Photo Editing Workflow

tomO2013

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Hi Folks,

In my day job i work within the software development practice as an engineering director. I truly believe that the IT software development career path is one of the most creative professional development avenues for folks to pursue in 2022. It may explain why many creative IT folk also moonlight with photography and videography in their spare time.

Appreciating that creative workflows are highly personal and really what works best for each person is what each person should continue to do - I’d really like to move away from Adobe’s subscription model and use more Apple Silicon optimized software in my workflow where possible. I’m experimenting with my workflow as we speak…
There is no right and wrong here - with that being said, I’d like to tap into the creative juices here to see :
1. What photo editing software do you currently have installed on your Mac!?
2. What is your DAM tool of choice?
3. What is your typical workflow (ingest, cull, organize, edit, retouch, publish).
4. What alternative workflows have you tried and how did you land on the workflow that you are now using that works for you :)

For me to start

Old workflow:
1. Ingest: Photo Mechanic to import to flie/folder on a NAS
2. Cull : Photo Mechanic to cull duplicates, identify favourites remove dodgy shots!
3. Organize: Basic caption/keyword tagging in PhotoMechanic
4. Import to Library: Lightroom Classic import (by adding folder at the current location) to my library without consolidating to Adobes file folder structure. I do this because I sometimes like to flirt with other apps.
5. Light Editing: Lightroom Classic: Exposure correction, AWB, color/curves adjustments
6. Detailed retouch / HDR stacking : Photoshop round trip.
7. Occasional Use Plug-ins : Topaz Labs, DXO PhotoLab, Nik Effects,


New workflow (still trying to determine)
1. Ingest: Photo Mechanic to import to flie/folder on a NAS
2. Cull : Photo Mechanic to cull duplicates, identify favourites remove dodgy shots!
3. Organize: Basic caption/keyword tagging in PhotoMechanic
4. Import to DAM Library: Luminar AI?? .
5. Light Editing: Exposure correction, AWB, color/curves adjustments
6. Detailed retouch / HDR stacking : Affinity Photo round trip.

I think my biggest pain point right now is the DAM workflow aspects. I’ve become so used to Lightroom classic that anything other than LR classic starts to feel not as fully baked. I love and prefer the Affinity lineup, but while a DAM has long been promised on their product roadmap, its been very quiet for a long time.

I don’t use Apple Photos because it intermingles photos of receipts taken on my phone etc…. and really I’d like to keep my mirrorless and film camera scans separate from Apple Photos.


I’m keen to see what other folks here are using for their workflow?

Happy new year!
 

Eric

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This seems to be a pretty individualized topic and it will be nice to see what others are doing. I am also using the Adobe subscription model, it's worth noting that they're now natively supporting the M1 Silicon chipset, my main computer is an older iMac and it doesn't have it so I haven't been able to take advantage of it, but it's nice to know it's there now.

My typical flow goes like this:

Importing
  • I Shoot in RAW and put the card into the reader and let LRC import them into a folder with the date range.
  • I rarely ever delete a photo and will often go back through them for second or third round reviews.
  • Everything is stored on external drives, they're cheap now and every now and then I'll grab another 5GB (or so) drive from Costco.
Post Processing
  • For the most part I won't play with the WB although for long exposures and night shots I'll tweak it from time to time.
  • I almost always start by adjusting highlights and shadows, then tweak other sliders as needed.
  • I'm also not shy about using gradient filters and brushes, I don't use filters on my lenses and adding them in post makes a huge difference.
  • I make it a practice not to add or remove artifacts, what you see is what you get, I prefer to make the best effort getting the shot right to begin with rather than using software to get it right - so traffic cones, street lights, poles, etc will always remain.
  • I almost always crop to get the desired effect and a higher MP camera is a godsend when it comes to getting more detail at tighter crops, since moving to the Sony a7R III it's made a huge difference at 42 MP. However, this also comes at the price of requiring more storage and slower read times when importing and editing.
  • When doing a shoot with people, for weddings, gatherings, etc. I fully take advantage of the Sync edits feature, that is a life saver that saves so much time.
Exporting and Sharing
  • All photos that don't get exported out (like 99%) remain in the LRC ecosystem in ordered catalogs in RAW format.
  • For those I want to keep in my personal keepers folders, I'll export as JPG in full size into named keeper folder associated with the dated import in LRC to maintain consistency and the ability to recall where the original source is.
  • If I'm going to share online somewhere, I'll open the file on PS and resize then export an optimized version for the web at a smaller size for a couple of reasons:
    • I usually post my best stuff on large sites with a lot of traffic, like Reddit, FB, etc. and they have gotten lifted and reposted which is okay because I did post it publicly but it will always be a reduced size and never something they can sell digital prints of.​
    • Most sites won't allow huge files anyway.​
  • For the storing of all my personal photos that I want to keep online and not share, I use Google Photos for everything. It's been a fantastic tool for me and I pay a couple of extra bucks per month for the additional storage.​
  • I also have my own personal SmugMug site where I can sell prints and have something public facing.​
 

Nycturne

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I tried Luminar’s DAM a couple years ago (it was still Luminar 3 then), and it wasn’t super great, mostly in terms of performance using a NAS compared to Lightroom Classic. I might give it another go, to see if they’ve made improvements.

