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Workflow advice/suggestions for someone who's got only experience with Photoshop

VTech

New member
Hi all,

I need some workflow advice and or suggestions.
I'm an early Photoshop user, and never used anything else (no lightroom).
There's a bit of rambling in there, I tried to keep it short and highlighted the important parts.


My current workflow consists of the following.

1. Copy files from card to computer or external workdrive (+ double back up drives)
2. Finder folder structure
3. Preview photos and write down the filenames of my selection. Sometimes I tag my selection in a color afterwards (in finder)
4. Open photo in photoshop. Starting with one of my presets or a custom base in Adobe Camera Raw. (A big part, sometimes the whole grade, is done in the Adobe Camera Raw section)
5. Further adjust in photoshop with adjustment layers (not always), make an export of the uncleaned version in jpeg
6. Clean if necessary and sometimes more adjustments
7. Make export of cleaned version in jpeg and export jpeg(s) of crop(s) in certain aspect ratio

Why don't I use lighroom?
What I find hard to grasp is the library system. I tried a few versions years ago and didn't understand it at all.
It made a copy of my photo's doubling the amount of space it took, also I think the files were not easily accessible through finder on mac os.
Now that I use a Fuji often, lightroom would not be the best program to use. (I saw a big difference on youtube between Lightroom and Capture one.)

Why I'm looking for a different workflow?
I use a Fuji camera often recently (for about a year), and finally found out it was adobe that produced these funky looking results.

I also want to speed up my workflow, spend less time on the computer...
It's the part that I don't like doing, but spend the most time on.

Type of photography I do.
Product & food photography both in studio and on location
Portrait work mostly music orientated, sometimes fashion
Also documentary and commercial documentary

A big part is professional, however up until now small scale. (for if you were wondering how I get away with not shooting tethered)
I do want to up the scale though, and I can see shooting tethered has a lot of advantages.

Altough I always did a bit of both film and photography, my background is most in film.
With that being said, I rarely edit, but have used Davinci Resolve a couple of times recently.
I'm amazed at how good it has become. It's really an all in one solution.
So if there is anything like Davinci Resolve but orientated towards photography, let me know!

The options that I came across browsing the web.
Lightroom, Capture One, Affinity, Phocus, Darktable, Photoshop


What I'm currently thinking of doing.

Capture One Express in combination with Photoshop (open Fuji in Capture One Express, further adjust in Photoshop) = probably just as slow?

OR

Capture One Pro



Of course I need to try out things.
But maybe you have better suggestions?

Questions around Capture One
Is the file management the same like in Lightroom? Will it copy my files, doubling the amount of space needed?
Can you easily use an external work drive? Will it act funky if you have one of your external workdrives unplugged and want to work on files from your local drive or different external work drive?
In photoshop I use adjustment layers often with masks and using the opacity of the adjustment layer quite a lot. I also often clean photo's using one of the cleaning tools and the mixer brush.
Removing small objects or extending backgrounds is also a thing that I sometimes have to do.
Will Capture One Pro be sufficient for all of this? Or 90% of this?

Questions around Affinity
How is Affinity from a professionals perspective? What software did you use before? Do you use it for cleaning etc?

Comment on Darktable
Darktable seems not very polished. It's probably very capable but seems more for programmers. It looks like you don't have to import files, and rather just point to them where they are located. I like that, but maybe it's because I haven't used a good library yet.

Comment on Phocus
Phocus seems nice, but is only for Hasselblad files and camera.
 

pegelli

Well-known member
Why don't I use lighroom?
What I find hard to grasp is the library system. I tried a few versions years ago and didn't understand it at all.
It made a copy of my photo's doubling the amount of space it took, also I think the files were not easily accessible through finder on mac os.
Now that I use a Fuji often, lightroom would not be the best program to use. (I saw a big difference on youtube between Lightroom and Capture one.)
The Lightroom catalog is not that different from C1, and you clearly did something wrong when importing from your hard drive to Lightroom, you can import straight from your folder into Lightroom (or C1) without copying/doubling your files. Also since the originals stay in the same place they're just as easy to find as before their import to LR/C1. In the latest versions of Lightroom you can even keep working on previously imported files that are stored on an external harddrive, even whan that hard drive is disconnected. I don't know if C1 has the same possibility. When the hard drive is reconnected all settings are automatically synchronised.

