Chuck Espinoza Photography

Los Angeles Based Freelance Photographer.
Family, Kids, Maternity and Weddings

Photography and Computer Technology

September 3, 2009

A few weeks ago I was in computer hell. I’ve known that my computer was on it’s final legs for a couple months but there was always a reason to put off the upgrade process. Eventually it caught up with me and one of my hard drives to crashed. This happened during a week I had three jobs scheduled and I needed a stable computer to edit the images on. Over the past eight years I have built my own computers. It’s not as hard as it seems and it allows me to customize the system to suit my needs and future growth. It can be a pain in the ass but so is transferring all your work and files from your old computer to a new one.

Because of the time sensitivity of the three jobs I had that week, Robin convinced me to buy an off the shelf computer. I bought the fastest HP they had, brought it home and it crashed during the “Welcome to your new HP” process. Eventually I got it up to speed but continued to have problems with it. A few days later I was back at the store to return the HP and buy parts to build my own computer. Weeks later I now have all my files in the right place, almost everything is backed up and the computer is working great. How does this relate to photography? I can’t do my job without my computer.

For family photos I use kodak’s online service to make prints. The colors is great, they have 4k technology ,the prints are cheap and they make it pretty easy to order prints. A friend complained to me that he hated kodak because the colors were always off. He’s wrong; the colors are off because he thought his camera was smart enough to make all the right decisions. All my photos are edited in Photoshop, even the point and shoot family snap shots. Why? Because sometimes it’s about capturing the moment and not worrying about my camera settings. But the main reason is that the computer is my digital darkroom and the photos I want on my walls and in the albums as well as the images I deliver to my clients are the result of my camera and lighting skills and also my work in Photoshop.¬† What I do with my camera is only half of my job as a professional photographer.

Prior to starting this post I was working on some images I shot at a family get together a few weeks ago. The first image is posted as it was shot without any post production work. The white balance is off, the bright sky is distracting, the colors are flat and the photo isn’t sharp. If I upload this to a photo lab the print will look equally bad.

Image as it came out of the camera - Canon 5D and 24-70mm 2.8 Lens
Image as it came out of the camera - Canon 5D and 24-70mm 2.8 Lens

I cropped the image to get rid of the blown out sky, corrected the white balance to compensate for the color of the setting sun and the all the green grass in the frame, bumped up the contrast and color saturation, burned (darkened) the foliage, added a slight vignette to bring your eye to the center, straightened the horizon and sharpened the image.

Image edited in Photoshop
Image edited in Photoshop

This is the level of work I put into all my images. Some photographer’s feel that it’s a waste of time since their clients aren’t going to buy every picture. To me it’s about providing a level of service and professionalism that my clients don’t get when they ask their nephew to shoot their family portraits. Over the next couple weeks I’ll write more on how Photoshop helps me produce the quality of work my clients expect.

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