Sunday, May 26, 2013

Facebook photos and high school algebra

When I get around to uploading phone camera photos to Facebook, I start off by looking at the twenty or so photos I've taken since last time, and end up actually uploading a fairly small fraction (perhaps a quarter?) of them. Somewhere in between that, I need to spend some time in Photoshop (i.e. the just-as-good open-source program, GIMP) compensating for how terrible all my phone's photos look.

Let \(N\) be the original number of photos, and \(M\) be the number of photos worth keeping.

My old Facebook photo uploading workflow:

  • Hand-pick the photos that will probably look nice after touching up. (Estimated time: \(0.1N\) minutes.)
  • For each photo I want to use, open it in GIMP (i.e. Photoshop but free). Auto-correct the colour in GIMP. Play around with contrast, saturation and cropping settings in GIMP. (Estimated time: \(2.5M\) minutes.)
  • Upload those photos to Facebook. (Estimated time: \(0.1M\) minutes.)
  • Add captions, dates, tags, etc. (Estimated time: \(0.5M\) minutes.)

Estimated total time: \(0.1N + 3.1M\) minutes.

E.g. typical upload spree (20 original photos, 6 actually uploaded): 20 minutes.

My new Facebook photo uploading workflow:

  • Upload all the photos to a private Google+ album. (Estimated time: \(0.1N\) minutes.)
  • Hand-pick the photos that look nice after Google+ applied Auto Enhance to them. Download them back to my computer. (Estimated time: \(0.3N\) minutes.)
  • Upload those photos to Facebook. (Estimated time: \(0.1M\) minutes.)
  • Add captions, dates, tags, etc. (Estimated time: \(0.5M\) minutes.)

Estimated total time: \(0.4N + 0.6M\) minutes.

E.g. typical upload spree (20 original photos, 6 actually uploaded): 12 minutes.

Discussion

Rough analysis suggests that the new method saves time when: $$ \begin{align} 0.1N + 3.1M &> 0.4N + 0.6M \\ \Leftrightarrow 2.5M &> 0.3N \\ \Leftrightarrow M &> 0.12N \end{align} $$

So if I have twenty photos and only one of them is any good, I'd be better off doing the GIMP method than wasting all my time going through Google+.

Further research

  • How much time will it save once I set up my phone to sync my photos with Google+?
  • If/when Facebook rolls out photo enhancement technology, how much time will I save directly uploading to them?
  • Is \(M\) independent of the method I use? E.g. am I subconsciously happier to select more photos using the "new method" because I know it'll take less time-per-photo-used?

#science