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Image Processing and Workflow RAW, DNG , TIFF and JPG. From Capture to Ready for Publish/Display. All software and techniques used within an image workflow, (except extensive retouching and repair or DAM).

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Old October 6th, 2008, 12:25 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,961
Default What's your DAM workflow?

Hi All,

With the approaching fall and here in the Northern Hemisphere, we shall again be spending lots of quality time with our computers ;-). In order to make productive use of this period, I have started re-evaluating my DAM workflow. Currently, it is a derivative of the DAM workflow of Peter Krogh with a lot of shortcuts and deviations from the "standard". In order to get my bearings right, I have re-read the DAM Book and also read all there is to read on the net. Now I am trying to digest all that info and see if I can establish a longer term workflow which will work for me. I'll provide feedback here as soon as I reach some conclusions.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate it a lot if you could also tell us about your own workflow. I am really looking forward to learning from you and hopefully also helping others to learn something from us in the process :-)

Kind Regards, Cem

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Old October 6th, 2008, 01:33 PM
Andrew Stannard Andrew Stannard is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lancashire, UK
Posts: 376

Hi Cem,

My own workflow is based around Lightroom, and goes something like the following....

1. Import
I import images from a card reader from within Lightroom. At the time of import they get sorted into folder by date and get some basic global metadata added (my name, copyright etc). If there are any keywords that apply to all the images I'm importing I'll add those as well. They also get automatically renamed to my own number system.

2. Quick Cull
Go through the photos and reject any properly bad images, that I know I'll never use.

3. Backup
At this stage I'll backup the images I'm keeping onto USB HardDrive (though I tend to leave the images on the compact flash until next time I shoot)

4. Basic Edits and Meta Data
I'll now go through the images in turn, applying metadata/keywords and performing a basic edit (exposure corrections, crop, tone etc). At the same time I mark any images worth further work (picks).

5. Move images into new folders
As landscapes are my primary focus I then move images into folders sorted by geographic location (e.g. /Europe/UK/Lancashire/). I just prefer it this way, and with Lightroom I can easily filter by keyword, date etc if I need to.

6. Advanced Edit
Next I'll go through the picks and do a thorough edit (local corrections, careful tone adjustments, maybe b/w, etc). This may involve a round trip into photoshop, and I may 'develop' more than one version from the RAW. At this stage I'll also tend to mark any images destined for my website (using color flags in Lightroom)

7. Backup
I'll then backup my photos and also the Lightroom database

8. Use the images!
If I need images for a particular use I'll just export them from Lightroom. I don't tend to keep these exports long term, as I know I can just regenerate them if need be - which is something I really like about the Lightroom workflow. Guess the same would apply to Aperture, but I'm on PC. Now that Lightroom has got decent output sharpening for print and screen I'm happy enough with the results.

Other General Info
Website updates are done via Lightroom exports together with Photoshop Droplets to add a basic frame and copyright info. My galleries are database driven (mySQL), so I've then got a PHP script that reads in the uploaded images and updates the gallery database - pulling image details from the embedded meta data. In the next couple of months this will also be pulling pricing info to generate paypal buttons on the site.

I keep all my images in a single Lightroom catalog, haven't yet run into any performace issues, but then it's a reasonably decent machine.

I'll tend to use Lightroom collections for groups of images that I may want to return to (e.g website images, family pics).

I'm sure there are flaws with this workflow somewhere, but it works well for me at the moment and I figure I'll just adapt if/when I need to. Feel free to ask for more detail if you wish.

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Last edited by Andrew Stannard; October 6th, 2008 at 02:07 PM.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Kathy Rappaport Kathy Rappaport is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: So. California
Posts: 1,793
Default Great Topic


This is a perfect topic since I know I have to tweek mine. Currently I shoot RAW + Jpg.

1.I upload my images using windows explorer into a folder with a topic name - if it's a paid job it has the name "Smith 100608" I rename the files Smith 100608 +0001 for image number during upload

2. Separate the jpgs from the raw into their own folders.

3. I do an initial edit of the jpgs and star them in ZoomBrowzerEX. One is for delete, two is for keeping as is.

4. I move the 1 stars to a new folder "to delete"

5. I review the two stars again and sort them into a to be edited file

6. I edit the images - using the RAW as needed for color, curves, contrast. When edited I three star them and move them to Edited folder. Sometimes i make several versions so they get a code in the name C for Crop, BW for Black and White; S =Sepia. and E for edited and finished

Off to b e printed, uploaded or into a finished product
You can call me ChatKat
I created this piece of fine art. It's Fine Art because it's mine, I made it and I say it's fine art...
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Old October 6th, 2008, 05:18 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: North Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 1,792

Yes, a really valuable topic. Mine needs a winter service too! Currently, after a few variations:

1. Download via Lightroom and back up to a pair of usb HDDs, adding copyright metadata on import. Retain CR2 filetype as DXo doesn't process DNG in. Filename is date plus origial filename.

2. Key word and rough sort.

3. Work through processing files in no particular order - a weakness!

4. Print or other post process.

Paid jobs may get a separate catalogue if there's noting more generally useful, and files are named as per Kathy's basis - client name date number

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Old October 6th, 2008, 05:22 PM
Charles L Webster Charles L Webster is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Silicon Valley CA
Posts: 596
Default Workflow

I'm using Lightroom for most everything these days, so my workflow looks like this:

1. Copy files from CF cards to <date - location> named folders on my desktop HD
2. Import files into LR, adding basic copyright and keyword information
3. Flag black frames, out of focus frames, and pictures of my feet for deletion
4. Review and rate pictures from the session and assign Stars as appropriate; 5-stars = definite keeper, 4 = Good, etc.
5. Review again and add Keepers to a Quick Collection that I save with a name for the project.
6. Review and cull again, removing duplicates or discards from the Project Collection
7. Make exposure, WB, sharpening, and noise reduction corrections in LR. I also do dust spot removal, cropping, and rotation in LR. I use the "Edit in PS" command to create suitable copies for bit-level editing in PS.
8. When all photos in collection are suitably corrected and edited, I use LR to generate a Web Gallery that I can show the client.
9. When the client is satisfied with the web preview, I generate JPEGs and TIFFs to burn to CD for delivery to the client.
10. The whole shebang, including LR Catalog and all RAW and other files are copied nightly to an external USB drive.

If a client wants a picture from a past shoot, I can search in LR by client name, location, or date to find the processed (or un-processed) RAW file for reprinting etc.

Everything in the frame must contribute to the picture.
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