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 images, 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.
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 Africa. When I hit the office after being on the road for a month, I had 23k images from our ten days in Africa edited, renamed, filed and backed up. This is because I had uses for those images as soon as I hit a reliable internet. From clients, the blog and presentations I was making. The only way I could make that all happen was to have the images edited, renamed, filed and backed up. 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? 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 CF card from the D4s (my primary body) and there I keep the speed going. Shooting the Lexar 256GB card, I only need to plug in the one card to a reader because 256GB pretty much holds an entire day shoot. I might have SD cards from the Df or D750. These too are Lexar 128GB cards and go into the extra SD slot in the Reader or in 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 are ingested. I use settings in Photo Mechanic to speed everything up, little things like Erasing and Undocking the CF 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 tool bar 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 protected. That’s new to 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 CC15. 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 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 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 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.