How are you doing it? Behind the scenes of my little photo project

Two weeks or so ago, in regards to my photo project, dannyman asked me how I was moving the photos and what I was doing in WordPress to make it all work. He also suggested it’d make a good blog post, which I agree. I’ve mentioned before about the cameras I have at my disposal, so this will be more about what I’m doing for post-processing and moving the files around.

This will be a long one, so I’m gonna put the break in here for you front page readers…

Editing the Images

A majority of my post-processing takes place in Aperture.  I received Aperture for Christmas and have been VERY happy with it.  The two big things I really enjoy out of aperture is that it handles my large volume of photos (currently at 14,518) very well and it is great at handling the RAW from the T2i. Both of those come at the expense of memory.  My experience has shown that you want at least 4GB of RAM in your Mac, but i’m finding 8GB is really where its at.  The other benefit is I can do most of the photo manipulations I’d do right within Aperture. My needs aren’t usually fancy enough for jumping out to GIMP or Photoshop.  I’m still learning to use all of it, but its been great.

So, how do I get the images into Aperture? Aperture can suck them right off my iPhone, so that’s easy if my phone is hooked up to my laptop vis USB. Both of the other camers use SmartMedia cards which the MacBook Pro I use has built in. Aperture can see that and suck them right in.  Sometimes I use a cheat to get images from my iPhone to Aperture when I don’t feel like finding a sync cable, and that cheat is called using Dropbox. The Dropbox app on the iPhone allows one to copy images from the iPhone’s built-in photo album into their Dropbox folders.  Once my laptop syncs that up, I can pull the image into Aperture there. Since I also have a Dropbox client on my iPad, I can also pull the images into there… but more on that later.

Occasionally I’ll be unable to get to a computer to do the post, so if I’ve taken the image on my iPhone I have a few tools at my disposal. For quick and dirty simple photo manipulations, the free PS Express app fits the bill.

On my iPad, which doesn’t have a camera, I can either get the images via Dropbox from the iPhone or use the Camera Connection Kit to take the photos off the other cameras SmartMedia cards and onto the iPad. Once on the iPad, I use Photogene as my image editor. Overall, I like Photogene and its got a lot of great tools and effects built in.  The downside is that its been a bit unstable for me.  I can get it to lock up the entire iPad requiring a reboot fairly often. I suspect that part of the issue is that I’m blowing out the iPad’s RAM by having it deal with the 22MB RAW files that the T2i generates.  Supposedly its supposed to work on the JPEG previews built into the RAW file, but it must have to do some processing of the raw, and that’s when the app seems to be most vulnerable.  I should do an experiment sometime where I give it much smaller JPEGs to play with and see how it does. That said, it does seem to be more stable after each release. (And I do have PS Express on the iPad in case Photogene is just refusing to cooperate that day.)

Putting it on the blog

If I’m only using my iPhone or  iPad, as I did on my recent trip to Seattle where I didn’t bring my laptop, the universal WordPress app tool is where its at. It operates a ton better than fighting the WordPress backend in MobileSafari.  I can create the blog post and associated text while I’m offline, and then once online, I can use the app to push the image files up and link them in.  This isn’t my favorite way to do it as the thumbnail creating and image resigning built into WordPress doesn’t fire off.  Luckily, the iPhone pictures are usually small enough that its a non-issue and, on the iPad, Photogene lets me export to a sane size before I get to the upload point.  The other issue is that added functionality things like notifying twitter of a new blog post via the Twitter Tools plugin don’t fire off.

When I’m on my laptop, I just use the normal build-in WordPress tools to upload the image, put it in the post, and add a gallery on days when I have bonus images. The only tweak for photos I’ve made on top of a vanilla normal WordPress setup was to add the jQuery Colorbox plugin to automatically give the nifty jQuery image pop-up boxes when you click on the pictures.

I have one remaining issue I’d like to solve, but it isn’t super-annoying me yet enough to solve it.  Since I like having WordPress themes with two sidebars, my thumbnail images can be to wide for the theme depending on your monitor/browser size.  I haven’t really found an idea size I like yet, but I’m using 600×600 as the max right now.  I’m thinking about dropping down to 500×500.

This was your little drop behind the music..er..photos.  I’m sure there are probably better ways to do some of what I’m doing with WordPress, so I’d love to hear any suggestions.