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Thread: MFD Portrait Workflow

  1. #1
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    MFD Portrait Workflow

    My portrait studio business slows down a lot in the winter so I'll be re-visiting my mfd workflow. I doubt I can ever get my mfd workflow fast enough to use mfd more on seniors, but I certainly can make improvements on my families and break-downs of kids in the families.

    I know this is one of those topics that probably comes up once a year, but with changes in software and technology, it's worth looking at again. Phocus, Capture One, Lightroom, Photoshop, third party plug-ins, actions, etc. so there's a lot to consider.

    Any suggestions on how to organize workflow of portrait images in a studio are welcome, particularly for Hasselblad, but also for any other systems.

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    Member Stan Lawrence's Avatar
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Hi David.... I love the look of my hasselblad files in phocus, and I've just never gotten fast at processing there. I process jpgs in lightroom, show the clients, then process the tiff files to print from in phocus. I usually have 1-3 images to print from a session, so the time is pretty minimal. I'd love to do the whole thing in phocus, I'm just too slow.....

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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    My in-studio portrait workflow:

    Before Client Arrives
    - Open Capture One Pro; start a new session (e.g. "Miss U of M Headshots")
    - Tether a Phase One or Leaf Back to Capture One.
    - If it's a high-volume shoot without expectation of printing beyond 16x20 I'll select "Sensor+" which for an IQ180 is a 20mp raw file with base ISO of 200 (faster to shoot, faster strobe recycle, faster raw editing/processing). If it's a max-quality kind of shoot I'll leave camera at full resolution.
    - Turn on iPad and launch Capture Pilot. In Capture One I select to share "3+ star images" with the iPad.

    With Client There
    - Create a new Capture Folder (I have a keyboard shortcut for this) for the name of the set (e.g. "Jane Doe - Blue outfit")
    - While model changes I (or assistant) go through and rate the best images 3 stars.
    - At end of shoot I (or assistant) hand iPad with Capture Pilot to client and ask them to tag the images they like "green" (they just touch the green square).

    After Client Leaves: Editing
    - In Capture One I use a smart folder that shows all "Green Tagged & 3+ Stars" images.
    - I rate images I don't like anymore with 2 stars. They vanish from the smart folder.

    After Client Leaves: Adjusting/Retouching
    - I make all basic adjustments in Capture One including color, contrast, vignette, white balance, lens corrections, skin tone unification, and dust removal. Generally speaking if I crop at all at this stage I am very conservative.
    - I select all and process using my "8 bit TIFF, ProPhoto RGB, Open in PS" recipe which results in a TIFF file for each of the final-selected-raws in the "Output" folder of the session (thereby keeping them organized alongside the folders containing the raw files of that session), and opens them all in PS (I have lots of RAM)
    - For each image in PS: Duplicate the base layer, do basic retouching of blemishes/shininess/fly-aways. save-and-close images

    After Client Leaves: Delivery
    - Return to Capture One and view the Processed folder which now shows the retouched TIFFs.
    - I Crop the images. I do this at this stage since it's much easier to match up relative head-size and decide on aspect ratios in the browser/viewer in Capture One than as individual documents in Photoshop.
    - I Process simultaneously using my "Print - JPG, Max Quality, ProPhoto" and "Web - watermarked JPG, Med Quality, sRGB" (which reduces the image to fit a 800x600px vertical box and adds my logo as a watermark. These recipes are set to dump the resulting JPGs into subfolders called "Print" and "Web" in the session's "Process" folder (again, keeping them alongside the raws and full TIFFs).
    - I Upload the "print" images to my Zenfolio.com account.
    - I Upload the "web" images to my Website and/or Facebook and add a link to the Zenfolio page.
    - I email client(s) link to my Website or Facebook Album where they can virally share the images with friends/family and any of said people can click the link to Zenfolio to order prints without me having to do any further work.

    The second half of the workflow is the same for me for Weddings (the first half changes to importing CF cards on my own with a large cup of coffee in hand). For Fashion/Editorial/Fine-Art I have a recipe "Max Quality PS" (16 bit, ProPhoto, and sharpening disabled) and "Max Quality Print" (8 bit, gamut according to where I'm getting it printed) I use instead.

    If Capture One had a basic healing brush and skin-shine-reducing-tool (rather than it's basic one-spot-at-a-time tool and an FTP upload tool I could do 100% of the workflow (tether-editing-adjusting-processing-retouching-delivery) from within Capture One.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    If Capture One had a basic healing brush and skin-shine-reducing-tool (rather than it's basic one-spot-at-a-time tool and an FTP upload tool I could do 100% of the workflow (tether-editing-adjusting-processing-retouching-delivery) from within Capture One.


    Totally agree. But clone tool would also just put me over the top too.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    David, I shoot tethered for any studio project including portraits. I use a tripod mounted H camera most of the time, but also do some hand-held. I usually use the AC Grip so power is never an issue no matter how long I shoot.

