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Thread: Creating a workflow.

  1. #1
    Member Photon-hunter's Avatar
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    Creating a workflow.

    New toy, new ways...I want to try and develop a full workflow for my photography. Have never been a great RAW shooter, allways been reasonably pleased with the JPEG´s from my Canon 30D. Now my LX2 is going to force me to improve things a bit. I am most interested in other peoples workflow. I supose you could sub-divide workflow in a few categories:

    - If shooting RAW, a raw developer. Which are you using?

    - Noise: do you do the noise in the raw developer or do you believe you achieve better results with a separate "specific" tool?

    - Once the RAW"negative" is developed, you proceed to edit (curves, BW convertions, burning and dodging,etc..). Photoshop or any other alternatives?

    - And last but not less: Organizing and filing. What are you using? How do you keep record of your files, and if I may ask, how do you store them? How do you know what is where?

    I am running a Mac and I think I read somewhere that some people are using Iphoto (I haven´t even opened it since I purchased my puter) to classify and organize their "library". Is it a good tool or would you sugest an alternative? When it comes to organizing, I would like to use a tool that would allow me to see some kind of preview or thumbnail of the picture even when the files are "offline" in DVD´s or external drives, and that would allow me to search by tags or keywords.

    Thanks for taking your time to comment.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Re: Creating a workflow.

    Hi Erik,

    DNG but no Mac:

    - If shooting RAW, a raw developer. Which are you using?

    Lightroom 2 beta.

    - Noise: do you do the noise in the raw developer or do you believe you achieve better results with a separate "specific" tool?

    I usually leave luminance noise alone, and reduce chroma as needed. The NR implementation in LR2 is not as good as Noise Ninja, but it's alright for most low ISO GRD pictures. Unless really necessary - typically ISO 800 - I prefer to use LR's NR over NN simply becasue this allows me to capture sharpen the RAW instead of a TIFF. I've peeped and compared to the old golden standard of PK capture sharepning, and the results are brilliant; hence my preference in spite of the slight learning curve of LR sharpening compared to PK's.

    - Once the RAW"negative" is developed, you proceed to edit (curves, BW convertions, burning and dodging,etc..). Photoshop or any other alternatives?

    I do all that in LR2beta, although so far to a lesser extent with B&W conversion for which I still use Alien Skin Exposure 2. I'm working on getting it done in LR, but I'm afraid it will require untold trials and error on my part before I approach the ASE2 quality.


    - And last but not less: Organizing and filing. What are you using? How do you keep record of your files, and if I may ask, how do you store them? How do you know what is where?

    In a shoe box; what's everybody else doing? Well, joke aside, you'll find descriptions of some smooth methods of organizing in the image processing forum. I just haven't bothered setting anything up. "Some day, I'm gonna get organisized..."

    Thomas

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Creating a workflow.

    Import: Light room plus backup copy two ways, one organized by date, other by original sd/cf card when on the road. Original copy is kept on an external disk as well as a time machine backup. I try to never format a storage card until I am back home and have everything transfered to more permanent storage.

    geocoding: I stamp all my images with lat/lon and altitude using Houdahgeo and a tracklog from my gps This is dome by 1) lightroom write metadata to files, houdahgeo to geocode, then lightroom read metadata from files

    raw converter: Usually acr, but c1 for some shots of people and sometimes IR

    Noise reduction: Don't use it much if at all. I hate what it does to the micro contrast. If I need to I mask the noise in PS using a technique according to the image

    Sharpening: PS initial sharpening and local contrast enhancement, Later in PS local sharpening to highlight catch lights, jewelry and other sparkly things. Final sharpening after up rezzing to print size according to the image needs

    Local editing: PS all the way dodge and burn using quick masks and adjustment layers, vignette layer if desired
    Global editing: PS curves, Hue/saturation, final print curve to tone down gloss differential

    organization:Aside from filing everything under P for pictures, using lightroom, I have settled on a simple date scheme for the physical folders plus metadata tags for country, province, city, location, scene, lens (since Leica does not put the actual lens used in the metadata), GPS coordinates of the shot, and title. So far this works for me. Prints are kept in a sample box and a file box.
    -bob

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    Member Photon-hunter's Avatar
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    Re: Creating a workflow.

    Thanks for the replies!

    It seems there are as many different approaches to a workflow as there are photographers...

    Cheers!

  5. #5
    Caer
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    Re: Creating a workflow.

    Import
    For this stage I use the free version of cam2pc. I've got it set up to automatically rename the imported images using an 6-digit serial number, and with a prefix that depends on the camera the photo came from. For instance, files from my Pentax K10D are in the form K10_000001, and files from my GRD2 are in the form GRD_000002 (I'm actually up to 35,800 so far). This way, all my images have unique filenames, and I can tell at a glance which camera they were taken with.

    The folders the images go in to is determined by shooting date. For instance, a photo taken on the 5th of March, 2008, would go in C:\2008\03\05. After that's done I'll manually rename the folder to add keywords to the name. For example, 10 overspill gig josephs well leeds.

    Doing it this way means I can search for photos based on what they contain, roughly, and it's also fairly robust when it comes to backup. It's also because I don't have a program like Lightroom to manage a database (I just don't like the way Lightroom renders images). To be honest though, if you do like the way Lightroom renders, it's probably better to use that program's import and tagging functions. You also then have the advantage of more powerful filtering, such as viewing all photos taken at f/2 or 50mm, assuming your camera stores such data in EXIF.

    Processing
    SilkyPix is my main raw processor. I find it offers almost all the controls I could want, and image quality (the colours, in particular) are excellent. It has a 30-day trial if you want to give it a go. The interface is... well, a bit odd. Some people seem to get on great with it, while others can't stand it.

    Once you get your head around it, SilkyPix allows for quite an efficient processing workflow. You can build presets for any of the processing parameters (white balance, saturation, sharpening, even stuff like correction for barrel distortion and chromatic aberration) which you can then apply to a range of images at once. Over the time I've been using the program I've gradually narrowed in on a set of default parameters that are pretty close to what I usually want from a final image in many circumstances, so often I hardly have to change anything, just mark the image for batch processing.

    For many uses I find that the images from SilkyPix need no further adjustment, and are ready for resizing and upload to Flickr. If I'm going to be printing them though, they will need a bit of extra adjustment in Photoshop first (sharpening, mostly).

    For some uses, like portraits, I'll sometimes work on the images in Photoshop a bit to remove blemishes etc. I don't really like doing this, however, as it's awfully tedious work. It's one of the reasons I'll try to be ruthless when choosing which images are to be used as "final versions".

    As for web uploading etc., I use FastStone Resizer to add a watermark and shrink images down to a maximum of 1000x1000 pixels. After that I use Flickr's upload tool to send them to the internet.

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