This is my workflow. What is yours?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by john m flores, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Thought that I'd share my typical Lightroom workflow. What's yours?

    My Workflow #1-Import
    My Workflow #1-Import
    by john m flores, on Flickr

    200 photos here from an afternoon spent in Times Square. I rarely delete photos while shooting (takes time), so this is pretty much the output of a couple of hours wandering around in the rain. Look closely and you'll see that I'll often take a handful of shots of what I think is an interesting subject, playing with composition, exposure, timing, etc...

    My Workflow #2-First Pass
    My Workflow #2-First Pass
    by john m flores, on Flickr

    I quickly go through the photos, deleting test shots, those obviously out of focus, and those that just aren't that interesting. I usually won't do any developing yet, but if there's a shot that has potential but isn't quite there yet, I might do a little editing to see if there really is potential there or I'm imagining things. Those that make the grade are given 1 star in Lightroom. Sometimes I look at a shot and I'm like "woah, that's definitely a fave!" so I'll give it two stars. Sometimes I look at a shot that's really nice but I've messed it up somehow–poor focus, poor exposure that I can't fix, timing just off, subject's eyes closed, etc... and I'm like "Damn damn damn. Gotta remember to do this different next time!" I'm left with 97 photos worth looking at again, with many of them multiple shots of the same subject.

    My Workflow #3-Selects
    My Workflow #3-Selects
    by john m flores, on Flickr

    Here I hone in the mildly interesting and really interesting shots. If I've taken multiple shots of the same subject in rapid succession, then I'll choose the best of the litter. I'll begin to start editing and cropping here and it's very often at this state that a style or theme emerges. In this particular case I started thinking about a series of square crops. I'm left with 26 photos.

    My Workflow #4-Final Cut
    My Workflow #4-Final Cut
    by john m flores, on Flickr

    This is often the hardest step because it means leaving some good photos behind, but this is the most important step. In this set I had multiple interesting takes on a statue but decided that just one would make the cut. Conversely, I chose two versions of the flag because they were very different. There were other shots that were nice but I thought that they were cliche or not within the mood or theme of the rest. I do final editing here so that the photos feel like a set not a mish mash. I give these photos 3 stars in Lightroom. I'm left with 8. These are the ones that see the light of day.

    Months down the road I often find myself looking at my photos marked 3 stars in Lightroom. Those that a personally or professionally important to me or I think have stood the test of time (vs. a momentary infatuation with a shot) get bumped up to 4 stars. Those that I think are among my best of the year are bumped up to 5 stars.

    That's how I do it. How about you?
    • Like Like x 12
  2. BillN

    BillN Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France

    don't want to explain my Sigma DP3M workflow as it involves having two or three cups of tea and a stroll around the house before 100 shots are converted to 16 bit Tiff from Sigma RAW and then imported to LR plus coping with the 1 in 20 crash that the SPP has, it seems to like spinning "beach balls" ………then I have to look at the 85MB files and decide which I want to keep
    • Like Like x 4
  3. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Thanks John. Depending on how Apple's new Photos app turns out this year, I may be switching to Lightroom. So this will be useful. I generally don't shoot this many images in any single outing - a tradition left over from my film days.
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    I usually chimp as I go, so most of my shots that went wrong never make it home. The images that I download get renamed with a camera specific prefix (OEM5- for Olympus E-M5 for example) and placed in a folder named by date. At this point I'll scroll through the jpegs (I shoot raw + jpeg) to weed out any more images that I don't want to keep. There are some images that I will keep for interest's sake even if I no intention of processing them. Following this step I duplicate the folder on another drive.

    I only import the raw images into Lightroom that I intend to process. Upon import I add tags and descriptions for camera/lens and location (these show up when you upload the images to Flickr and make it easier to put the images in the right albums). I also add the images into Lightroom collections based on the location where I took them. These collections mirror my albums on Flickr (ironically Flickr also has things called collections, but they are something different again).

    When I bring an image into the Develop module I generally follow this process: A Processing Workflow, step by step . This is obviously where the actual image processing happens, but all the "admin" work before and after keeps things in order.

    After that I export the images as tiffs into a temporary location for finishing in Photoshop (where my Nik plugins live). Once an image has been finalized and uploaded to Flickr and catalogued there, it also gets saved into a permanent location and then duplicated onto another drive. Since Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, the original raw files remain untouched.

    BTW, one important tip to starting out with Lightroom, being that it is both image processing and DAM (digital asset management) software, is to sort out your folder structure, folder naming, file location, and file naming BEFORE you start importing anything!
    • Like Like x 4
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Two different, but interesting and useful techniques.
  6. NightBird

    NightBird Regular

    Apr 23, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    After a day or two taking photos of family events with my A7r, my workflow begins with a trip to a local tech store to buy some additional hard drive storage.

    Just kidding though, I wouldn't use that camera in those situations.

