Digital Photography workflow
(Above) Music & photography jamming at Casablanca Studio, Real St, Tacloban City, Dec 28, 2008
Many were either given gifts or gifted themselves with digital cameras this season and whether they are entry level or advanced Point ‘n Shoot (PnS) ones or the bigger DSLR’s, having a digital cam involves adopting a systematic approach on how you work on the photos taken. There are various technical steps involved; nevertheless, it’s important for one to follow a general workflow and to stick to it closely for uncluttered, direction-driven post-processing of the photos.
As my simple New Year’s present to those with new cameras (and to the photography newbies as well), let me share the general workflow I follow after I am done shooting photos (please note these are not hard & fast rules – one eventually develops his/her own way – think of it as a general guide):
1. Transfer Photos from Camera to Computer I move my photos to my Mac using Adobe Lightroom 2 and a card reader.
* When downloading my photos, the following tasks are also done: a) creation of new folder in the proper location in my photo library; b) renaming the photos; and c) adding keywords and tags for easier retrieval of files.
2. Selecting/Filtering & Discarding Rejects Once downloading is done, I use Lightroom’s flagging option to browse thru the photos, flag the rejects, rate some photos if needed, etc. Then I sort/filter and delete the rejects leaving behind the keepers and some other good ones.
* After deleting the rejects, I also do file renaming and adding/editing new keywords & tags to specific photos, if needed.
3. Back ups Optional at this point (may be done later after editing although not advisable): I do my back-ups by copying these files to an external hard disk using simple copy-paste (in Mac) or using SyncBack (in Windows).
4. Photo Editing Although Lightroom has its own editing tools, I have not had the time to study and use them as I am more comfortable using Photoshop CS3. Directly from Lightroom, I right-click on a particular photo I want to work on, then choose Edit Original in Photoshop. This opens up Photoshop and I start actual editing.
a) Cropping – If necessary, I first crop the photo to my desired size and composition before doing any adjustments.
b) Levels adjustments – here is where I do the initial color & white balance corrections, contrasts, saturation, etc.
c) Main editing tasks – I then do the main editing tasks of removing unwanted sensor/lens dirt spots, distractions, blemishes, etc. Other edits & adjustments depend on what the image needs and what I wish to achieve with the photograph. This could include saturation adjustments, dodging and burning, cloning and healing.
d) Noise removal & other Photoshop plug-ins – it’s at this point where I run Photoshop plug-ins I want for the specific photo being edited.
e) Sharpening – as a final editing task, I sharpen using the Unsharp Mask tool.
d) Bordering & watermark – I then apply my borders & watermark, if needed, using prerecorded actions in Photoshop.
e) Saving – I don’t hit Save it, though, to protect the original file; I use either “Save as” (for high resolution photos) or “Save for web” (for web posting & email.)
* So that the newly-edited photo files are brought back into the Lightroom library, I save the edited photos to a “Watched” folder one can create beforehand in Lightroom – these photos are automatically imported to a folder (mine is called “Auto-imported” folder) inside Lightroom. I then move these auto-imported photos to either an “edits” or “web” sub-folder I create inside the mother folder where the original photos reside.
5. Post/Burn Depending on my project objectives, I either burn to CD/DVD, copy to a USB flashdrive, post photos in the web, email them or I create a webgallery/slideshow (again, using Lightroom) for web posting.
6. Sync Back-ups Since new files are created after editing, I synchronize my back-ups using SyncBack.
I hope this helps. Happy New Year everyone!!!