Digital photography workflow

I know quite a few of you are into this whole “pictures” thing, and maybe have some insight into this.

What do you do with your pictures, and how?

Here’s what I do (currently), but it really needs some fixing:

1) Take pictures
2) Import pictures to Mac into folder named after current date, inside folder called “imported”
3) Burn said folder (the date one) to CD-R for backup of “digital negatives”
4) Open new folder in Adobe Bridge, and rate images (one star means “no good, delete, this is awful” and other ratings going up, etc)
5) Open top-rated photos one at a time in Photoshop and color-correct, or play with them further (if I am feeling especially creatively inspired)
6) Save PSD of image into another folder in Pictures folder named after current date
7) Save JPEG of image into same date folder inside Pictures folder
8) After done with all pictures, import JPEG files into iPhoto and place in appropriate albums, etc
9) Export new photos from iPhoto into Flickr

As you can see, there’s something missing from this workflow – mostly the organization of the files. The steps I take are all fine (although there’s some batching I could probably do in the Photoshop stages, but that’s not my main concern right now).

I keep the iPhoto step in there for several reasons: first, I like the Flickr export tool better than the Uploadr. Secondly, there are quite a few things I do on my Mac that tie into iPhoto, so I want my “good” pictures in there. Third, your mom.

What I really want to hear about is how you guys organize your actual files, etc. What do you do for your workflow?

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~ by Matt Stratton on December 9, 2005.

21 Responses to “Digital photography workflow”

  1. Wow, I don’t do nearly that much work.

  2. Thanks. That was helpful 🙂

    Seriously, though – if all you do is dump from camera to computer, and then upload, that’s not a “workflow”, and doesn’t apply to my question. My question is geared towards people who do color-correction (and maybe other modification) to their pictures, and how they keep their stuff organized during that process.

  3. I was just commenting, I wasn’t trying to be helpful.

    I do sometimes do color correction, if it looks like it needs it, but you have a lot of steps in there that seem almost, too much. But since I honestly hadn’t put much thought into “workflow” for personal snapshots, I suppose I have no room to be critical.

  4. I was just commenting, I wasn’t trying to be helpful.

    I do sometimes do color correction, if it looks like it needs it, but you have a lot of steps in there that seem almost, too much. But since I honestly hadn’t put much thought into “workflow” for personal snapshots, I suppose I have no room to be critical.

  5. For instance, why save it as a PSD and a .jpg? Why move it to three different folders?

    And it just seems like you spend an awfully long time sorting and organizing; it just seems like a lot of work for photos that are just goofy shots of your friends.

  6. For instance, why save it as a PSD and a .jpg? Why move it to three different folders?

    And it just seems like you spend an awfully long time sorting and organizing; it just seems like a lot of work for photos that are just goofy shots of your friends.

  7. For instance, why save it as a PSD and a .jpg? Why move it to three different folders?

    And it just seems like you spend an awfully long time sorting and organizing; it just seems like a lot of work for photos that are just goofy shots of your friends.

  8. Well, my “steps” all accomplish something that I want to have.

    Backup images to CD? Because in the past, I would just edit directly on the image, and then now, I find myself wanting to go back to some of those old pictures and get the “pure image”. But I can’t.

    Save the PSD file as well as JPEG? I do a lot of my work in Photoshop in layers. PSD is the only way I can go back to them and tweak them more (after I discover I didn’t like something I did, etc).

    Put the files into iPhoto? I explained that – iPhoto is where I want to store my photos, and the tool I use to put them into Flickr.

    I suppose I could just delete the jpegs once I import them into iPhoto. And I think that iPhoto supports PSD, so I guess I don’t even have to convert them to JPEG in Photoshop – just keep them as PSD files, import that into iPhoto, and then export them to Flickr.

    Hm.

    (it should go without saying that “personal snapshots” tend to go through a different process – direct import into iPhoto from the camera. But pictures that I take for the sake of photography get a lot more treatment)

  9. Well, my “steps” all accomplish something that I want to have.

    Backup images to CD? Because in the past, I would just edit directly on the image, and then now, I find myself wanting to go back to some of those old pictures and get the “pure image”. But I can’t.

    Save the PSD file as well as JPEG? I do a lot of my work in Photoshop in layers. PSD is the only way I can go back to them and tweak them more (after I discover I didn’t like something I did, etc).

