A Quick Look Behind the Scenes

Welcome back!

Skip all the talking and go to the photo processing by clicking here!

This post will be a departure from the usual photo posts and more along the lines of informational posts I’ve made such as my MagicBand teardown and my comparison of different iPhone cameras.

I try to respond to any questions people ask me via Twitter, Instagram, and the comments here and I’ve found that many come up multiple times. I hope this post answers most of these questions in one place while shining a light on my usual workflow.

Q1: What program(s) do you use to edit your photos?
A1: I always use Aperture – which is no longer being updated or supported by Apple. At times I want to use HDR to process a photo that has difficult lighting; for HDR, I turn to Photomatix Pro. In some instances – after processing in Aperture and/or Photomatix Pro – I will use Perfect Effects 8 to apply effects and borders.

Q2: How much do you edit your photos?
A2: I try to edit as little as possible for most photos. I tend to stick to color correction (white balance), brightness correction (I underexpose all of my photos as I shoot them so that I can correct for the bright Florida sunshine later on), straightening, removal of lens specks, and cropping. I don’t ever use any of the more advanced tools many photographers use, such as: cloning, compositing, and/or heavy retouching.
My main goal is to present a scene or an object as if you are observing it yourself, in person. Sometimes, I edit photos a little more heavily to capture the mood of the moment or to make them more suitable to sell as art prints in my store. This level of editing is usually done in the aforementioned Perfect Effects 8 and Photomatix Pro and these photos usually find their way to flickr.

Q3: How do you decide what blog posts to write?
A3: If something is fairly new in the parks and I happen to be around to photograph it, I will prioritize getting those photos out quickly. My Festival of Fantasy post is a good example of this. Sometimes, Melissa of Mouse on the Mind requests photos for a post on her blog, so I will make a companion post here. Other than that, I just post whatever strikes my fancy or comes to mind – a benefit of this blog existing solely for myself.

Q4: What program do you use for watermarking?
A4: Snap Converter for OS X.

Q5: What is your workflow?
A5: I pull the photos from my camera(s) into Aperture to start with. Then, I take a pass through and delete anything that’s clearly unusable. After the initial culling, I break photos into groups by attraction, date, season, or other common factor. I then delete photos in those groups with a more focused eye – I take two or three shots of everything – and edit the keepers.

Q6: How do you decide which photos get shared in which places?
A6: Live photos from within the parks are pretty easy – I usually wait about an hour (so I’m well away from that location!) and put them on Instagram. I find Disney transportation is a great place to Latergram. Some photos are clearly destined for the blog as a comprehensive post: you know, 200+ photos of the same parade or attraction that get posted after light editing. Some photos – the ones I absolutely love – get a lot of editing attention and get put on Flickr in higher resolution than my blog or Instagram usually display.

Editing Samples

Each photo below has a caption explaining the editing I have done to it. Click on any photo to enlarge and to read the caption.

HDR Photography

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