My name is Rasmus Malmstrøm. I have been working as professional photographer for the last 5 years. In this blog I would like to share with you the most important steps and tools in my work flow as a photographer. In general I will focus on the editing process. I hope it will help you in your own work process. Feel free to ask questions if you feel like it.
1: Camera and Screen
Your no. 1 priority when being a professional photographer should be to have the best equipment for you to focus on your images. In general for my workflow I have chosen the equipment and software that helps me the best possible way getting the image from my head, into my camera and from there to my clients. When it comes to choosing a camera, I have been working with the Canon 5d mark III for a couple of years. It has all the features I need and it works consistently and I can count on it every time I pick i t up.
A second important equipment is your work station, computer and screen. I have for many years been working on Imac computers, and recently got the Imac 27 Inch Retina 5k. I couldn’t be more happy with my choice of computer. The resolution is amazing and to work on a large screen just makes experience of working with images so much better. I often spent whole days in front og my screen and therefore I think it’s one of the most important tools in your workflow.
2: Photo Mechanic
The very first thing I always do when I come back from a shoot is to look at what I got on my SD card. In the selection process the best tool is, in my opinion, Photo Mechanic. The workflow in Photo Mechanic is simply the fastes and most convenient when you want to scroll through hundreds of images to select the ones you would like to copy and which ones you want to delete. Photo Mechanic is fast at loading previews of your raw-files and has an easy to use tag function. Ones you have taged the photos you want to copy to your hard-drive you simply type in meta-data like your name, date of shoot etc. and copy the images to your chosen possision.
3: Capture One
After selecting my images I create a session in Capture One and import my images to the session. Capture One is an advances Raw-converter. The raw conversion is a non destructive work form, so the more editing you do in this process, the less damage you do to your images. Let’s say you underexposed your image or want to raise the exposure in one area of your image. You should do that in your raw converter. You should see your raw files like an undeveloped roll of film. Your raw conversion is your development process from film to negative. Ones your image is developed and turned into a compressed format (tiff or jpeg) your editing will be destructive to your image and the quality of your image. In Capture one I focus on white balance, contrast, lightening or darkening of areas of the image, overall exposure and image perspective/straight lines. I always export my images as TIFF 16 bit which gives me the larges and most detail image to work with in photoshop. See video clip below for an idea of how Capture One is working.
I also use the contact sheet function in Capture One. It creates web-res thumbnails and creates an online contacts sheet that you can send to your client before the editing starts.
In this video I briefly shows the main functions I use before I export my image into photoshop.
After processing my raw file I open the image in photoshop. In photoshop I do my last editing to the image. I mainly focus on contrast, tone, spot removal, masking, cropping and exporting. Photoshop is fast, intuitive and a world of possibilities. Being a photographer is also about the choices you do in your editing. To me editing is like a being a great referee in a soccer match. The less you notice him, the better he is. Meaning that if you can clearly tell that an image has been edited in photoshop you might have overdone or overused some effects. In my opinion the editing in photoshop should improve your image quality, look and feel, but not stand out like something is wasn’t when you shot the image.
The possibilities of photoshop is many and there are no right way to do things. In fact you will be able to do the same thing in many different ways. A great way to learn about photoshop and its many possibilities is by watching tutorials. But just like photoshop it self it can be a jungle to find the great tutorials and achieve the exact thing you have in mind. I personally often turn to the online Photoshop tutorials at http://phlearn.com/ In general their tutorials are super informative, straight forward and with great taste.
Photoshop is also were I export or save my final image according to the use of my final image. Let’s say I only want to use the image online, I always save the file as 72 dpi. Let’s say I want to print my image. In that case I save it as 300 dpi. I always save my final images in jpeg and the best possible quality. I often use an action to automate the saving process so I dont waist time resizing and saving multiple images.
You should keep practicing your photoshop skills and always search for new ways to improve your skills. That way you stay focused and up to date with new functions and new ways to achieve the expression you have in mind. Try to copy the look of other photographers and learn from them. I often wondered how Annie Leibovitz got the special cyanish look to many of her images. In these first images of the serie of Myrkur http://rasmusmalmstroem.format.com/untitled-gallery#0 I have tried to achieve the same kind of look by playing around with my green and red level channels adding some contrast colors (magenta and cyan) to the dark areas of the channels.
I always upload my images and send them to my clients as a dropbox link. You simply just create a new map, name it, upload your images and create a link to the map that you send to your client. The great thing about Dropbox is that by having your images saved in maps on the same platform, you always have your finished and edited images the same place. Let’s say your client comes back to you after one year asking for the images, you can always go to you dropbox, copy the link and resend it. By using We Transfer the files are not saved in the cloud, and therefore you will have to find them on your hard drive and upload them one more time, which takes time.