I offered to help a friend put together a photo book of her recent vacation. Heck, I’ve done one so that makes me an expert, right? In order to make it go as efficiently as possible, I recommended that she decide what site she wanted to use and get the photos uploaded in advance. Or at least I thought that’s what I told her. What I actually wrote was – “I can’t remember if you’ve done photo books before, but the most time consuming step is uploading all of the photos you want to use, so you should try and do that as soon as possible. The website I used for the MIM book is http://www.adoramapix.com/products/books if you want to use that.”
After years of working in IT and needing to divine client requirements from completely ambiguous documentation, you’d think I would be better at giving very specific instructions, particularly to someone who is not necessarily a computer whiz. But, no. When we got together to start on the project and I asked if she had uploaded her photos, she cheerfully replied yes. From her camera to her laptop. Okay, so this is going to take a little longer than planned. She had some trouble getting her Mac to power up (it’s a new machine and her first Mac, so perfectly understandable) which made us both a little nervous since she had not had time to back up the photos to another location. Fortunately the machine came to life after a few tries, so the first order of business was to create a full back-up in case we had any other issues.
After we had a full set on a thumb drive, we went through the process of viewing all of the photos and selecting the ones to use for the book. There were a little over 1000 images. Now, that’s not a lot for me, as I’ve been known to shoot over 500 in one day of a vacation, but it is a lot for a typical vacationer. She was a fast decision maker so we quickly breezed through all of them and narrowed it down to 120, copying the keepers to my PC for tweaking. At this point I quit kicking myself about my lame instructions, since we ended up making changes to the majority of the photos. So uploading to a website in advance wouldn’t have saved any time. She has a really good eye for composition, so there was a lot a great material to work with.
Unfortunately, we blew my 2-3 hour time estimate out of the water. It didn’t help that I neglected to bring a mouse and had to work with Photoshop exclusively through my laptop’s touch pad, which is clumsy at best. After nearly 5 hours of working together, we called it quits with about half of the photos completed. And of course we still need to actually upload them and create the book. We’ve probably got an additional 2-3 hours to go before we get to the finished product.
Of course, I have all of the photos on my laptop and in theory I could finish the whole thing on my own much more quickly, which would quiet my project manager anxiety about half finished projects. But it’s her book, not mine and I want it to speak with her voice. Plus it was really fun working together and I think the end result will be much better as a collaborative effort.
So I’m telling my inner bossy girl to shut up now.
This photo is from my last trip to Europe – a long weekend in Amsterdam. It was very gray and overcast, so it seems to work better in black and white than the original color.