A few years ago I met a couple who were on holiday in the Canaries and the subject got around to taking photos on holiday. I was amazed to discover that the couple had decided not to take photos whilst on holiday and just enjoy the moment. I on the other hand take thousands of them and I feel that I’m capturing those moments. Lots of people don’t rush home and have their images printed and hung on the wall but when you see an image you took years ago, memories come flooding back. This post looks at what I do with my photography, everything from taking the image to its final resting place.
Photography is subjective and an image captured at dusk with views over snow capped mountains is not everyone’s preference. I tend to have different projects on the go at the same time, this week for example is Graffiti and signs. This doesn’t mean that I stop taking other subjects I just focus more on my chosen genre.
Currently and mainly because I’m backpacking around Asia I am using the new Canon G7X MKII which I bought in Penang. I have a Canon DSLR back home with some Sigma F2.8 lenses which would be too bulky to carry around, especially when I’m wild camping and sleeping in airports. The Canon G7X MKII has surprised me on how similar the controls are to my DSLR and how easy it is to use. I would class it way above a point and shoot camera as I have full control of all the settings I would ever need.
All photographers know is that photography is all about good light and if you can control the iso, aperture and shutter speed then you can let your imagination run wild with different compositions. The Canon G7X MKII allows me to do all this and more, so I load in my 32Gb SD card and off I go.
Once I have captured those moments and seen as I’m traveling I need to do a little post processing. Capturing the perfect image straight out of the camera is a photographer’s dream but unless you have time to set the stage I feel most if not all images benefit from some post processing. I am traveling light and did not bring my laptop with me, so programs like lightroom are not easily available to me. I have however brought my Samsung Tab A 9.7” tablet. I have several different approaches to processing my images as I perform different operations with different apps depending on where the final result will end up. At present the majority of my images are heading straight to social media, so my family and friends can see what I’m up to.
I start by importing the jpg files from the camera to my tablet, I don’t use raw unless I am being paid for the images or the images will be used as artwork. I transfer the files using a simple on the go cable and card reader, I’ve found this to be a lot faster than over the air. I name the folder with the date the images were taken (271016img) I add the img as I also produce a lot of video files and want to process them separately. Once there I back them all up to Google Photos as this is a free service, Google photos does not store the original file size but compresses the file. I have an option to pay for storage space to be able to keep the original. All my commercial work is stored on paid for Google Drive storage at full resolution.
I have a little glitch with using Google photos a problem not caused by Google but one caused by myself. I had all my image folders set to backup to Google photos however that means I have unprocessed and processed together. Google doesn’t upload duplicates but will upload a file I have worked on, so when I view images in Photos I see more than one copy making it confusing. I will however spend some time back in the UK creating albums to differentiate between unprocessed and processed.
I’m using Pixlr at present to edit the images, I find it easy to use and I can place text easily over the image. I do this usually when posting to social media so anyone viewing will know the location. I don’t place text on every image as that would be overkill just the ones I want to turn into a meme or a postcard. Every image requires different adjustments which Pixlr allows me to do, all my images for social media or my blog gets a soft white border. I find this allows me to add captions if required as well as provide better spacing on my blog posts when viewed on a mobile device. Exporting options on Pixlr are limited so I export at full resolution to a Pixlr folder and compress for social media using a different app.
Image Shrink is an Android app I have found to be really useful when traveling, mainly because WiFi isn’t always fast and 3g or 4g sim cards can end up costing a fortune. I have a 4g sim card at present and although it’s very fast the data is only 1GB per day at a cost of 60p. I can easily use 5GB especially when I’m handling video files, I therefore compress my social media images before I send them, that way I can reduce the amount of data I’m using when uploading files. Social media doesn’t need high resolution images as most people are viewing on a mobile device the priority is speed and the cost of data. I can compress my files enough and still have a good quality image. I am also automating this process using the tasker app which is the best app I’ve ever come across.
I have been a little annoyed with instagram recently, mainly because I process all my images and instagram is designed to be a ‘live’ image taken in the moment and uploaded for all to see straight away. There is also no free way of posting to instagram automatically, which is something I look for because I’m in a completely different time zone to most of the people I want to display my images to. Something I’m researching is a tasker plugin called autoinput. This plugin uses screen coordinates to control other apps, I will no doubt spend sleepless hours writing a script to automate instagram posts.
Speaking of time zones, I send most of my images to either Buffer or Hootsuite, I prefer buffer because it posts the images, were as Hootsuite posts a link to the image. I am using the free version of buffer which means I can only have 10 images queued. I have found a work around to this and I’m amazed I actually figured it out. I use tasker to schedule images to buffer, so buffer doesn’t go over my limits but always stays topped up. One of buffers features I really like is you can send a post, image or both via a secret email address and in the email you can set parameters so I can post only to Facebook or Twitter or both. This gives me a lot of flexibility as Twitter is limited to 140 characters, however I have learnt that although Facebook let’s you write a whole post no one reads anything after the ‘continue reading…..’ link. Buffer will also notify you in the event you post more than 140 characters to Twitter, it sends a notification and holds the post, saving any embarrassment. Buffer can be used to post to instagram, however it only sends you a notification reminding you to send the post. This is a limitation of instagram and not buffer.
If you’ve not heard of an app called tasker than you are missing out on some incredibly powerful features, which are so comprehensive I would have to write a ten thousand work blog to explain only half of it. I discovered it a few years ago and have managed to get to grips with it as it requires a steep learning curve or programming skills. Luckily for me the language it uses I’m familiar with. Due to me having thousands of images I can’t always decide which ones to post, so I wrote a tasker script to make the decision for me. I programmed tasker to chose a random image from my compressed folder add a random travel quote and as long as I have a working Internet connection then email buffer a photo of the day.
This is how it works
At 09am daily
Randomise Travel Quote
Check Internet connection
If connected continue
If disconnected flash notification and stop
Chose random image from folder
Add random image and travel quote to email
Send email to buffer
Buffer then does the rest.
My next module will include
look for a notification from buffer to say buffer is full
I will also create a script to look for other notifications and set different posts for Twitter and Facebook. I will be using the website “If This Then That” to post my location too.
If This Then That is an extremely powerful platform and using Tasker and IF together means you can control your social media presence without wasting time. I read a recent blog post regarding outsourcing and it suggested paying someone to control your social media. I have learnt that you don’t need to pay to get back most of the time you spend updating your social media. Although Social media is what it says, social and there is nothing better for business or communication than responding yourself to others people’s posts. After all how would you feel if a program responded to your posts or liked an image, well actually you wouldn’t notice!
If in the unlikely event you wanted to save time and automate your social media activity, get in touch. I no longer work for money just food and accommodation.
Thanks for reading