Posted by in Photo Editing

New and improved workflow

Well, I have been using a Mac now for a couple of years, and it true what they say “Once you go Mac you never go back.” During that time I have tried Aperture, Lightroom, Bridge, Capture NX, and iPhoto as a library tool for my photos.   They all have the strong and weak points.

  • Capture NX is wonderful at rendering my NEF files, but it not a library.
  • Bridge is no lightroom or Aperture.
  • iPhoto is a great program but lacking the tools I need.
  • Aperture is tool I am using I like the flow and the editing tools work quite well and as expected. The RAW file rendering is not up to par with Lightroom.
  • Lightroom has some great feature that tie in to photoshop. The RAW rendering is real close to what the camera gives me in JPG.  The interface seem a little clunky to me and the scrolling speed is not as fast as I like.

I have decided on Lightroom. It is the best compromise, and as we know photography is all about compromise. I will have more posts about Lightroom later, lets talk about workflow.

My workflow is not much different between Aperture or Lightroom, with that said you will be able to take from this and adopt to any library software.

  1. Take Pictures the best I can in RAW or JPG depending on the job. (more about this in a diffrent post, I need more topics you know)
  2. When you fill a card put the card in its holder face down, this tells me quickly which cards I have used in this session.  You did write your name and phone number on your memory cards right?
  3. Copy all the images from the card(s) to a folder on the desktop.  I use the desktop as a place to put files that I am working on, not a long term storage place.
  4. Put the card back in it holder label up.  I don’t format the card until I am ready to take new photos and I can tell by looking at the first image if I have its contents in Lightroom and on DVD.
  5. Import the images in to Lightroom from the desktop. My library is located on an external firewire drive.  Yes there is a difference between firewire and usb 2.0.  Use firewire its more better.
  6. Burn the unedited master files from the Desktop to a DVD.  This has saved my butt more than once.
  7. By the time the burn in done the previews are made in Lightroom and I am ready to get to work.
  8. Rate all the photos that are in focus as 3 stars. At this point I am not worried about anything else.
  9. Filter your rated files. Now you have a much smaller list to go thought if you shoot like me 🙂
  10. From there I go though the images again rating them higher or lower depending on my mood and the picture.  I save 5 stars for great photos that I then sync to my phone as my traveling portfolio.
  11. Start my developing of the 4 stars.
  12. If I have the time and the energy I try to make the 2 and 3 star files 4 stars.

OMG, 12 steps!!!!

Other tips.

  • Use the sync tool to copy adjustments to the photos that are similar.
  • Develop in Lightroom, and edit pixels in photoshop.
  • I do not delete anything, unless I am 100% sure that I can’t save the file.

Other tools I use on a day to day bases when editing my photos:

  • Photoshop, the bomb for editing files. You know you are getting better at photoshop when you stop noticing more tools.
  • Nik define, a very good noise reduction add-on for Photoshop.
  • Topaz adjust, I use that for skin softening.
  • PTlens, a tool for reducing the distortion in the lens in architecture shots, or to take that 10lbs the camera puts on.

Bill Debevc