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on Jul 10, 2013 in Digital Darkroom

Moose’s Basic Workflow

I’m constantly being asked “What’s my workflow?” I’m really never sure just what is really being seeked by this question nor what information is really useful to folks. It really is a lot like the image creation process itself which varies as we all know from photographer to photographer. It all depends on what you want in the end that determines all that comes before. So before I explain my workflow, understand what my end is all about.

Let me use a real world example. You’ve probably noticed there are a number of blogs of late of aircraft from North Dakota where we spent the 4th. Thinking I was going for just to celebrate the holiday with friends, we ended up doing a lot of flying, over 5hrs and that produced a helluva a lot of images. Now one thing that I pride myself on is speed, speed in getting prints to the pilots to say thanks. To make this happen, all those images I captured need to be edited, numbered, filed, finished and printed. So that’s the priority to my workflow.

The vast majority of my work is done on the road using the Mac Retina (this coming weekend will be the 5th one home in 2013). The CF card (I shoot a Lexar 128GB so 1 card covers the whole day) is inserted into the Lexar Reader and plugged into the USB3 port. Photo Mechanic is launched and Cmd G brings up the Ingest dialogue. Photo Mechanic is radically fast when working with the Mac Retina / SSD so before I can blink, all the images are ingested. I use settings in Photo Mechanic to speed everything up, little things like undocking the CF card when upload is completed to inserting IPTC info. I make the tools work for me or I get rid of them.

Then I edit the images, deleting those that are not sharp. I keep everything else. As I go through images, I Cmd 1 tag those that I like and want to finish and most likely print at some point. You can customize the tool bar so I have the backward / forward / trash can right next to each other so I can click as fast as I can to get through the images. I can get through about 2000 images in 30min. With that all done, the images are moved to their appropriate folders. Select the images, Cmd Y > Move > Rename and lickity split, they are filed and renamed.

On all my computers, I have created a Temp folder on the C Drive. This is very important to my workflow. Once all the images have been filed and renamed, I click to select just those images tagged in that folder. With  a Cmd A and a Cmd Y, all those tagged images (the Nefs) are copied to the Temp Folder. I then close Photo Mechanic and launch Photoshop CS7.

At this point I’m working on the Wacom 13HD which speeds up the process so much it is essential! With PS launched, I use Mini Bridge which is pointed to the Temp folder. Here, all the Nef copies I just created from Photo Mechanic reside. I click on 1 to 30 images and hit Return. The selected file(s) are opened in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) where I do the majority of the finishing work. For example the air to air images from North Dakota, there was a lot of dust shooting with the 80-400. Using the new dust detection in ACR, I dust just one image and then when I sync them all, all the images are dusted along with any other finishing applied. It’s bloody fast!

The images are then opened in PS where with a simple click of an Express Key on the 13HD, a Save As is preformed, saving the files back to the Temp Folder. When I’m all done, the PSD files are moved to a Gallery Folder (I use the 1Tb Buffalo Thunderbolt drives which rock!) and the Nefs (remember they are a copy) and XMP files left in the Temp folder are deleted. For me, this is all very quick and when being done late at night after a day of shooting, easy which is important. And that in a nutshell is my workflow. Hope it helps.