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Thread: Self-discipline to process your pictures?

  1. #1

    Self-discipline to process your pictures?

    Is it a question of self-discipline or better workflow to process all good pictures we have?

    Looking back to a time where I scanned film that question didn't come up.
    I scanned a few pictures from a film stripe, opened them immediately in photoshop elements, adjusted colors, contrast, applied sharpening and some other things and saved each picture as a large final 16-bit tif file.

    This was a natural and easy process because the scanned files needed some post processing to look good (1) and the immediate post processing satisfied my curiosity how the pictures from the film would look like at all (2).

    These days I have to deal with much more RAW files. I delete as much as possible (doublets, unsharp picture, bad pictures) but still have much more than scanned pictures left.

    Some motivation factors to produce 'final' tif pictures got lost because:
    (1) I watch the pictures with PSE 6.0 organizer slide show feature and they already look good (but not final quality)
    (2) I can see all the pictures (hundreds instead of 6 from the film stripe) immediately without processing RAW to tif.

    I pre-select certain pictures (give stars) and apply some RAW adjustments. I do this with PSE6.0 Adobe ACR and Capture One depending on the picture and strenghts and weaknesses of each software product.

    Three further issues appear:
    (3) I can't see RAW adjustments done with one software in the other software
    (4) Neither software is able to produce 'final' pictures. (note: ACR for PSE6.0 has a reduced feature set). I will have to go to PSE6.0 editing module for final adjustments.
    (5) I can't dismiss one of the two software products because C1 lacks of the slide show feature and can't process .jpg and .tif file formats. C1 is better for adjusting certain pictures and delivers better quality in some cases. In other cases I prefer ACR. The workflow to process many pictures is better with C1.

    The last step to produce final pictures looks like this:

    I'm confronted with a (pre-selected with stars; not done for the whole database of pictures, no tags) mixture of not adjusted or adjusted RAW pictures of C1 and ACR, have to decide where to start and with which software product.
    Then I process a few pictures from RAW to tif or jpg, open this file with PSE6.0 editing module, do post processing and save the final picture.

    What I have, don't have and would like to have:

    I have:
    A folder structure for RAW files and final old film tifs that is the same for both and looks like: country-year-places
    Approximately around 10,000 pictures.

    I don't have:
    A consistent folder structure for final pictures. It's a mixed structure for different subjects like landscapes, birds, plants... and pictures pocessed for prints or web.

    I would like to have:
    A folder structure for final edited pictures in tif format. A place where I see what I really have without feeling the need to look back to the broad amount of thousands of RAW files.
    A folder structure where I can save variants of files that I processed for printing or web (small jpgs).

    Do or did you have the same problems? What would be a good strategy to solve the issues?

  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Self-discipline to process your pictures?

    Well, I have a totally different strategy... In summary:

    1) Hard drive space is so cheap right now, I do not delete ANYTHING, even obvious screw ups as you never know when you might need a piece from one image to patch another. Also, raw converters keep improving, so files that were unusable just a few years ago can now be processed into very usable finals.

    2) I file all of my images by Year/Job or "Session"/Camera/ then Model, Product, Shoot or Day as appropriate.

    3) I place an "Output" folder inside each of the above Session folders for all processed images. (Actually C1 does this automatically for each "session" created. It also sets up a trash folder which is a place to move and store, but not permanently delete, your unwanted files.)

    4) I do NOT like LightRoom's cataloging function, so do not use it. My converter of preference now is C1, but there are many good choices out there and my advice is to choose the raw converter that best suits your needs.

    5) Finally, my image database is redundantly backed up.

    Hope this helps,

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  3. #3
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    jonoslack's Avatar
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    Re: Self-discipline to process your pictures?

    Quote Originally Posted by nautilus View Post
    Do or did you have the same problems? What would be a good strategy to solve the issues?
    No, I used to have them. Nowadays I use Aperture, I don't need an extra complex structure (only the RAW files are saved - output files go straight to their target audience). If I need to, I can shell out to PS or Nik software, but the resulting files are still automatically handled within Aperture. If I need a web page, then I can publish it immediately.

    Basically, I import files from the camera/card to a simple date based folder structure, then reference them in Aperture, and I never have to think about it again - no problems with concurrency, keywording in different versions or multiple files.

    Of course, Lightroom does the same job.

    If you're doing discreet and individual projects for clients, then using C1 or PS for processing to separate folders isn't so bad, but for someone doing continuing projects it's a complete PIB (in my very humble opinion of course).

    Just this guy you know

  4. #4

    Re: Self-discipline to process your pictures?

    Thanks to both of you for sharing your points of view.
    I think I'm stucked in details and make things too complicated and complex.

    Jack, I extract two changes from your advice that will simplify my picture management.

    The first is not to delete RAW files.
    Disk space has got cheap indeed and deleting files costs time and feels overall more negative than positive because there is always the risk to delete pictures that I could like later on.
    And most of all doesn't really help to reduce complexity.

    The second is not to build up a second tree for processed or output files. I can see some advantages to place the output folders closer to the original RAW folders.

    Jono, I understand so far that you are going one or two steps further with simplifying picture management by relying totally on Aperture. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that right now.
    I don't run an Apple system but only heared good things about Aperture regarding quality and it's user interface.

    I downloaded Lightroom for testing. Although using a 24' monitor 1900*1200 I have to scroll up and down and have to fold/unfold menues for using functions. C1 is much easier to use in this respect.
    Furthermore starting colors for pictures are sometimes worse than C1.

    I use PSE 6.0 organizer. In theory this software could be used similar to lightroom or aperture (keywording etc.). But the program's database isn't reliable. It often hangs up and Adobe doesn't provide solutions for the issues. Instead they just launch version 7 with some feature changes. Furthermore the database's capacity is not documented. I read on the web that at 10.000 pictures it's not realiable which is my own experience as well. I had to delete the catalogue and build up new once. Thank's god that I didn't use keywording.
    Lightroom is an Adobe consumer product as well. I don't rely on it as well.

    For these reasons I feel better to have my pictures organized in a folder structure that can be used independently of the software I use.

    But although having said that I can imagine the benfits you get from Aperture. And it seems to work.
    But for several reasons I don't want to switch to the Apple platform.

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