I’ll be honest, I’m still looking for a good non-Lightroom DAM, but I’ve been a bit lazy and doing destructive developing in Affinity Photo like the pre-Lightroom days. I need to give Luminar and On1 another look, I think.
 

Clix Pix

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I don't use LR or PS at all, and instead have DXO PhotoLab 5 as my primary editing tool. Haven't found a satisfactory solution for a DAM so don't really bother with it, sort of did my own version a while back with older archived folders. I have to admit that while I love shooting, I am not a fan of the post-processing/editing/retouching process and frankly am not all that good at it. With shooting RAW, though, it is a necessary evil and I do prefer having that kind of control over my images. I do pretty basic image editing, nothing fancy, no layers and swapping skies and people around, that kind of thing.

-- I shoot in RAW. First step is to ingest the files with card reader to folder on desktop
-- Sometimes if there are a lot of images I'll take the folder with the new image files into Photo Mechanic and do a quick run-through, some culling, etc.
-- If there are only a few images -- say under 100 -- I'll just take them directly into PhotoLab 5.
-- Edit them in PL 5. Occasionally will do extra things, such as take the image into Silver EFEX for B&W conversion (which is a plug-in for PL 5) or will use a filter in the DXO Film Pack 6.
-- Export image as a jpg to the desktop.

Sometimes I will take an image into Luminar AI to remove a dust spot or something else I hadn't noticed earlier, or will use that program for some of its special features as well, but for me the primary attraction of that particular software is its wonderful "erase" tool. I also like the ease with which one can burn-in or dodge if that is needed in an image. Once in a while I will take an image into Topaz Sharpen AI for selective sharpening, if needed. If I have shot images with my RX10 IV, a bridge camera with a 1" sensor, I will often take those into Topaz Gigapixel, to increase resolution, which results in a better looking image.

I don't shoot for the purpose of selling my images or for printing them so I simply export to the desktop in a jpg size which is appropriate for sharing online in forums such as this one. I title each image and I move it to a folder in the Pictures Folder, arranged by year and month. If there are several images all related in some way, such as of a particular occasion or a visit to a particular location, I create a folder within the dated one with an appropriate, meaningful name.

I keep the current year's edited image files in the computer but also run backups on those as well as move everything else to external SSDs. Older archived folders and files are on HDDs. Since we've just begun a new year I'll be moving things around this week, clearing up space on the computer's internal drive, adding the folders of images shot in 2021 to the archival drives as well. I've already set up folders for the images which will be shot during 2022.

During 2021 I did a 52-Week Project and each week pulled together the best images shot during that week and shared them on Nikon Cafe, where I also hang out. Many of the images first made their debut right here on this forum in the POTD thread of the month and on MR's POTD thread. :) Those images also go to my Zenfolio gallery, where I now have the full year's worth of the best of each week readily available for sharing with friends and family or for easy access if I'm away from my computer and there's an image that I want to grab for some reason -- I can access Zenfolio and download the relevant image. Zenfolio also is home to earlier files and folders in various galleries.

Basically that's it. I try to keep things relatively simple and easy, keeping it fun for myself rather than turning into something which feels tedious. I decided that in 2022 I'm not going to do a 52-Week Project, as that was beginning to feel a bit stressful. However, I'm definitely planning on still shooting each week nonetheless and sharing here and on MR!
 

Cmaier

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I shoot in raw+jpeg, then copy everything to my NAS. From there i upload the jpegs to flickr as a (bad) backup and for simple sharing with remote family, then selectively import RAW into Lightroom classic for photobooks I used to do most of the processing in photoshop, but lately I’m finding Lightroom classic suffices for many tasks. For non-photobook projects I still do everything in photoshop.

The NAS gets backed up nightly onto another NAS, and each NAS has 2-disk redundancy.
 

Eric

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I shoot in raw+jpeg, then copy everything to my NAS. From there i upload the jpegs to flickr as a (bad) backup and for simple sharing with remote family, then selectively import RAW into Lightroom classic for photobooks I used to do most of the processing in photoshop, but lately I’m finding Lightroom classic suffices for many tasks. For non-photobook projects I still do everything in photoshop.

The NAS gets backed up nightly onto another NAS, and each NAS has 2-disk redundancy.
You may have posted this somewhere but what kind of camera are you using, dual card slots for both JPG+RAW? That's how mine is setup.
 

Cmaier

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You may have posted this somewhere but what kind of camera are you using, dual card slots for both JPG+RAW? That's how mine is setup.

