I've made a couple of little changes to my photography workflow and thought I would share them with you. For those that don't know what a workflow is, it's simply a routine or series of actions that you carry out for capturing, copying and processing your photographs. Having a workflow that works for you can really help speed up your entire editing process, as well as ensuring that your prints are safeguarded for the future.
The major change I have made is to break the editing down into segments, as I've found that I rarely get enough time to do everything at once. So, instead of editing one image from start to finish, I do my edits in stages to a group of photos. (Did that make sense?!) So, I do one part of the editing workflow on all the photos in a session, stop, do something else like the laundry or make dinner, and then pick up at the second segment when I get another 30 minutes or so to myself and so on. This seems to make editing significantly easier and more streamlined.
So, here it is, my workflow from start to finish, and broken down into the parts I do it in....
1) Upload & Cull
Upload Photos Into Lightroom using Custom Name & Date.
Save into Monthly Folder
Convert to DNG on import
Cull Files and delete any unwanted photos from both Lightroom and Hard Drive.
2) RAW Edits
White Balance, Exposure, Contrast, Noise Reduction & Sharpening in Lightroom (Syncing if applicable)
Export as PSD's, in 8-bit sRGB into seperate folder.
3) Photoshop Edits
Open PSD's in Photoshop (or have LR open when exporting)
Correct localised colour issues, skin colour correction, cloning, re-touching & any artistic edits
Save as unflattened PSD's
4) Convert to JPG's
Apply Sharpening for output if necessary
Save as Qual 12 JPEG
5) Convert to PNG's (If required for blog)
Resize and Sharpen for Web
Save as a low quality PNG
Upload final JPEG's to SmugMug
Back-up Originals and PSD's to external hard-drive
I'm still in the process of trying to decide whether to keep the JPEG's on my external hard drive too, or whether just to save the PSD's only. The other option is to just save the JPEG's and not the PSD's once I am sure that I am happy with my edits. Jury's still out on that one.
Please note that I won't do all of these to all images, if it is just snaps that is unlikely to make it on the wall or even into a photo book, then I'll just do the RAW edits then export them as JPEG's from Lightroom, which is much quicker and easier.
I also use actions, batching and scripts in Photoshop to automate some of the work - if anyone is interested I'll go over what all these do in a separate post.
I may well change again in a year or so (I'm always looking for ways to cut down on editing time!) but this seems to be working fine for now!
Hope some of you find this useful!