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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> How Much Time in the Digital Lab?
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08/02/2011 07:48:20 AM · #1
Iím curiousÖjust how much time do photographers spend in the digital darkroom? Please take this short survey and Iíll post up the results as soon as I have more than a handful of responses. Thanks for your time!

Click here for the survey

[note: I used my free account at SurveyMonkey to create the survey and embedded it into my website. You don't have to register or anything to take the poll...]
08/02/2011 06:33:31 PM · #2
i'm getting close to a 'handful', would appreciate some more input.

thanks!
08/02/2011 06:37:17 PM · #3
Completed
08/02/2011 06:39:18 PM · #4
Of the many, many surveys I have done with survey monkey this is far and away the fastest, with narry a dead end "My answer doesn't fit in any of the choices" conundrum. Take it, it's painless.
08/02/2011 06:40:20 PM · #5
Did it :-)
08/02/2011 06:48:19 PM · #6
Done.
08/02/2011 06:54:22 PM · #7
3)

are you satisfied with your current workflow practices/time relationship:

no. Ideally, I'd like to become more processing efficient, especially in areas of color /spot editing.

-- I find that I tend to push off the workflow and organizing until I need to do it. I've been in the process of sorting and archiving ~12k photos, and with that I'm adding more (mostly) every day. I'm finding it difficult to keyword, rate, rename, edit and print any of my current stuff because I'm still about a year behind in my processing. As I don't make my living with processing and deliverables, it's okay that it's more of a long term thing.

08/02/2011 07:13:20 PM · #8
Hi Skip. Just completed the survey. Its funny, if you'd asked me those same questions a few years ago, my answers would have been much different. Now, with experience and the right software, my digital darkroom time is greatly reduced. I get the images as "right, straight from the camera" as possible and with the right workflow everything runs more quickly.
08/02/2011 07:14:53 PM · #9
Completed!
08/02/2011 07:28:40 PM · #10
Completed.
I need to:
- be more ruthless and reject more images during the initial pass, quickly.
- be more consistent with redundant backups and archiving.
- improve at "getting it right in camera" more consistently.
- spend less time tweaking and retweaking...and reretweaking.
- create more custom Lightroom and Photoshop actions/templates, since I usually use similar settings in many images (seems like a no brainer).

Overall, my workflow has improved dramatically over the last year...but there is definitely room for improvement.
08/02/2011 07:35:17 PM · #11
Took it! Well put together.
08/02/2011 08:20:23 PM · #12
out of just over 25 responses (thank you, very much!), about 60% of the respondents consider themselves non-amateur

the type of shooting done is spread fairly evenly, with the exception of "other" having a lot of responses (i'm going out on a limb and guessing that "other" probably includes stuff like fine art, landscape, stock, food, and travel - some of which i would probably classify as 'commercial').

for every hour shooting, it seems that most photographers spend their computer time as follows:

importing 21 minutes
captioning 10 minutes
selecting 31 minutes
processing 88 minutes
packaging 39 minutes
archiving 27 minutes


totaled up, that's about 3.5 hours of computer time for ever hour shooting!

for an amateur, that's fine.

for a pro, of any stripe, that's ton of time. the big question is, are you accounting for it in your pricing?
the next question is (as some of you have already stated), what are you doing to streamline your workflow?

[ without paying for a pro surveymonkey account, i can't get much more scientific than this ;-) ]

i'll venture that some numbers are lower because amateurs are not going to have the same demands as non-amateurs, and that (possibly) some numbers are higher because amateurs do not necessarily have the same incentive to get some things done more quickly.

if i were to 'guess' at which responses were non-amateurs, i would guestimate that a conservative total computer time would be about 2.15 hours for every hour shooting.

----------------------------------------------------------

more responses are welcome!

Message edited by author 2011-08-02 20:21:34.
08/02/2011 08:27:49 PM · #13
Completed.
08/02/2011 10:14:55 PM · #14
next to nothing, since the place I submit my work to does not allow editting. Must be right off the camera. Did da sorbey.

Message edited by author 2011-08-02 22:17:43.
08/02/2011 10:38:08 PM · #15
On the workflow..... Maybe what I do with backups can add some value to someone (or maybe not) - I use LightRoom right now - almost exclusively...