    Hasselblad H Phocus workflow:

    Create H Scratchpad folder either on the desktop, or a separate fast hard-drive: Date and Family name

    Open Phocus. I have Phocus set to open the browser on one screen, and the full view on a second screen (click: Window> Scroll to > Viewer in Separate Window.) This allows me to glance over at the viewer screen while working from my shooting position, but the subject cannot see it.

    In the top menu of the Browser window Under preferences, I have "Always Save Adjustments" checked, and under adjustments I select "Portrait" (this is optional based on taste). Also, click the main menu and under View make sure "Show New Captures In Viewer" is checked.

    Select new folder as the capture destination, then tether camera to computer.

    Set lights, do a WB shot and tweak to taste.

    Set the subject and adjust the lighting, shoot a test shot and make any minor adjustments in Phocus ... if you check the little box after the tool name it will maintain those same corrections on subsequent shots. If needed, I use the color wheel and color isolator eyedropper to refine skin coloration exactly where I want it.

    Do a series of shots then break and review, often review with client. As soon as they "squeal with delight" I mark it 5 stars and any other possibles with 4 stars, and move to the next series, and repeat.

    When done, use the sort filter to show only the 4 and 5 star keepers and process to a final folder as ProRGB 16 bit tiffs.

    Load those selects to LR and make any final adjustments ... I have Photoshop CS5 and Nik Silver Efex as "Open Ins" for LR, so none of the work ever leaves the LR LIbrary for that job.

    If I am shooting to a CF card, I go directly to LR and uncheck all the junk, and work there since LR now has the 3fr True-Color profile and lens corrections.

    When shooting with the Leica S2, I tether straight to LR and use the star sort there.

    I'm sure I forgot something since I'm doing this from memory.

    -Marc

  6. #6
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Marc,

    Great stuff. Thanks.

    I have to think about teathering families. That makes a lot of sense. It's generally the mom who makes decisions so maybe showing her will help in selection, give her a feeling of involvment, et.. And it seems by making your adjustments in the camera room you can save a lot of time in post production.

    However, with seniors I have to get a lot done in 30mins or 60mins so rather work from cf card. I haven't done it yet, but think LR might be the best way to go.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    I don't shoot tethered for portrait sessions and my workflow remains the same whether I'm shooting MF digital with Phase DF and IQ180 or with my Canon DSLR. In a nutshell:

    Whi-bal WB frame shot before every session and every light/background change----in studio or on location. This makes post-processing easy. I may show a few images from the back of the camera to the client but that's it. It builds anticipation/emotion for the projection session. It also lets clients know that there is work that you do in the background to make things look good, and preserves the perception of value for the session fee. Set up projection session appointment after portrait session.

    Upload CF card into named session in C1 Pro 6. Process raws, thin out blinkers and obvious rejects, output with lower res projection recipe. Upload low res images into ProSelect. Further refine and thin out images. Prepare for projection session with client in studio. (Images at this point are still unretouched; the projection session is at a date separate than the portrait session).

    Projection session is in studio on a ten foot screen using ProSelect. This is the sales session where the client selects images to be retouched, sizes, frames, collections, books, etc. Client is invoiced. The projection session is one of the most important parts of the portrait process!!

    Return back to C1 Pro6. Only selected images are now output with high-resolution recipe. CS5 to retouch. Qimage to print. Mount, package, frame, stretch, finish, deliver!

    A little simplistic here, but that's it in a nutshell for me.

  8. #8
    Super Duper
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Marc,

    Great stuff. Thanks.

    I have to think about teathering families. That makes a lot of sense. It's generally the mom who makes decisions so maybe showing her will help in selection, give her a feeling of involvment, et.. And it seems by making your adjustments in the camera room you can save a lot of time in post production.

    However, with seniors I have to get a lot done in 30mins or 60mins so rather work from cf card. I haven't done it yet, but think LR might be the best way to go.
    Yep, when Mom oohs and ahhs, and you also like it, then it makes the post job a lot easier since you aren't prepping a ton of shots ... just the selects they already approved and want. Print sales skyrocketed after doing this ... they don't sit there agonizing over the bunch ... just what sized prints of the shots they already selected.

    After I know which images they prefer, then it is a snap to do some creative stuff to give them versions to select from ... that increased print sales also. With little kids, I do a quick series, but sometimes pick three and do a triptych pano which they usually love and buy a bigger print of ... like the one I attached ... (sappy, and not my usual work, but it pays the bills )

    I don't tether when I do environmental family shots ... but I shoot a lot of the environment which makes the subjects a bit small ... so they almost always order 16 X 20s of the whole shot (like the old school house shot for a teacher and her family attached below), and then some 8X10s of cropped in shots. The MFD files let you do that kind of severe crop and pull excellent prints out of it.

    However, I'd admit that I probably don't do nearly as many portrait assignments as you do ... mostly some head-shots like those attached below.

