Post Post-Processing Blues

Custom guitar from a very special tree

Custom guitar from a very special tree

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was working on a project that got me doing a more intentional shoot on Sunday.  I have now completed post-processing of those images.  I am going through the general post-post-processing blues of not being that happy with the resulting images.

The post-post-processing blues actually start at the beginning of a project.  It’s that initial excitement that gets the creative juices flowing followed by flashes of images in your mind of the things you want to try to capture.  The promise of creating something really cool gets the blood pumping a little faster.

Guitar bodies in the rough

Guitar bodies in the rough

Then, there’s the preparation for the shoot.  Thinking through the shots you want, the lenses you’ll need, making sure you have backup batteries in your bag, and deciding whether a portable light stand is in order.  It reminds me of the excitement I had as a child when I would start pulling out toys I wanted to play with and imagined whatever it was I was going to do with them.

Next comes the actual shoot.  The place where your imagination meets reality.  This is when I realized I should have brought a step ladder and I needed a big sheet or something to cover up some of the distracting background clutter and create some better contrast than the cream-colored walls.

Maneuvering around obstacles, finding angles where backgrounds are cleaner, running into physical obstructions and lighting challenges start out as fun exercises, but as the clock ticks and the sunsets, the pressure to complete quickly builds and the challenges turn into annoyances.

Necks waiting for the final fitting

Necks waiting for the final fitting

In the end, I have to call it quits because of time, not because I’m done.  I didn’t get to work on any of the macro images I had in mind.  I didn’t get to shoot the building lobby or down the hall.  A million imagined images begin to dissolve, fading from possibility to forgotten.

Relief that the job is done replaces any remnant of excitement.  If I were a tired child playing with a favorite toy, I would probably toss it across the room at this point.  But, these are not the kinds of toys that would survive a toss and I am an adult.

I downloaded the images, but didn’t look at them until the next day.  I was left with the feeling of holding my breath in the hope that some post-processing would make me happier with them.  When I finally did the post-processing, I can’t say I was any more satisfied that I had been the day before.

Part of me wants to go back and reshoot.  That part of me doesn’t need sleep and doesn’t worry about work the next day–the rest of me does.  I decide sleep is more important.  I go back to my day job and forget about my images until now.

There they are.  Not quite what I was shooting for.

Finished and ready to ship

Finished and ready to ship


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