* The Backup (NOT archive), I have all automated into 2 layers.
- I mirror the main drives (using personal backup) to some eSATA drives.
- I created a "smart" collection in LR that grabs anything with stars (I star the good ones and flag the working set).
- That smart (semi-dumb) coll kicks out DNG files to a location seen by carbonite, which backups up to the cloud.
- That is as slow as crap but worth it for the critical files. Do NOT use carbonite as the cripple the upload speed :-(

* Archiving - I got nothing and am open to ideas. I don't know anyone else has a great idea I have seen either, so keeping it all on spinning drives at this point... apart from maybe the place that burns digital files back to film and stores in the old salt mines :-) Not real cost effective though.
08/02/2011 11:43:29 PM · #16
done


08/02/2011 11:46:46 PM · #17
Did it!
08/03/2011 06:23:01 AM · #18
really appreciate the input! thanks!

at this point, with 40 responses, just over half of the respondents consider themselves non-amateur

the type of shooting done is spread fairly evenly, with the exception of "other" having a lot of responses (i'm going out on a limb and guessing that "other" probably includes stuff like fine art, landscape, stock, food, and travel).

for every hour shooting, it seems that most photographers spend their computer time as follows:
importing	20 minutes

captioning 9 minutes
rejecting 33 minutes
editing 86 minutes
packaging 45 minutes
archiving 25 minutes
to reiterate my earlier comments (bolding the slight changes)
Originally posted by skip:

totaled up, that's about 3.6 hours of computer time for ever hour shooting!

for an amateur, that's fine.

for a pro, of any stripe, that's ton of time. the big question is, are you accounting for it in your pricing?
the next question is (as some of you have already stated), what are you doing to streamline your workflow?

[ without paying for a pro surveymonkey account, i can't get much more scientific than this ;-) ]

i'll venture that some numbers are lower because amateurs are not going to have the same demands as non-amateurs, and that (possibly) some numbers are higher because amateurs do not necessarily have the same incentive to get some things done more quickly.

if i were to 'guess' at which responses were non-amateurs, i would guestimate that a conservative total computer time would be about 3.1 hours for every hour shooting.


===============================================================

for those of you that consider yourself non-amateur, how do you feel about those total numbers? are they close to what you think you put in for each hour shooting?

---------------------------------------------------------------

additional responses welcome!

08/03/2011 07:39:44 AM · #19
Holy moly, those are *huge* numbers!
Importing: a few hundred shots, cripes, 5 minutes max! Including keywording.
Captioning: for me, near-zero. but in some cases I can see this taking 9 minutes. Still if it does, I think this is a lot of time ofr this task.
Rejecting: really? 33 minutes to mull over which shots to keep? Usually, for me it is pretty obvious, And I don't physically delete most of my rejects, just the worst of the worst (badly missed focus, etc.). The rest stay there, with a low rating.
Editing: there was a time when I could see this. But I do the vast majority of my work in Lr, and I will spend no more than 30 minutes per hour of shooting, often much less.
Packaging: This should be mostly automated, unless you are creating a custom book or other special packaging
Archiving: near-zero. Period. This should be automatic.
08/03/2011 08:43:09 AM · #20
Originally posted by kirbic:

Holy moly, those are *huge* numbers!

LOL, i totally understand where you're coming, fritz ;-) btw, in addition to posting your numbers here, did you do the online survey?
08/03/2011 08:45:37 AM · #21
I did it also, not even sure what IPTC is...
But I'm a hack, a professional hack, but a hack none the less....
08/03/2011 08:57:41 AM · #22
Originally posted by Skip:

Originally posted by kirbic:

Holy moly, those are *huge* numbers!

LOL, i totally understand where you're coming, fritz ;-) btw, in addition to posting your numbers here, did you do the online survey?


Yep, I did, Skip!
08/03/2011 11:49:58 AM · #23
Just responded, but had a couple of comments to toss in as well.

Importing takes time, but I'm always doing something else during that time so I don't count it as time against a project or that I would charge to the client. If may take 10-15 minutes to import and 8GB card and generate previews (using Aperture), but it only took me 1 minute to drop the card in the reader and then everything else is automate.

Archive is the same type of process. Click a button and do something else while the images are moved from my library to an external drive as referenced images.
08/03/2011 11:58:37 AM · #24
I generally import and select a few for immediate editing. However, I tend to go back to a library over and over as I learn new editing techniques to see what I can create. My ratings change over time as I use that as a selection tool for the current project.

Toss, you mean I have to toss something? Don't trash it, it might be useful is my current motto as I tend to play in PS with unconventional uses for conventional tools.
08/03/2011 12:15:12 PM · #25
I just plug the card reader in, and hit "auto". Come back in 15 minutes, pix are all sorted, selected, edited, filed, archived, and the printer is spitting out 16X20's of the great ones. Love my Mac.
Just kiddin'. : )
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