Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that many of you woke up on Christmas morning to a brand- new DSLR camera, a new lens or other photographic goodies under the Christmas tree.
The beginning of every New Year we all make our New Year resolutions. For the photographer some good resolutions might include; take more pictures, take a photo class or workshop, learn a new style of photography or take a photo vacation to some exotic destination.
Another worthwhile resolution would be to make a point of going to an art gallery or museum and study the work of some of the masters. Seeing beautiful photographs printed and displayed in a gallery setting is much more satisfying than looking at images on the Internet.
One great New Year resolution that every photographer should get in the habit of making is developing a workflow strategy to archive and safeguard your precious digital images from a hard drive crash. It can also be used to find a shot from a photo trip that you took six months ago.
As a professional, I take thousands of images a year for hundreds of clients, plus all of my own personal photography, so it is very important that I can look up a job for a client from last year or even two, three or more years. If I can't find a client file, I will lose the potential for a re-order from that job, and that's money out of my pocket.
My archiving workflow system goes like this: The very first chance after a photo shoot, I download my images from my camera's memory card to my computer's hard drive. Then I copy those images from my hard drive to a permanent file on an external hard drive.
I have several external hard drives and when one fills up I get another. The images stored on the external hard drives are much safer that images stored on your computer's hard drive as viruses and hard drive crashes are much less likely to happen.
External hard drives of 500 megabytes to a terabyte store very large image files with ease and are relatively inexpensive.
I name each file by the type of job, client name and date. For example, a family portrait that I did in December would be named this way: "Fam. Mary Smith. 12-12" -- so if Mary called me two years from now wanting to reorder some portraits all I need to know to find the images quickly is search for the type of session, the name and the month and year. This saves me hours of searching.
The third safeguard that I use is to burn a DVD with each job and file it in an orderly fashion. I use DVDs because they hold much more information than CDs. Once a job is completed and prints are delivered, I will then delete the file from my computers hard drive, leaving the images archived on the external hard drive and the DVD.
This system has never failed me, but you must discipline yourself to go through each of these steps immediately after finishing a photo project.
If you wait and get behind on several projects, it will became a very time consuming task to catch up. By the time you do, a hard drive crash could wipe out several great photos that you won't be able to replace.
I want to finish this column on a sober note by paying tribute to a fellow professional photographer, Marci Stenberg, who passed away suddenly on Dec. 21. Marci was a dedicated photojournalist for the Sun-Star for 24 years. She was a shining example of a dedicated, hard-working professional photographer, giving everything she had to make the best possible image under sometimes difficult conditions and loving every minute of it. This is the mark of a true pro.
Jay Sousa is a longtime professional photographer based in Merced and a former Sun-Star photographer. He also teaches photography classes at Merced College and conducts private training sessions. Go to his website, www.jaysousaphotography.com, to see samples of his work and a schedule of upcoming classes.