    Put the files into iPhoto? I explained that – iPhoto is where I want to store my photos, and the tool I use to put them into Flickr.

    I suppose I could just delete the jpegs once I import them into iPhoto. And I think that iPhoto supports PSD, so I guess I don’t even have to convert them to JPEG in Photoshop – just keep them as PSD files, import that into iPhoto, and then export them to Flickr.

    Hm.

    (it should go without saying that “personal snapshots” tend to go through a different process – direct import into iPhoto from the camera. But pictures that I take for the sake of photography get a lot more treatment)

  10. Well, my “steps” all accomplish something that I want to have.

    Backup images to CD? Because in the past, I would just edit directly on the image, and then now, I find myself wanting to go back to some of those old pictures and get the “pure image”. But I can’t.

    Save the PSD file as well as JPEG? I do a lot of my work in Photoshop in layers. PSD is the only way I can go back to them and tweak them more (after I discover I didn’t like something I did, etc).

    Put the files into iPhoto? I explained that – iPhoto is where I want to store my photos, and the tool I use to put them into Flickr.

    I suppose I could just delete the jpegs once I import them into iPhoto. And I think that iPhoto supports PSD, so I guess I don’t even have to convert them to JPEG in Photoshop – just keep them as PSD files, import that into iPhoto, and then export them to Flickr.

    Hm.

    (it should go without saying that “personal snapshots” tend to go through a different process – direct import into iPhoto from the camera. But pictures that I take for the sake of photography get a lot more treatment)

  11. I answered the psd/jpeg question in my comment above (which I was posting while you were posting this).

    t just seems like a lot of work for photos that are just goofy shots of your friends.

    So this is more of a value judgment on my photography than anything else. Clearly my “goofy” photos are not worth this much work. Silly me.

  12. I answered the psd/jpeg question in my comment above (which I was posting while you were posting this).

    t just seems like a lot of work for photos that are just goofy shots of your friends.

    So this is more of a value judgment on my photography than anything else. Clearly my “goofy” photos are not worth this much work. Silly me.

  13. No no no. I’m saying this is why I don’t do that much work. If you take photography seriously then obviously you want to put more effort into it. I didn’t realize you were so serious about it.

    Didn’t mean to insult.

  14. I don’t do any postprocessing on my photos. Even though cropping and retouching are common in traditional film, I regard a digital photo I take as just that, a literal snapshot of my technique and skill as well as the content seen by the CCD. My goal is to become better at composition and color balance etc. in-camera. Looking back over the thousands of pictures I’ve taken in the past 3 years, I’ve shown obvious improvement.

    I say all this only because my workflow is easy: I download all new pictures into a folder, then sort pictures into folders such as “2005-10 Y7A”. Then I back up those folders as necessary.

    At work we have a complicated method of handling 2D processing, but it essentially boils down to copying sets of files to different locations as work is done on them, and relabeling/renaming them each time they are copied.

  15. I don’t do any postprocessing on my photos. Even though cropping and retouching are common in traditional film, I regard a digital photo I take as just that, a literal snapshot of my technique and skill as well as the content seen by the CCD. My goal is to become better at composition and color balance etc. in-camera. Looking back over the thousands of pictures I’ve taken in the past 3 years, I’ve shown obvious improvement.

    I say all this only because my workflow is easy: I download all new pictures into a folder, then sort pictures into folders such as “2005-10 Y7A”. Then I back up those folders as necessary.

    At work we have a complicated method of handling 2D processing, but it essentially boils down to copying sets of files to different locations as work is done on them, and relabeling/renaming them each time they are copied.

  16. Check out my posting about organising my photos once downloaded. Note that this assumes all images are JPEG. The movies which my Fuji can create are saved elsewhere, RAW files which my Canon can create are processed beforehand in Digital Photo Professional and the keepers are exported as JPEG, the RAWs are saved elsewhere. iPhoto’s handling of RAW is awful as any editing of the photo is on the auto-converted JPEG and not the original…

    My blog is posted here:
    http://www.bjw.me.uk/2005/12/iphoto-and-flickr.html

  17. Check out my posting about organising my photos once downloaded. Note that this assumes all images are JPEG. The movies which my Fuji can create are saved elsewhere, RAW files which my Canon can create are processed beforehand in Digital Photo Professional and the keepers are exported as JPEG, the RAWs are saved elsewhere. iPhoto’s handling of RAW is awful as any editing of the photo is on the auto-converted JPEG and not the original…

