After The Shutter Clicks

Photography is so much more than just clicking the shutter button. There’s more that happens before the shutter is ever clicked and plenty more that happens after the shutter clicks.

So what happens before?

Well there’s lots of learning to do. All the basics of course and then there’s new techniques and ideas to keep up with. Classes to take, seminars to attend, workshops to learn from, forums to read, book after book to absorb, and good old practice, practice, practice. There’s equipment to purchase like the camera body, lenses, flashes, tripods, triggers, reflectors, lights… and there’s your dark room. That use to mean chemicals and lots of equipment but now with digital that means programs like LightRoom, Camera Raw, PhotoShop… and all those plug ins and actions and… well you get the idea. And before the shutter clicks… there’s the time. The time it takes to learn and develop your skills. Whether you are a newbie, a seasoned professional earning every last drop of income from that shutter click, or like me somewhere in-between, you’re going to invest a lot of time into all that learning.

But what happens after the shutter clicks. Most would say “nothing”, or “transfer pictures to your computer and then you’re done”.


Nope. There’s plenty that goes on after the shutter clicks and just for fun I thought I’d grab a pretty simple image and walk you through the steps I took from shutter click to ready to purchase.

For our fun example I wanted to use an image that wouldn’t need much work, just a few quick edits, so I grabbed this shot taken in a high school gym. If this were, let’s say, a shot of a beautiful waterfall in a huge garden with lots of bright flowers and a gorgeous blue sky; that was intended to be sold as a large print framed and ready to hang. Well there would be a little more work involved. Or let’s say I was doing something fun with it like that elephant from the other day. Then there would be a great deal more time involved. But for a sports image like this I keep it simple and quick because I’m not just doing one image. I might be editing 60, 100 or even 200 shots in one night depending on how many games were shot that day.

So let’s take a look at what steps I took on this image after the shutter clicked and before it became ready to purchase.blog_original_shot

First for the original image: Let’s face it lighting in your average high school gym sucks. There’s the color casts to deal with and the uneven light. The air is hazy. Yes I could take the time to set my own custom white balance to compensate for the color cast and adjust my exposure more often than I do; but the lighting is so un-even that it just would take too much time away from shooting. I’d have to change it often with one spot on the court being more orange and one spot too green while another is very dark and yet a few feet away it’s very bright. Those kids just move way to fast for me to be making changes every few seconds! So the original gym images look like the one above.

Step one: The RAW file and Camera Raw – I opened this image in camera raw and took a couple of minutes to correct a slight lens distortion, removed a bit of chromatic aberrations [that purplish fringing you sometimes see around the edges of contrasting parts in the image], cleared up some of that haze, made a few color corrections to compensate for that horrible lighting, made slight adjustments to the exposure, reduced some of that digital noise, and then moved on to step two.blog_psd_after_camera_raw

Step two: Photoshop – this image didn’t need much after its run through Camera Raw; all I had to do is straighten it a little, crop in a bit, and sharpen things up.

Now remember for these quickly edited images like this I’m doing several of them in one night so revisit those two steps over and over and over again.

Once the edits are done it’s time to upload!blog_final_image

First I create a gallery if I haven’t already done so. Then select the images and upload them to my site. Once they are in the appropriate gallery they are tagged, keyworded, dated, and in the case of a private gallery locked down with passwords.

After all that has been done then I promote the image or gallery through blogging, emailing links, social media posts… you know; if they can’t find it – they can’t buy it.

And that’s it.

Shutter click to ready to purchase. Just that fast quick easy simple . Well… just like that!

Aww the magic of digital.


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