Nowadays primarily Sony A1, with a Sony rx100vii sometimes. I have the A1 set with 2 CF Expresscards, each JPG+RAW (since essentially it can write to the card as fast as the shutter snaps, no need to separate JPG and RAW on two slots).
 

citypix

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1) Make RAW photographs with my camera; say in San Francisco on Jan 4, 2009

2) Download RAWs to a folder in my file structure. Ex: PhotoMaster -> 2009 Lightroom -> 2009 1-04 SF

3) Import/drag RAWs into Lightroom

4) Select the images worth post processing; keywording or flagging some

5) Post process in LR

6) Export as jpgs for online use; usually 1,000 pixels on the long edge. Or TIFF/PDF/JPG at higher res for printing or publishing for a project

7) Backup hard drive with TimeMachine and make a clone.

Have to admit since I've been shooting with a phone exclusively for 5 or so years, I've been lazy importing images to my file structure maintained on a specific hard drive.

And I'm now paying the price starting a new project with photos shot with my phone, and imported into LR straight from the download folder on the particular computer I happen to have used at the time. I should have known better. Just don't do it!
 

tomO2013

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I think the common thread with what I am seeing predominantly in this thread is that most folks are using LR for DAM.

I’d really really like to cut the chord with Adobe, but LR’s DAM keeps pulling me back in.

Do any of you fine folk print your work and if so, what printers are you guys using?

I sometimes print images from film cameras, enjoying the actual print making process immensely. I have access to a big enough enlarger for 4X5“ negative enlargements. On the digital side of things I’ve dabbled with owning a printer in the past - Canon Pixma Pro 1 but sold it on account of the ink costs where I live.
With inkjet mall now delivering to where I live it’s opened up some options. I’d be interested to hear what sizes you guys print to, inks used , paper preferences and obviously printer too!
 

Cmaier

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I think the common thread with what I am seeing predominantly in this thread is that most folks are using LR for DAM.

I’d really really like to cut the chord with Adobe, but LR’s DAM keeps pulling me back in.

Do any of you fine folk print your work and if so, what printers are you guys using?

I sometimes print images from film cameras, enjoying the actual print making process immensely. I have access to a big enough enlarger for 4X5“ negative enlargements. On the digital side of things I’ve dabbled with owning a printer in the past - Canon Pixma Pro 1 but sold it on account of the ink costs where I live.
With inkjet mall now delivering to where I live it’s opened up some options. I’d be interested to hear what sizes you guys print to, inks used , paper preferences and obviously printer too!

I too owned a pixma pro 1, but got rid of it because I wasn’t using it often enough. Now I just use printing services, though mostly I print photobooks.
 

citypix

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I think the common thread with what I am seeing predominantly in this thread is that most folks are using LR for DAM.

I’d really really like to cut the chord with Adobe, but LR’s DAM keeps pulling me back in.

Do any of you fine folk print your work and if so, what printers are you guys using?

I sometimes print images from film cameras, enjoying the actual print making process immensely. I have access to a big enough enlarger for 4X5“ negative enlargements. On the digital side of things I’ve dabbled with owning a printer in the past - Canon Pixma Pro 1 but sold it on account of the ink costs where I live.
With inkjet mall now delivering to where I live it’s opened up some options. I’d be interested to hear what sizes you guys print to, inks used , paper preferences and obviously printer too!

I resisted Adobe changing to a subscription model for two years before signing up, seeing no viable options. Today...I'm glad I did. I like both the DAM and editing tools. I've been using LR for so long, editing is pretty much like being on auto pilot, quickly getting the results I'm looking for. And I've liked the frequent updates and new features.

I used to print with a large/heavy (around 80 lbs) Epson 4800 - a really nice printer. Except when it clogs. Which was too often for me - even using it regularly. A frustrating experience wasting ink to unclog. I gave it away and bought a Canon Pro-100. Much smaller ink cartridges. But I've yet to have a clog and I like the results.

For large or special prints I use White House Custom Color. Their service is outstanding as are their prints.

I even use the local Costco sometimes for large prints. A 20x30 inch print on luster/satin paper is $9.99. Used to be $8.99. A bargain considering those prints come off an Epson 24" floor standing professional printer. And they look great. I've done a lot of B&W with those and the results are dead on with no color tint. The nice thing about Costco is if you don't like the results they'll redo it - but I haven't needed to do that yet.

I mat and frame various sizes, cutting my own mats and making my own wood frames. It's just something I like to do dabbling in woodworking.

I also like making books/journals. Both handmade and using service called MagCloud. Once being a part of Hewlett-Packard, they print using HP Indigo digital on-demand presses at a wide range of sizes and also provide fulfillment services (a great feature). It's a great way to go for some projects. Six or seven years ago they were acquired by Blurb. I haven't noticed any changes, so that's good.
 
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