One of the things I most like about writing my blog is getting to know other bloggers - this is an incredible community of smart, funny, stylish women and it is such a pleasure to share a little glimpse of my itinerant lifestyle with all of you.
With that in mind, I've decided to start participating in ModlyChic's Friend Friday. This week's topic for discussion is one we all have questions about when reading another's blog - blogger mechanics.
1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...)
I use a Lenovo IdeaPad U460 laptop (in Midnight Plum), Pentax K-X camera with a Sigma 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 lens or a Pentax 50mm F/1.4 lens, Olympus E-P1 camera with a Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 lens, and boyfriend (who is not only sweet enough to take all my photos, but also just told me how to write all those fancy camera words just now).
2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..)
I currently use Blogger as my blogging platform, Disqus as my commenting platform, Flickr for image hosting, and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for photo editing. I have thought some about making a switch to Wordpress from Blogger/Disqus - I really like having threaded commenting, but I've had numerous problems with Disqus lately that have yet to be resolved. However, having taken only a cursory look at the back-end of the Wordpress platform, I will admit some trepidation about making a switch - as I'm now so used to working with Blogger, I found the WP dashboard very confusing and unintuitive.
3. What is your process for taking pictures?
Our process is simple enough that it's a little hard to think of how to explain it - we just take a bunch of photos! Usually we end up taking about 30 photos, and I'll wind up using three or four. Sometimes we take photos at home and sometimes while we are out, in which case we'll often try a couple different backgrounds just to see what turns out. Generally I'll take a look at what we've got midway through on the camera, then decide if I want to take more to better show a certain detail or aspect of the outfit that's not coming through.
Once we've taken all our photos for the day, I download all the raw files and jpegs from the camera onto my laptop. I open up all the jpegs in batches of about five in Photoshop, closing the ones I definitely don't want to use and keeping open the ones that I think have some potential. I find it easiest to pick which photos to use when I've got them all open in front of me. Once I've got it narrowed down to a reasonable number and variety of images, I open one of the raw files and tweak a few settings - I generally adjust the white balance, exposure, and contrast if need be. Once I've got the settings where I like them, I save a preset that I can then apply as a starting point to the rest of my images for the day. After tweaking the raw files, I'll sometimes add an adjustment layer for levels or curves in Photoshop, then crop and resize for the web. Finally I sometimes run an unsharp mask filter to sharpen the image a tiny bit, and save jpeg files to upload to Flickr.
4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily?
I can't say I have any hard and fast rules for backdrop selection, as often we take our photos while out exploring a new city and have no idea what we'll find. Since my blog is about my travels as well as my personal style, I try to choose locations that look good but also give a sense of place. When I can, I also look for backdrops that I think will highlight the colors or textures of the outfit I'm wearing. Often we end up taking photos in a certain place in order to take advantage of the (often fading) light, particularly when taking photos indoors.
5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying?
For the time being I can't say there's much I feel I'm missing in the way of equipment - we've got two great cameras with two lenses each, and at the moment I've got an excellent photographer on hand at all times. However, once we've finished traveling I might see about investing in a tripod and remote - I think I'll always prefer having Chris take my photos, but it would be nice to be able to take some on my own at times when he's busy. I also might think at getting him a longer/faster lens for the Pentax, so we can take photos with a shorter depth of field when we're shooting in less scenic locations.