The big difference between Lightroom/C1 and Photoshop is that LR/C1 is not a pixel editor but a command editor. LR/C1 store all the settings you change in a photo (all the slider settings and other adjustments) without touching the original. So to see an edited version of your file you first need to export it from LR/C1 (as tifff, jpg or other format) since before that there is no separate file with all the changes you made. Only the original file and a set of commands from LR/C1.

So the best advice I can give you is read the manual and study the import process (eg. watch some good youtubes on the subject) of whichever you are going to use since without that you might very well step into the same trap as you did in Lightroom in the past which created your aversion. Also understnding how LR/C1 is fundamentally different from Photoshop is important to work out your optimum workflow.
 
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archiM44

Member
Here you can find a wealth of information without having to have an account
Amongst all the Webinars and tutorials available here are two, one about sessions and the other about catalogs which have many answers to your questions.
At the above website the are webinars which are long but also short tutorials which often answer a question rapidly and to the point.
With reference to your questions about Capture One Pro
Is the file management the same like in Lightroom? Will it copy my files, doubling the amount of space needed? It only copies the file when you ask it to edit or open in an other application such as Photoshop etc as it then sends a Tiff and not the RAW file for editing.
Can you easily use an external work drive? Will it act funky if you have one of your external workdrives unplugged and want to work on files from your local drive or different external work drive? Yes. All my images reside on an external Hard drive and structured by Main Subject/sub subjects and each of these by date. Total images about 50.000.
both Capture One Catalog and Lightroom catalogs have and use this and respect the structure. I can export a RAF In the format I want(jpeg or tiff or whatever with the desired profile} from Capture one to any folder on the external drive, then synchronize that folder in the LR catalog and import the image as corrected in Capture one looking exactly as in Capture One.
In photoshop I use adjustment layers often with masks and using the opacity of the adjustment layer quite a lot. I also often clean photo's using one of the cleaning tools and the mixer brush.
Removing small objects or extending backgrounds is also a thing that I sometimes have to do.
Will Capture One Pro be sufficient for all of this? Or 90% of this?
In Capture One different layers are available including Heal Layers, Cloning Layers, different sorts of masking laters and so on. If I ever encounter something I can't do in Capture One I can send it for editing in Photoshop.
A free trial of Capture One Pro is always available.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
The Lightroom catalog is not that different from C1, and you clearly did something wrong when importing from your hard drive to Lightroom, you can import straight from your folder into Lightroom (or C1) without copying/doubling your files. Also since the originals stay in the same place they're just as easy to find as before their import to LR/C1. In the latest versions of Lightroom you can even keep working on previously imported files that are stored on an external harddrive, even whan that hard drive is disconnected. I don't know if C1 has the same possibility. When the hard drive is reconnected all settings are automatically synchronised.

The big difference between Lightroom/C1 and Photoshop is that LR/C1 is not a pixel editor but a command editor. LR/C1 store all the settings you change in a photo (all the slider settings and other adjustments) without touching the original. So to see an edited version of your file you first need to export it from LR/C1 (as tifff, jpg or other format) since before that there is no separate file with all the changes you made. Only the original file and a set of commands from LR/C1.

So the best advice I can give you is read the manual and study the import process (eg. watch some good youtubes on the subject) of whichever you are going to use since without that you might very well step into the same trap as you did in Lightroom in the past which created your aversion. Also understnding how LR/C1 is fundamentally different from Photoshop is important to work out your optimum workflow.
PS can be used non-destructively simply by duplicating the base layer. Its only use of pixels is in the masking, which is the same with LR. That being said, it is a VERY different program with next to no DAM.

But for Content Aware FIll, nothing (that I'm aware of) comes close to PS.
 

