20 posts or Who photographs the photographer

My little studio

My little studio

20 posts so far – that calls for a little excursion into photography and some reflection about my general workflow…
As you can see, this is my little studio where I photograph the fossils, with the “ensemble” of the Amaltheidae post still present.
It´s just a little Novoflex macro table, that I´ve put onto another table to reach comfortable working height. There are 2 flexible lamps with 5400 °K permanent light from above and another from below the slightly transparent table to provide a little contour light from below. There´s another led spot clamped to the table if I need it for a special spotlight etc. In front of the table I have positioned a sturdy tripod with a 3D geared head that holds the camera with a 150 mm macro lens which gets me to 1:1 size if I need to.  The geared head makes precisely framing the shot very easy, I find it a lot more suited to the task than a normal ball head. Depending on the size of the fossil I photograph, I move the tripod closer or further away from the table – the maximum size fossil I can do with this kit is about 30 x 30 cm.
If I photograph fossils for any post I´m planning, I will always do a lot more pictures than you actually get to see in the post. One reason is that I obviously do several different photos where I vary lighting, sharpness points, positioning of the fossil etc to get the best shot possible. The other reason of course is that I do not photograph only for the post – there are a lot more detail photos and shots of additional fossils that I get to be used later for the book !
I normally research the ammonites I´m planning to write about first, so the text usually comes before the pictures.
For writing the text I use a software called Evernote (it´s a free editor that saves the texts etc in the cloud) – It allows me to continue writing on my texts even if I´m not at home or not at my main computer.  Once the text is about ready, I select the fossils from my collection and do a photo session. Today´s photo session for the Amaltheidae took about 5 hours (while outside a thunderstorm with torrential rain & hail was going on…).
As the thunderstorm subsided, I switched my computer back on and began editing the photos. I run the pictures through a software called DXO first – it does a lot of automatic corrections for colour, white balance, sharpness, lens distortion etc for me. After that is done I do the masking, cropping and combining of pictures in Adobe Photoshop. If the picture will get used in the book I save it uncompressed for maximum quality in Photoshop´s own format so I can later use it without further problems in Adobe InDesign, the publishing software I´m going to use for the book. If it gets used in the blog as well, it will be re-sized for web use, marked with a copyright notice (If you like my pictures and would like to use them – contact me) and saved as a jpeg file, in a setting optimized for both size and visual quality of the picture.
Once text and photos are complete, I upload the picture files to the WordPress media library, add any pictures comments and paste the text for the new post from Evernote into the WordPress editor. I then add the links to the pictures in the media library, do a final spell & visual check – and publish the post !
This workflow has worked quite well for me so far, I feel that writing the blog posts gives me an intermediate goal that continues to drive my work for the book.
With over 2000 views to date (not much for a blog, but this is also a very specialized topic with a small target group), you readers out there seem to enjoy it as well
 – thanks for reading, wherever you are  !

Blog visitor statistics 07.07.2012

Blog visitor statistics 07.07.2012

Leave a comment


  1. Tarquin

     /  July 9, 2012

    Exemplary blog, Andy, very enjoyable and informative.

  2. Steve

     /  July 11, 2012

    Andy… Excellent blog and serious photography setup… Keep up the good work…I’ll be checking in frequently….


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