    My blog is posted here:
    http://www.bjw.me.uk/2005/12/iphoto-and-flickr.html

  18. Check out my posting about organising my photos once downloaded. Note that this assumes all images are JPEG. The movies which my Fuji can create are saved elsewhere, RAW files which my Canon can create are processed beforehand in Digital Photo Professional and the keepers are exported as JPEG, the RAWs are saved elsewhere. iPhoto’s handling of RAW is awful as any editing of the photo is on the auto-converted JPEG and not the original…

    My blog is posted here:
    http://www.bjw.me.uk/2005/12/iphoto-and-flickr.html

  19. Since I’m not very good at photography but love it, I’ve started delving more into refining pictures in photoshop. Due to my limited knowledge, one picture could take a while to get it right. Hence, I do this very rarely right now, but I figure as I do this more I will do it more often.

    As far as Flickr goes, I use it to post pictures for family and friends. As I get better at managing my camera (I need a lot of work on lighting, focusing, flash, and composition) I will probably work more on the quality of the photos as well. It kind of sucks because my camera doesn’t have a very good hand-jiggle reduction, so if it’s in a darker setting (indoor dancing) I have had to come up with creative ISO/flash solutions which still haven’t worked (too bleached out or too blurry with multiple flashes). I think that with your experience you have balanced out both your photo taking technique as well as your editing to make your pictures come out nice.

    As far as the organization… it seems as if you have enough to get by. I figure if you had more time, you might be able to download, rate, organize within the folder for the postable pictures and those that aren’t, then create within the folder of good pictures a separate hierarchy for your .psd’s and final products, using the latter with iPhoto to upload. Once again, a huge time constraint.

    Hope this is what you were looking for. Your photos are really good, though – a lot better than mine. (And if you have any tips and critiques, I’d welcome them).

  20. Since I’m not very good at photography but love it, I’ve started delving more into refining pictures in photoshop. Due to my limited knowledge, one picture could take a while to get it right. Hence, I do this very rarely right now, but I figure as I do this more I will do it more often.

    As far as Flickr goes, I use it to post pictures for family and friends. As I get better at managing my camera (I need a lot of work on lighting, focusing, flash, and composition) I will probably work more on the quality of the photos as well. It kind of sucks because my camera doesn’t have a very good hand-jiggle reduction, so if it’s in a darker setting (indoor dancing) I have had to come up with creative ISO/flash solutions which still haven’t worked (too bleached out or too blurry with multiple flashes). I think that with your experience you have balanced out both your photo taking technique as well as your editing to make your pictures come out nice.

    As far as the organization… it seems as if you have enough to get by. I figure if you had more time, you might be able to download, rate, organize within the folder for the postable pictures and those that aren’t, then create within the folder of good pictures a separate hierarchy for your .psd’s and final products, using the latter with iPhoto to upload. Once again, a huge time constraint.

    Hope this is what you were looking for. Your photos are really good, though – a lot better than mine. (And if you have any tips and critiques, I’d welcome them).

  21. Since I’m not very good at photography but love it, I’ve started delving more into refining pictures in photoshop. Due to my limited knowledge, one picture could take a while to get it right. Hence, I do this very rarely right now, but I figure as I do this more I will do it more often.

    As far as Flickr goes, I use it to post pictures for family and friends. As I get better at managing my camera (I need a lot of work on lighting, focusing, flash, and composition) I will probably work more on the quality of the photos as well. It kind of sucks because my camera doesn’t have a very good hand-jiggle reduction, so if it’s in a darker setting (indoor dancing) I have had to come up with creative ISO/flash solutions which still haven’t worked (too bleached out or too blurry with multiple flashes). I think that with your experience you have balanced out both your photo taking technique as well as your editing to make your pictures come out nice.

    As far as the organization… it seems as if you have enough to get by. I figure if you had more time, you might be able to download, rate, organize within the folder for the postable pictures and those that aren’t, then create within the folder of good pictures a separate hierarchy for your .psd’s and final products, using the latter with iPhoto to upload. Once again, a huge time constraint.

    Hope this is what you were looking for. Your photos are really good, though – a lot better than mine. (And if you have any tips and critiques, I’d welcome them).

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