pegelli

Well-known member
PS can be used non-destructively simply by duplicating the base layer. Its only use of pixels is in the masking, which is the same with LR. That being said, it is a VERY different program with next to no DAM.
I fully agree that PS can be used non-destructively (with the emphasis on 'can') but you have to keep all the layers which is blowing up your file size and the OP was already worried about doubling the space he needed because somehow he used an 'unwanted/unneeded' import setting in LR that made copies of all the files he imported. Only duplicating the base layer roughly doubles the file size and that's before adding any more layers that might be needed for editing. Storing the commands from LR or C1 takes up much less space (in the sidecars and/or catalog files) but indeed you can't do everything in there, so at some point you might still need to do the final touches in Photoshop, with content aware fill just being one of the very many things people might need from there
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I fully agree that PS can be used non-destructively (with the emphasis on 'can') but you have to keep all the layers which is blowing up your file size and the OP was already worried about doubling the space he needed because somehow he used an 'unwanted/unneeded' import setting in LR that made copies of all the files he imported. Only duplicating the base layer roughly doubles the file size and that's before adding any more layers that might be needed for editing. Storing the commands from LR or C1 takes up much less space (in the sidecars and/or catalog files) but indeed you can't do everything in there, so at some point you might still need to do the final touches in Photoshop, with content aware fill just being one of the very many things people might need from there
I'm splitting hairs here, but there's filling up your drive with large files and filling up your drive with duplicate files. The former just needs a larger drive. The latter is a nightmare. Note: I am NOT advocating PS as a major workflow center. Even the hardest core PS users I know are using LR for basic file management and I/O.
 

VTech

New member
Hi all,

thanks for the replies!
I'm testing out Capture One Pro at the moment.

I wasn't saying that PS is the same as Lightroom or Capture One.
Otherwise I wouldn't have started this topic. (But since a program like Davinci Resolve exists, it's not crazy to think an all in one solution exists)

What I did wonder however if Capture One would be able to replace it for my needs. Or do 90% of the things I do in PS.
As up until now, I only used photoshop.

I also came across DxO PhotoLab.
Anybody who has tried DxO PhotoLab and/or Affinity? Anybody who uses one of those professionally? How does it compare to the other programs?
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Affinity Photo is a simpler version of Photoshop with different command/control choices. It's a pixel editor, just like PS. I have it, don't use it much. If you like using PS, you should fine Affinity Photo much the same.

99% of my editing is done in Lightroom Classic nowadays. LR is a parametric editor ... once your image files are in place where you want them on your disk, it treats them as read-only and does not change them, or grow them. They are loaded into the LR catalog file by reference ... meaning that the file system address of the file is loaded, not the image data itself. The space it needs to store your edits is not in the image files, it's in the catalog, the preview, and the smart preview files that are all stored in the same folder (directory) as the catalog you're using. These do take up some space, although my experience with using LR is that the space they consume is vastly less than the multiple duplicate copies of original image files I was creating in my PS days in order to have a reversible image processing workflow.

My typical workflow, using a digital camera, is:

- Load files from SD card onto computer via Lightroom Classic. The files go into a date-organized file directory structure on my Working external drive. I add basic annotation (location, keywords, etc) at the same time.
- Once that's done is a good time to quit Lightroom and do a backup to my archives. Then...
- Review and select images to finish render. I use the flag markings to quickly isolate which ones I think are promising, and just narrow the view to only those flagged after one pass through.
- Do whatever editing/rendering is needed on each photo In that set.
- Do another review pass on the rendered images to rate them and decide which ones to export for use.
- Select and export all the finalized picks for the intended use.
- Quit Lightroom and run the backup again, to capture all the edited finished products into the backup as well.

Using a film camera requires the additional steps up front to capture the photos digitally (after processing the negatives...) before incorporating them into the workflow, it's not very different otherwise.

There's little mysterious about the Lightroom catalog and file handling. It's basically keeping track of what you've added to the system and what editing you've done: you shouldn't have to think about it much at all. Just remember that wherever you put the files on your system is where the originals are, and wherever you export the finished work to in the file system is where they are as well. You don't have to manually remember the file names or disk locations since the software does all that records keeping for you.

I've never gotten on with Capture 1 ... seems way too complicated to me ... but I've used a lot of other image processing software over the years successfully. LR seems quite a bit simpler than most of the others, and produces good quality results. The camera calibration files are not always perfect ... and you can create or obtain other calibration files, add them to the LR system, to change the imperfections of the standard ones to other imperfections you might prefer... :)

G
 

bab

Member
C1 SESSIONS is your immediate answer it will catalogue your shoots by the name of the shoot or the date. Also sessions are easily save as a whole on a particular hard drive.
From C1 after initial editing you can round-trip the image to and from PS it will then reside in the Sessions folder along with all your images from that shoot...couldn't be easier.
LR is fantastic now for editing of files that need masking, etc blown skies, subject selection, object selection, lifting shadows, selective color adjustments. It can come close to PS but if you can really use PS extensively then LR is just a appetizer.
PS strongly advise TK8 panels and Lumenzia to speed up your workflow.
good luck with what ever road you take most of us have traveled the same roads.
 
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