    Shooting seniors is a lot like shooting weddings ... so many images, so little time. I do all my wedding stuff in Lightroom because the tool selection is so extensive. I shoot MFD, 35mmDSLR and Leica M stuff, then dump all of it into one folder and import to LR using "sort by time shot" to keep it in order. Then I use the "by camera" and "by lens" exif sort selection in Library mode to batch process using lens profiles and presets to speed it all up.

    -Marc
    Last edited by fotografz; 9th December 2011 at 00:56.

  9. #9
    Milan1
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    - For each image in PS: Duplicate the base layer, do basic retouching of blemishes/shininess/fly-aways. save-and-close images
    Did you know you can also just create a new empty layer and then set your clone/healing brush to Sample: current and below. Will save you alot of HD space

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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by Milan1 View Post
    Did you know you can also just create a new empty layer and then set your clone/healing brush to Sample: current and below. Will save you alot of HD space
    Only if you don't have to save into compatibility mode (e.g. to view in programs like C1 that don't support composite view of layered non-compatibility-mode tiffs) because your top layer is not a complete version of the image.

  11. #11
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Yep, when Mom oohs and ahhs, and you also like it, then it makes the post job a lot easier since you aren't prepping a ton of shots ... just the selects they already approved and want. Print sales skyrocketed after doing this ... they don't sit there agonizing over the bunch ... just what sized prints of the shots they already selected.

    Shooting seniors is a lot like shooting weddings ... so many images, so little time. I do all my wedding stuff in Lightroom because the tool selection is so extensive. I shoot MFD, 35mmDSLR and Leica M stuff, then dump all of it into one folder and import to LR using "sort by time shot" to keep it in order. Then I use the "by camera" and "by lens" exif sort selection in Library mode to batch process using lens profiles and presets to speed it all up.

    -Marc
    Marc,

    I am always making adjustments to my general senior workflow, sometimes a little at a time, over the course of a few years now. Next senior season, I'm going to limit the number of sessions per day to just 4, even if they all turn out to be 30min sessions (unlikely they all would be). Don't think I need to do 7 sessions a day, then have the next month with 2 a day. That will give me more time to see about tethering with mfd or even going wireless with dslr or working the images more between session myself so my retoucher isn't looking at the whole set of images when she starts.

    Another complication is I always have seniors select their yearbook pose (tux/drape kind of stuff, but a big deal in my area) before they leave the studio at time of session on 67" tv with side by side comparisons. That way we aren't chasing people down, know if there's a re-take needed (less than 1%), bad hair day, time concerns. Takes 10-15 mins of my time or salesperson/retoucher's time. If I have a session to do, she does it.

    I have tried to mix mfd and dslr in winter senior "model" sessions with images used for marketing and creating buzz with juniors in the winter. At the time I tried it, seems kind of time consuming. Just purchased a used RPG full set plus a second X-Key so maybe that can knock off time so that using mfd or combination of mfd and dslr could work. (And want to see if I can get the onOne Suite to perform; haven't installed it yet. Looks good though.) I might try it again starting next month and see if I can make it work better.

  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    I'll chime in and just say that even though C1's Raw converter is superior in many ways to LR... for higher-volume work with people, LR works incredibly well IMO. I still use as my main go-to. There is a perception with some here that if you aren't using the dedicated RAW converter for your back that your investment wasn't worth it, but I'm finding the latest iteration of LR/CameraRaw is pretty damned good with my Aptus files. There are things left over from when I shot weddings (and used to do same-day slideshows at receptions) that I find in LR that make it very handy for an efficient portrait workflow.

    I still use C1 or LC11 for landscape work due to the (as I always say) "special sauce" they have for extracting detail... but for faces/portraits.... shooting tethered via Leaf Capture and having lightroom watch a the output folder as hot folder (and importing automatically) is pretty sweet. Tons of detail, good color, and an all-in-one editor (lightroom) for a fast portrait workflow.

    Serious retouching is done later in PS.

    I still have the problem, (yes) using lightroom, of "too much detail" sometimes when using MF for portraits.

    Don't discount Lightroom... with careful setup, it can do great things with these MF files. I've actually found that lens selection (with MF) has a greater effect on my post-processing time as some of them are just too damned contrasty and detailed, lol... regardless of RAW converter.

    So... to recap. If not shooting to card, I tether via leaf capture for my aptus and have it dump the files to a "watched" folder that Lightroom then auto-imports. Files are viewable very quickly. I then continue all my initial adjustments for slideshows and galleries in LR only leaving it (for PS) to retouch as needed for final prints/files. Simple retouching is still inside LR. If I shoot MF to card, then I let leaf Raw Converter pull the the files off the card and spit them out (lightroom ready) to a specific hard-drive location and then import into LR to do the work described above.

  13. #13
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    Re: MFD Portrait Workflow

    Yep.. C1 soooooo can use shine fixing tool.. They do have skin tones , and you would think its just one step forward.. well.. We shall see

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