Thursday, October 1, 2009

so, how's your workflow?

One of my favorite stores on the planet is The Container Store. I could spend all day in there, scoping out the various products to organize my entire life. If money were no object (and time were plentiful, for that matter) my house would be completely decked out with The Container Store's finest. I would have no clutter. And a live in maid. And a chef....Alright, enough with the daydreaming, back to the topic at hand - digital workflow.

I know, this is not the most sexy of topics. But for anyone out there that has taken a gazillion shots of their kids, or can't figure out where the original digital file is after they edit a photo, good workflow is crucial. So get your cup of coffee and settle in.

I wish I could give you a simple plan for how to improve your workflow, but from reading several posts about it on the web, that just isn't possible. Truth is, digital workflow is very personal - you need to find a way to sort, organize, and edit your photos that works for YOU.

I figured this out very quickly after I shot my first wedding - I had over 2200 images to edit - 2200 after I deleted the shots that were clearly not going to make the cut (out of focus, way under/over exposed, etc.) I am always looking for suggestions via articles and podcasts on how to improve my workflow so I don't spend needless hours organizing and editing - time I could be spending marketing my business or meeting up with more clients.

So where to begin? Here are some articles that provide suggestions:

Digital Photography School - simple Lightroom image fixing workflow

DPhoto Journal - 7 essential steps to digital workflow

Ken Rockwell - my workflow

And, for anyone who's interested, here is my current digital workflow - a work in progress, mind you:

1) download images onto external hard drive - images are saved in subfolders by date and name/activity. I have my personal photos separated from my client photos, and my client photos are all named with the date first, for easy sorting.

2) open all images in Preview (I'm on a Mac) and delete any obviously BAD photos (this to preserve space on my hard drive).

3) import all keepers into Aperture for further editing.

4) for any shoot I try to keep my edits similar for each set - so if I adjust the white balance or the levels on one photo, chances are I will change for the entire set in that series.

5) after I do a basic edit of my photos, I will go back and play with my Nik software (like Photoshop) to add effects - more vintage looks, black and white, boost color, etc. I admit I like to play with the effects, but in the end my aesthetic is pretty clean - not a lot of editing for me.

6) export the final edited images back to my external hard drive, so I have a final copy of the images I post online for my clients to proof/order.

And there you have it - Anyone still awake??? If you have a question or a workflow tip for readers, leave a comment.


Melissa October 4, 2009 at 8:30 PM  

It never ceases to amaze me how many different possible ways there are to do this. I love reading about digital workflow from an individual standpoint because it's always different. You never know when you'll read something that makes you go "a ha, now that makes sense!" Thanks for sharing : )