Thursday, August 8, 2013

Preparing for a gallery exhibition, Part 1: first step in choosing the images

I am currently preparing for three galleries, the first scheduled to hang in less than 3 months. The preparation process has been mind blowing and extremely intimidating. Maybe sharing my experiences can help another photographer new to the "business".

But first, one piece of advice for budding photographers; never forget those that have helped you some way or another. With that, I will pause and give thanks to all those individuals and groups (family, friends, acquaintances) that have helped me on this journey. There are too many to name because there are so many that have inspired me by sharing wilderness experiences in the Everglades, Biscayne Bay and Big Cypress. A special thanks goes to my Florida Trail Association friends that have taught me so much and are always eager to share experiences and photographs of the great places we visit. Then there are my paddling friends that explore the Everglades with me and by doing so, make the experience safer and richer. There are many artists that inspire and teach me and provide me a high standard of creativity to achieve, and to them I give many thanks. Last, a thank you to those that provided me the opportunity to display my work in the galleries devoted to Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.

The gallery exhibit I first began preparing for is specific to Biscayne Bay. While the topic is narrowly focused, my images of Biscayne Bay are in the thousands and span from 2007 to present. But they are easy to find because I keep my images in folders that are labeled by place and date (i.e, 07Aug13 Biscayne). These folders are placed inside another folder that is labeled by place and year (i.e., Biscayne2013). Beginning with the 2007 images, I went through each folder and picked out potential gallery images. Some of the images had already been processed in Lightroom or Photoshop, converted to TIF or jpeg, or both, and/or resized for web display. Regardless of what history the image had on my computer, I began with the original RAW image.

I ignored my previously processed TIF images, particularly the older ones. Why not use the image already processed? It is for the simple reason that I have become more skilled at processing my images on Photoshop and I have picked up a great deal of information from other photographers on what works best for printing. So with new knowledge and skills, I approached my older images with a keener eye.

I also found that I selected images that I previously ignored; like finding a little treasure hidden away. Once I selected an image, I processed it and saved it as a TIF without resizing. These TIF files were then placed in a folder dedicated to the TIF images for Biscayne Bay. Then I saved jpeg files for web display and kept those in a separate folder dedicated to online images of Biscayne Bay. This process took several weeks, but it ended with about 450 images.

The next step was to reduce the number from 450 to about 20-30 images that will be printed and displayed. This involves more than simply choosing the images. The next blog will address this next step.

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