Here is the way I do my workflow. It’s not perfect, I’m still tweaking things here and there, but it works for me.
Getting photos off the camera
I want all of my photos to be offloaded into c:\originals\yyyy\mm\dd based on the date the photo was taken. I have a small application I wrote to move the photos from camera to the destination location and launch Adobe Bridge. Lightroom (which I haven’t fully migrated to yet and still prefer to use Bridge) has a way to do this as well.
This is a point I don’t really like about Lightroom. In Bridge, the photos popup immediately and I can start browsing them. In Lightroom, I have to go through an import process. That’s an uneccessary step in my opinion.
In Bridge or Lightroom, I’ll quickly go through each photo and give the keepers 2 stars. I don’t know why 2 stars – just because. In Lightroom, you can mark a photo as a “pick” by hitting “p”.
I then filter all the photos with 2 or more stars.
90% of all my photos are edited in Camera Raw. So for the editing process, I take all the photos marked with 2 starts and load them in Camera Raw. From Bridge, ctrl+a then ctrl+r.
At this point, there is no tutorial that will tell you what to do. I like photos that have a lot of contrast, so I bump up the shadows and the exposure all the time. I’ll fiddle with all of the settings depending on the effect I want.
If the photo is very good, I’ll sharpen it in Photoshop. Now it’s time to save the images.
After editing the files in Camera Raw, I give them another look in Bridge. This time I’ll apply 3 stars to the photos I want to save to jpg.
Filter all the photos with 3 stars and load them back into Camera Raw. ctrl+a then ctrl+r
In Camera Raw I make sure the photo is set to 300 dpi and I use the sRGB color space. Click the “Select All” button, then click the “Save Photos” button. Change the quality to 10. Save.
If I sharpened the photo in Photoshop; I’ll select “save as…”, choose “jpg”, level 10, save. If the photo is 16 bit, the jpg option may not show up. You’ll need to convert it to 8 bit.
I save the photos in c:\jpgs\SomeFolderName
Can’t forget about Flickr. A staple of any phtography workflow. At this point I select the best of my jpgs, right click, “send to flickr…”.
Now I can sit back and bask in the 1 or 2 hits my photos will get.
Ug, backups. I’ll have to confess right here and now, if my computer fries, I’ll lose quite a bit of photos. I’ll take a months worth of photos and burn them to dvd, but I’ll be lucky to do it every month.
I really want an automated, off site, solution. There are a lot to choose from, Mozy.com being one. Most charge only $5 a month for unlimited storage. A really good price. I don’t like the thought of being locked into that price forever though – and what if they go out of business?
It’s something I need to start working on, like tonight.