Photographic Workflow ? Part 1
What is the best workflow for photographers? I don’t know. Everyone is different and will have different needs. I have developed a workflow that works for me. First, the software that I use.
- Canon EOS Utility ? Import files
- RenameMaster – Freeware utility to rename files
- Holux Logger Utilitiy ? Import geodata
- Geosetter ? Match gps data with photos
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ? Catalog and basic edition, printing and posting
- Adobe Photoshop – Advanced editing
I’ll discuss each software as I go through my workflow. My first step is to take the photographs. Did I really need to say that? Without photos, everything else is unnecessary.
After returning from a shoot, I will import the photos into the computer. I can do that in one of two ways. I can connect the camera via a USB cable to the computer or insert the memory card into the card reader. When I started, I used the USB cable. This works OK if I only have a few pictures. If I have a lot of shots, or they are on multiple memory cards, that is not efficient. Now I only use the card reader.
I will copy the pictures to a folder on my computer. This allow me to copy all the memory cards at once and do any additional processing later. Once the photos are on the computer, I will start the EOS utility. I could use Lightroom at this point but I have a folder structure that the EOS utility will automatically create that I have been unable to duplicate in Lightroom. I organize my photos by year. Within the year, a folder for each month and within that folder, one for each day. The EOS utility can automatically create that folder structure for me. Another thing the EOS utility does is rename the file to show my basic naming structure. You have the ability to customize the naming structure with the EOS utility as well as in Lightroom. The file will have a name in the format YYYY_MM_DD_XXXX. The year, month and day are from the EXIF data. XXXX is the image number created by the camera.
I initially had the EOS utility sequentially number the files but if I put the memory cards in the computer in a different order than taken, the sequence would match the order they were imported. I didn’t like this method.
Now that the photos are in the folders that they will live in, I will start Rename Master and append a subject to the end of the file name. This will be something like cub_scouts or Watauga_lake. Rename Master is a freeware utility to bulk rename files.
My next step is geocoding the photos. Geocoding allows me to attach latitude and longitude data to each photo. I can manually geocode the pictures but I usually use my GPS data logger. I will import the track data that was gathered while on the shoot using the utility supplied with the GPS.
Once the track log has been imported, I run Geosetter (http://geosetter.de) which is a freeware utility that will allow both manual geocoding or automatically geocode the pictures by reading the track log. I shoot mainly in camera raw so the GPS data is attached to a XMP sidecar file for each photo.
I am finally ready to import the photos into Lightroom. Lightroom is a photo cataloging program. It also allows basic editing, printing, slideshows, and creating web galleries. For more information about Lightroom, go to Adobe.com.
I will import the photos into Lightroom. During the import Lightroom import, copyright data will be added as well as basic tagging if all photos are the same subject. Once imported, I will do any additional tagging of the photos. This will include identifying subjects withing pictures. I will go through the photos and tag and if necessary, apply basic adjustment such as exposure and white balance. Photos that are obviously above average that I may want to do other things with will be starred. I will give them three stars to start with. Obvious rejects are also rejected.
I will now upload the photos to my Flickr account using a Lightroom plugin. I will leave the details of this for another post. I have now completed my basic workflow.
If I need to do additional processing of any photos, I will use the additional tools in Lightroom and if necessary, go to Photoshop. I can do 90-95% of what I need in Lightroom.
I will talk about the Lightroom of my workflow in part 2.