Whoa now, hold on, time for a reality check. YES, our business is amazing, we know we are fortunate to do what we do, but… let’s reveal a little of what goes on behind the scenes. Computer time. It is unavoidable these days, for photographers digital means time; downloading images, backing them up, editing, adding metadata, changing their names, adding them to the database, uploading them to the stock site, and then backing them up again with great redundancy. Amongst all of this is the critical component of digital processing – Photoshop time.
I am lucky enough to have one of the best out there on my team, my wife, my partner, yes, the Swiss General; Janine Patitucci, the Photoshop Queen.
In five sentences or less, what does Photoshop do? An image made with a professional quality camera will produce what is called a RAW file. It will not look how the scene photographed looked. It will be muddy with little contrast. But, it will be full of all the data that Photoshop can adjust to make it look how the photographer wants it to look, whether that be exactly how it appeared, or with some manipulation to make it more creative. It all depends on what the photographer wants, or if it was a job, what the client wants.
While I work on my computer, writing emails, marketing, setting up shoots, etc… in other words, working a dynamic job, Janine sits a meter away plugging away at images, often for 10+ hours a day, day in and day out, color correcting & matching. Each image that goes into our database gets prepped for print so it is ready for the client immediately upon ordering. On the average, each image gets eight minutes of loving. A sizeable shoot, like the Iceland trip we just returned home from, might produce 1000 sellable images. 1000 images at 8 minutes per image is 133 hours. During that 133 hours will be other shoots, more images, more time.
You might be thinking, “Dan, have you considered outsourcing?”
The answer is yes. But we are up against the Swiss here, and her answer is an emphatic, “Nein”. Quality control.
But in the end it all pays off. Throughout the last 10 years we have consistently been told that we provide, hands down, the best digital files out there – and this comes from clients such as National Geographic as well as numerous ad agencies. For us it is rewarding to hear this and to know that wherever we are, we can deliver images to clients that will look perfect in their presentation.
As a sidenote, whenever Janine wants to catch up on Photoshop info, research new tricks, etc… She uses an amazing online tutorial service available to everyone: Lynda.com