    Thanks for sharing yours!
    • Like Like x 3
  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    My workflow:

    1. Shoot some pictures.
    2. Come to the Lounge and look at John's stuff.
    3. Get depressed and delete my images.
    4. Repeat.


    Seriously, it's very similar except that I look at jpegs and and then process the raw version of the ones I want. I also have PS and not LR.
    • Like Like x 6
  8. Boid

    Boid All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    I don't delete anything. I'm a hoarder and storage is cheap.

    Plus who knows when Adobe will come with a magical action/filter that will turn my blurry, out of focus photos, into works of art.

    The only regret I have is not shooting raw when I could.

    The last part of my workflow involves not sharing anything. It's mine! Mine I tell ya!

    I'll see myself out now.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. BillN

    BillN Hall of Famer

    Aug 25, 2010
    S W France
    Every time I don't shoot RAW I seem to regret it ………. ALTHOUGH many "expert" "pros" seem to indicate that they shoot jpeg and it doesn't matter - you get quite angry debates on "photo forums" about the two
  10. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 New Member

    Jul 19, 2014
    Hi, John:

    For this workflow of 200 RAW photos in Time Square, how long did it take you to complete this workflow?

    (I take on average 3,000 photos a month and I just gave up on RAW anything and just shoot JPEGs. I do a lot of exposure compensation and white balance adjustments before I start shooting. For me, I just drowned in lack of time and too much fatigue to go through each of the 3,000 RAW photos.)

    • Like Like x 1
  11. Now *thats* the kind of discipline I need. Mine is chaos. its how I constantly lose stuff.

    I don't mind anymore, but it does depend on the camera for me. for smaller sensor cameras I tend to shoot RAW, but for my X100, it may be either or, likewise the K5. I like having access to ACR as a filter in Photoshop 15, it sort of makes up for it.
  12. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Hey Hunyuan,

    I don't start any significant photo editing until step 3, and at that point I'm down to 26 photos. Many of those are lightly processed, just to see if global changes help an image that is borderline good. At the end of it, I'm only doing real processing on 8-10 out of 200 shots. In this case, I probably went from 200 RAW photos to 8 finished photos in 15-20 minutes.

    To help with white balance, I carry an 18% gray card in my wallet and often take a photo of it before starting. I can then set white balance in Lightroom with that photo and sync the white balance of other photos in the set to that one photo.

    Hope this helps.
  13. alex66

    alex66 Rookie

    Jul 29, 2012
    I import all the photos, then don't look at them properly for a wk or so, I find I am more subjective after a bit of time from taking to rating them. Ill leave them at that with the photos set at 3 unless one really sticks out, then I will look through the previous photographs a while later colour labelling with possible uses for them. The exceptions being photographs of bands that everyone wants to see quickly and characters who are exported to a set of files in their name. I tend to do processing when I have decided how they will be used, if the camera shoots Raw then that is what it is set on. From time to time I will browse through to see if I missed anything interesting.
  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    John, thanks so much for sharing this. THIS should be my photographic New Year's resolution. Instead of just opening the folder of recent photos and developing what I think is my best for the day and then leaving everything else.
  15. Boid

    Boid All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Yes, I find it most bizarre. Why anyone would take the effort of making a picture (to the best of one's ability, hopefully) and then willingly throw away gobs of data in conversion. Why spend thousands of dollars on expensive camera equipment, spend endless hours on forums discussing "image quality" and willingly capture the lowest possible version of the image in camera? Just buy a few more SD cards, heck buy a dozen. It boggles the mind. What really takes the cake is that I know a few people who actually take the jpg into lightroom and then try and tinker with it. Anyways, each to his own.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer

    I shoot JPG+raw;
    I review and twiddle with images captured over a cup of coffee while still out;
    I use the inbuilt raw developer on promising shots, or shots that need rescuing. I don't delete anything until I get home;
    I come home, put the card in and copy to a folder - By Camera>[Camera Name] for random singles, Events and Days Out>[Event Name] or Destinations>[Destination Name];
    I create a folder named Finished within the subject folder then process images into there;
    I view with Picasa and process with Photoshop. Mono is processed with a Topaz Labs plugin. I do very little post processing;
    I rename and save the final version in Final;
    I use a bulk uploader to tag, group and upload to Ipernity;
    And that's it.
  17. sgreszcz

    sgreszcz Rookie

    Sep 18, 2014
    Thanks everyone. I've recently decided to learn Lightroom since buying an lx100 (I wasn't keen on the JPEG output). Before then I was using aperture with my Olympus JPEG + raw (I like how aperture allows you to pair JPEG + raw and switch between to two).

    One thing I didn't like about aperture is how you couldn't sync a directory to update the library.

    Overall I like Lightroom as there seems to be more support for profiles etc as well as more educational resources although aperture has a simpler interface which I like.