls.

Follow the stories of several Lumix Ambassador professional photographers as they explore why the LUMIX G Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds system camera works for them.

The Videos

Pro Photographers are Switching to Lumix Cameras

Ben Grunow, Landscape Photographer & Videographer

Daniel J. Cox, Wildlife Photographer

Jennifer Maring, Lifestyle Photographer

Kevin T. Gilbert, Professional Photographer

William Innes, Wedding Photographer

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)  – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

PhotoCounter Australia: L&P in liquidation – with COMMENTARY

https://www.photocounter.com.au/2017/lp-in-liquidation/

“After 38 years serving professional photographers, it appears respected Sydney-based L&P Photographic Supplies is shutting its doors.

Insolvency website Insolvencynotices.com.au has announced that at a general meeting of members of L&P Photographics on August 2, ‘it was resolved that the Company be wound up and that Christopher John MacDonnell (Restructuring Solutions), be appointed liquidator’.

Industry sources have informed PhotoCounter that it has been known for some time that the business was in financial difficulties, but there was no particular business decision or direction which brought the liquidation on. ‘It’s been a slow, terrible death,’ observed one contact. …”

Commentary:

The liquidation of L&P Digital Photographic is a double tragedy, for current professional photography practice and for Australia’s photographic history.

The writing was on the wall when L&P’s landlord sold the building, photographer Max Dupain’s former studio, at 96 Reserve Road, Artarmon, in June 2017.

There appears to be little interest in preserving and learning from the history and achievements of Australian photography and photographers, and it would be a tragedy if the last traces of Max Dupain’s studio and darkroom disappear under the new ownership and tenancy of number 96 Reserve Road.

Too little attention and respect is paid to Australian pioneers and greats in the field of photography.

Harold Cazneaux’s home-based studio and darkroom fell into near-decrepitude under threat of demolition and it is unlikely it will receive heritage status and preserved as a museum, as should have been done long ago.

Great Australian photographers are more likely to be celebrated by the governments of other countries or the mayors of other cities.

The great German-Australian photographer Helmut Newton and his achievements have been memorialized by the Helmut Newton Foundation located in the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) along with those of his Australian wife the photographer June Newton aka Alice Springs.

It took decades for an Australian state gallery of museum to offer a show of any kind to the Newtons and there is no sign of the customary major career retrospectives or major collection of works much less a foundation ever appearing here in their own country.

The story is even sadder in connection with Anton Bruehl who, like the Newtons and countless numbers of other Australian photographers before and since, had little choice but to work overseas in order to build his brilliant career.

One of the greatest Australian photographers who made many contributions to the art and craft of photography, Anton Bruehl is not even memorialized with an entry in Wikipedia.

Australian photographers have long relied on foreign connections for their education, training, commissions, viable careers and supplies, and that does not make them any the less Australian.

I learned photography at long distance from a North American photographer working in the large format sheet film camera tradition and imported books, equipment and supplies direct from his company when I discovered I could not obtain what I needed here.

That early exposure to other ways of doing things, to a non-conformism rare in this country, led to other ways of doing things and to buying supplies from a New York-based photographic store the like of which we have never seen here, B&H Photo Video.

I would love there to be an Australian professional photography and video store where, as with B&H, one can see, try and then buy on the spot.

Alternatively, and even better, where one may borrow an item of equipment for a damned good tryout for several hours in return for one’s credit card details just in case, like the many stores in Tokyo recommended by globetrotting moviemaker and photographer colleagues.

Instead one must rely on reading reviews, watching videos, poring through specifications lists then ordering, unseen and untried, from online retailers.

I would gladly buy from Australian professional and non-professional online and bricks-and-mortar suppliers, if they had what I need in stock, on the shelf or in the backroom.

So many times I have walked into inner city or Artarmon suppliers only for an assistant to recommend that I place my order with B&H instead.

It is rare to see what what one needs on the shelves, much less to buy it. The few times I have been able to see and try led to purchases, often for a higher price than if I had ordered it online, due to the convenience of the item being right there right now.

The last time that magic combination – see, try then buy – occurred was at another now-defunct professional supplier, Foto Riesel, before it was sold then changed form into a bricks-and-mortar branch of the online retailer Digital Camera Warehouse.

Foto Riesel’s demise was the end of inner city-based well-qualified professional advice, a top quality digital printing service, a professional quality analog processing and printing lab, a brilliant secondhand equipment cabinet, and the fellowship of other photographers.

Photography and moviemaking here are subject to the loneliness of the long-distance photographer and it is only becoming lonelier.

Being a professional in either closely-related realm is lonelier again with L&P’s liquidation and I will miss Keith Gibbons’ long, rambling monologues during my rare visits to Artarmon.

I will never be able to make good on my hopes to eventually hire L&P’s small hire studio, Profoto lighting and Fujifilm GFX 50S camera to work on several coming documentary portrait series for this project, Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success.

A quick tour of the L&P studio revealed that Mr Dupain’s darkroom was to be turned into  a change and make-up room and it would have been fun to work in the same rooms as he once did.

My visits to Artarmon, once the natural home of photography and moviemaking, will now be even fewer than they have been in the past.

I cannot remember the last time I purchased anything from the remaining photography and video supplier there, Kayell Australia. Kayell represents a range of excellent brands whose products it can order in on request but so far I have not had need of any of them.

I am now wondering how the imminent arrival of Amazon and its huge warehouses out west will affect the professional photography and moviemaking supply scene in Australia.

Links:

Affinity: Affinity Photo brings professional photo editing to iPad

https://affinity.serif.com/blog/affinity-photo-brings-professional-photo-editing-to-ipad/

“Affinity Photo for iPad – the first fully-featured, truly professional photo editing tool to arrive on Apple’s tablet – is now on sale….

… We think Affinity Photo for iPad redefines photo editing once again, by bringing almost all the features in the Mac version to your iPad, so you can take all that photo editing power with you wherever you go.

The new version is tailored to harness the explosive power of the iPad’s hardware and touch capabilities, and is compatible with iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch….”

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