A current is a flow of water, never stagnant and always heading somewhere; to stay current, is to do just that. But akin to the ocean’s inconsistent temperament, the struggle to stay afloat in our ever-so-visual social media and to stay relevant through exponentially improved communication of information is very real, and in order to stay above the water, quality in photos and content must also rise. Simple smartphone images just won’t cut it anymore, as a new category of entrepreneurs labeled “influencers” have been pushing their content above and beyond to be a cut above the rest.
However, with images now taken on a quality DSLR comes the issue of transferring those photos to your phone in a timely manner, so that you’re not posting Christmas photos in February. Nobody wants to see you chug an entire bottle of egg nog…actually, I would pay good money to see that.
Camera and phone companies have been taking note of this demand as we now see phones with attachable lenses, DSLRs with Wi-Fi® capabilities, Wi-Fi cards, and smartphones with advances in their camera sensors—there goes my photography career out the window, now that everyone has discovered the magical, creamy world of bokeh.
Sending images immediately via Wi-Fi — always the best option?
A method that some influencers adopt is to shoot with a DSLR and a Wi-Fi card or Wi-Fi-capable camera that directly uploads images from camera to phone. This way, they get their images instantly and on the go. However, shooting this way might not actually bring about optimal results. From a professional standpoint, it is best to always shoot RAW image files vs. JPEG, so more information is preserved for editing purposes. You can get away with shooting JPEG if the lighting situation matches your branding image, but if you want consistency and flexibility in post production, RAW images are the way to go.
Unfortunately, RAW files are pretty large and are not suitable for the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities of recent DSLR models — a 20 million pixel RAW image can easily be 25MB or larger in file size. Even if it were possible to transfer RAW files to your phone, the downloading speed would be heavily compromised and your phone might not even be able to accommodate that much data. Especially in this day and age, people are very trigger-happy and end up taking a million photos of the same exact thing without considering that they probably don’t need 10,000 photos of their cat. They only need like 9,000, right? RAW files take up a good chunk of storage, and it wouldn’t make sense to try and fit all that onto a mobile device.
Step One: Take advantage of DSLR image quality
So that brings up the challenge: using your DSLR for top-quality images, and how to efficiently upload them to social media sites and elsewhere. To start off, you’ll probably need a decent DSLR and lens. Many people don’t realize that the lenses you choose for your body also affect the quality of your photos. Make sure you get a pretty good lens on you, so your photos look crisp and sharp! My go-to setup is my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a EF 24-70mm L-series lens.
Once you have your equipment on hand, it’s time to go out there and shoot some content. As you are shooting, remember to stay pretty consistent in lighting and your settings. This is a huge time-saver because then you won’t have to tweak too many notches when editing. I usually shoot in Manual mode. Make sure you change your white balance to properly match the lighting, and keep an eye on your metering. Some of these terms might sound daunting, but ideally, you want to have your photos in-camera to be as close as possible to what your aesthetic and branding is. A great way to keep consistency is to watch out for time of day and the types of light affecting your photo. For example, if you prefer images to be cooler in tone, try to avoid indoor lighting, direct sunlight, and golden hour. Following these simple steps will make the editing process a breeze. This step is probably the most challenging part, but with time, it will become second nature and easy to discern which lighting will work for you. Just remember to always shoot with your vision in mind.
Send out only your best work!
The next step is to rate your images or at least delete any of the images you absolutely do not want. This is a huge step that will save you a ton of time ciphering through your images on the computer. I usually delete images that I don’t want as I’m shooting, especially test shots. The more you erase off your camera, the less you have to upload and the smaller the download size. My Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a RATE button included on the body, that allows you to rate up to 5 stars per image. Other camera brands may offer different in-camera methods to review and categorize images, so be familiar with the choices your gear offers you.
As soon as you are done going through the images in-camera, they can quickly be imported into a program like Adobe’s Lightroom™ and filtered to only show the rated images. This saves you the trouble of having everything load onto your screen and figuring out which images to use; this part tends to take up a huge portion of my time if I don’t do it in-camera. There probably are other editing software applications that also have filtering capabilities, but Lightroom has been the easiest program for me to use.