In this article I will share some of my tips for post-processing your images on the road or while traveling. That way you can share images and keep up on social media. Let’s see why that’s important.
Social media pressures
Much can be said about social media and its influence on photography. But the hard truth is that for many of us we live under a constant pressure to regularly release new content on various platforms, such as Instagram. Studies show that posting an average of one image per day is what will result in the highest engagement amongst current (and new) followers.
One can say that social media has become just as much about documenting as about presenting your finest work. But still, you do want to maintain a certain quality of your images.
In this article, I’ll share several tips on how you can keep up with the pressure of posting new content while being on the road and how you can make sure that the images you post during that period are still of a quality that reflects positively on your overall gallery.
Why Post on the Road
Before we get into the tips on how you can process your images on the road, let’s quickly look at why you want to keep posting new images when you’re traveling.
As I mentioned above, studies show that posting an average of one image per day is what will bring the highest engagement amongst current and new followers. If social media is a big part of your marketing strategy then you should attempt to maintain this average. Of course, there’s no big harm in missing a day or two every now and then but if you’re absent for a week, or even more, you quickly loose engagement with your followers.
Since most photographers follow a lot of people on social media (both friends and people who inspire them), it won’t take much to forget about you and your work, making it harder to regain their engagement on your images.
So, if you’re traveling for a week or longer, it’s a good idea to keep posting new content as often as you can in order not to lose too much engagement.
4 Tips for Post-Processing on the Road
The four tips I’ll be sharing will require that you have access to a laptop (or computer) with your preferred editing tool installed. Normally, when I travel I tend to always bring my laptop (except for shorter trips) so that I can quickly process some images on the road and document my current travels.
That being said, the images that I process on the road rarely become portfolio worthy shots and I will go back and reprocess them later on when I’m back at my desk and have access to the equipment I prefer working with.
#1 – Calibrate your Monitor
It’s most likely that your processing images on a laptop when you’re on the road. If you’re a serious photographer and you spend time fine tuning your images it’s also likely that at some point you’ve calibrated the monitor on which you’re working regularly. (If you haven’t calibrated your monitor before I strongly recommend investing in a tool such as Spyder 5 Elite and calibrating ASAP!)
However, it’s not only your main monitor that should be calibrated. If you spend time processing images on your laptop as well, it’s equally important that it is calibrated too. You don’t want to process an image and then later realize that the colors are all off, right?
#2 – Find the Time
Time is often limited when you’re on the road as most of the day is either spent traveling, exploring, scouting or photographing. Still, I recommend trying to find the time to process at least one image during the day. This could be while you’re having lunch at a cafeteria or even quickly before going to sleep.
When processing images on the road it’s not crucial to focus on the details. Instead, spend a few minutes in a software such as Adobe Lightroom and adjust the highlights, contrast, and white balance. Often, you don’t need to make big adjustments for an image to look okay.
If you’re pressured to upload images on the road (this could even due to a client request) it’s better to have something to put out, and then reprocess it when you’re back home.
#3 – Find Balanced Light
If you’re like me and would rather spend a night in a tent or campervan than a hotel, finding a place to process your images isn’t always the easiest. Most places outside are challenging due to harsh light reflecting on your laptop, making it difficult to properly see how the adjustments are applying on the image.
Try looking for a shadowy area to work in, or if you can’t find one, make your own. This may sound (and look) stupid but using a jacket or something similar to cover yourself and the laptop will make it easier to view the screen and see how you’re processing the image.
#4 – Use Presets
To be quite honest, presets are something I very rarely use. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used them more than a handful of times. However, I do see the value of them when you need to quickly get content out and you have a certain style to your images.
Presets are the quickest way to process your images and in many cases, they do a good job. Just make sure that the particular preset works well for the image you’re working on, and if needed, make some minor adjustments.
As I’ve mentioned several times in this article, and I want to end with saying, that processing on the road should only be done in order to continuously upload new content on social media either to document, engage or to satisfy a client. The images you sell or include in your portfolio should be reprocessed, as you’ll most likely notice a few errors when you return back home and have more than a few minutes to process the image.
Love it or hate it but this is the world that we (or at least many of us) live in today! How do you work on the road? Do you have any other post-processing tips for when you’re away from home? Please share in the comments below.