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on Oct 19, 2018 in Field Reports

My Workflow ’18

It’s a continual question, “What’s your workflow?” As my boys will say, I’m just a machine because I get through my images so bloody fast. How fast? A 4000 image air to air shoot shot in the afternoon will be by bedtime, edited, filed, renamed and backed up. How do I do it so fast? There are two main factors, the first and main one is, I only take those images I like. This is really, really important. When I watch folks go through their images, they spend a helluva a lot of time looking at this or that image, cropping, moving sliders, wondering if they like the image. I’m not doing that, I’m just flying through them. When I go through my images I only have to ask myself one question and do one action. Is it sharp or not? If sharp I just click forward and if not, it gets deleted. It’s that simple for me. As my boys say, I cheat!

I’m really never sure just what is really being sought after in the question “What’s your workflow” because what I do isn’t going to work for everyone. 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 goal is all about.

Sharon & I are fresh back from the Grand Tetons. When I hit the office after being on the road for a week, I had 5k images from our trip all edited, renamed, filed and backed up. This is because I have a market for those images as soon as I hit a reliable internet. From clients, the blog and presentations, they were on their way out. The only way I could make that all happen was to have the images edited, renamed, filed and backed up prior to hitting the office. The end goal of my images is to share them, get them out and this can only be done if all the backend work is completed.

What’s the nuts and bolts of making this happen for me? Well, I told you the first, I only take those images I like. The other is having the hardware and software that permit me to click as fast as my finger will go. Understand the vast majority of my editing (edit means going through images deciding which to keep or delete. Finish means going into the digital darkroom) work is done on the road using the Mac Retina. It simply screams, is small, light and highly efficient and that’s critical. At the end of a shoot I plug in the XQD card from the D5 or Z7 (my primary bodies) and there I keep the speed going. Shooting the Lexar 128GB XQD card, I only need to plug in the one card to a Lexar Reader because 128GB pretty much holds an entire day shoot. I might have a SD cards from the D850 from shooting video. These two are large Lexar 256GB SD cards and go into the SD slot on the Retina. All of this adds up to one thing for me, speed! Cause with all of this, all I need to do when I launch Photo Mechanic, the only DAM that flies as fast as I can click, is once launched hit Cmd (Ctrl) G which brings up the Ingest dialogue, select all the cards I have loaded and hit Ingest. Photo Mechanic is radically fast that before I can blink, all the images and videos are ingested. I use settings in Photo Mechanic to speed everything up, little things like Erasing and Undocking the XQD / SD card when upload is completed to inserting IPTC info. I make the tools work for me so I can get to the images, fast.

Then it’s time to edit the images or as I think of it, delete those that are not sharp. I hit the F key twice in Photo Mechanic which puts the images in full-screen mode. Then I just click forward as fast as I can. In doing this, you see the out of focus real fast. I normally go past the out of focus image I’m clicking so fast which is part of the process. I click back to the out of focus image which permits me to double check, then I delete it and keep moving forward (you can use Cmd (Ctrl) Z to zoom in). 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 see those tagged images above, they are in red). You can customize the toolbar in Photo Mechanic 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/filed to their appropriate folders when they are renamed. And now with the IoSafe 1515+, I can access that from anywhere to speed up this process which includes uploading really important files I want to be protected. That’s my workflow.

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 CC2019. I use 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. Using the 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 a Save As is performed, 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 2Tb 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. Probably more than you wanted but hope it helps.

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