Creating a Good Photography Workflow

“A quick-look at quickly editing on the road so you can actually enjoy your vacation”

Creating a smooth workflow for photography is crucial for the traveling photo-blogger.  We’ve worked hard to find a workflow that works for us.  Although we’re still refining the system, we’d like to share what we’ve found to work reasonably well for fast and quality workflow for online delivery.  Our workflow works well for us, but each person will need to adjust according to their gear and their goal for the photos.

THE MAIN STEPS:
1. Shooting
2. Editing
3. Delivery

SHOOTING (and our gear):

Carrie and I have two main cameras.  We love Canon, so we travel with a Canon 5d Mark II and a Canon 60D.  We both have 2 MacBook Pros, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, and a few lenses (Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS, Canon 24-105mm f4, & a Canon 50mm f1.4) and that work for both cameras.  Each camera has it’s benefits, but our primary camera is the 5d Mark II.

They key to getting good shots is practice… and (more importantly) taking a lot of pictures.  We ALWAYS shoot in RAW because the picture quality is substantially higher.  It may not appear to be until you get into editing, but shooting to jpeg is damaging the photo before you even get to edit it.  I’ll probably go into this a bit more down the road, but if you have the ability to edit RAW, then definitely do it!

EDITING:

The first step to editing is transferring to the computer or an external hard drive.  We have a 1TB external hard drive we use to back up our photos so we can both edit the same files on both computers.  We organize by the date of the shoot and then put a title after it (e.g. Folders for today would be titled 20110809 – Grand Junction CO).  This organization keeps the folders all in order for us to easily find a shoot if we need to come back to it later.

THE EDITING PROGRAM CHOICE:
There are many options for editing your photos.  The main options would be (our choice) Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 ($300), Apple Aperture ($79), Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 ($699), and Adobe Bridge (comes as part of Adobe Suites).  There are cheaper options that may work well, but we believe in Lightroom so much that we recommend it to anyone.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is a catalog editor that does not directly edit the photos, but instead edits the referenced files.  It’s completely non-destructive and very intuitive.  In english: fast & powerful editing without taking up a ton of space on your hard drive.  You don’t create new files until you export small jpegs that are ready to deliver online.

We basically take the 300-1,000 photos we take per shoot and just ‘flag’ (using the ~ key) the photos we’d like to edit.  We select the tagged photos, set basic adjustments and sync all the photos (all the flagged photos receive the same treatment in a matter of seconds).  We then run through each photo and spend about 1-2 minutes fixing any issues like over-exposure, blemishes, and any needed cropping.  The fixed photos are all tagged (through Lightroom’s system), watermarked, and exported in a small web-friendly file size with a few keystrokes.

DELIVERY:

Flickr LogoWe upload our files to Flickr.  We like Flickr because they handle the hosting of the photos, the tagging, and the photos are easily embeddable.  When you tag in Lightroom, Flickr picks up the tags and automatically applies them to each photo to make them searchable in Flickr’s system.  We take our favorite few photos to share on the blog, but our Flickr feed has MANY more photos we don’t put on the blog.

Some of our readers will probably have NO IDEA what we’re talking about here and others may have tips to help us with our workflow.  Please feel free to share your ideas or ask any questions in the comment are below and we’ll do our best to help you out with anything you need!

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3 Responses to Creating a Good Photography Workflow

  1. Bexi says:

    What about someone who doesn’t have that sort of equpiment? Can said financially-challenged person “practice” getting good shots on the good ‘ole iPhone and a simple point-and-shoot she got at Best Buy?

  2. shortandhat says:

    Bexi,
    ABSOLUTELY. Some of my iPhone pictures show up on the blog; I use an app called Hipstamatic to get the look. Also, using the free app Instagram, you can get some pretty sweet vintage looking pictures. You’ve inspired me to write a blog post on photography. Thank YOU!
    Carrie

  3. icqudinmddjj says:

    222llllkkkKKOOOYYYUUU

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