ASAP? I would prefer ALAP!

ASAP- As soon as possible
ALAP- As long as possible

Having worked in the photo industry for over 15 years I can see an increasing pressure on the speed at which jobs are supposed to be handled over to clients. When I was starting off we were still shooting film and often, to speed things up, developing it on our own Jobo ATLs.

We thought that it was really fast. We thought of it as ASAP. Shoot a few rolls of film, pop it into the processor and bang, it was ready for an edit and scanning. Since than digital crept in. At first slowly, with a laugh, as the resolution was so poor, yet steadily it overtook the market. Analog, is now a thing of the past, used by those of us who still love film and shoot it for fun, and those few pros who can afford to work ALAP, or at least sort off.

In one of his books I read, that Ansel Adams used to say- Photography is not about comfort; Few of us would be ready to go shooting with such a heavy load as he often carried on his back. Similarly we could say, that photography is not about speed or rushing. In the days when everything has to be ready ASAP we like to forget, that haste rarely goes in hand with quality.

I shoot pretty quick and yet like to take my time during post processing. It is usually hard for me to decide which final grade to pick. Lightroom, Capture One, DXO or what ever developer you use offer an amazing set of options which lets us go in so many directions. Many times when I have developed color styles for clients, we have discussed for long periods of time which grading is the best for a set of images, as each treatment changes, often drastically, the perception of an image. Understanding the photograph and it’s meaning  requires time. We need to come back to the image after a few hours, or days (not on commercial assignments of course) and then at last the truth about the image strikes us. So obvious that at first overlooked.

Your workflow is surely different, and you may be as quick as flash, but each of us at some point needs a bit more time to think things through and give a finishing touch. For that we need a moment. I believe that we should constantly educate clients about the importance of not rushing jobs and a reasonable deadline is necessary to deliver quality. How otherwise can we stop the trend of ever shorter turnaround times and meaningless images? Of course it is a global trend and we can’t stop it. Educating our own ecosystem of clients will surely help us though, in our own struggle with time.

Lets not rush. A great image it worth more than countless snapshots. The more often we will give our utmost attention and craft to our creations, the more often we will be hired for those jobs where time is not as important as quality. And so:

Instead of ASAP go ALAP!