Every photographer has his own workflow that fits his style and requirement. The workflow starts from downloading the images to output either for print or web. It may look very simple but from the many photographers I’ve met, it is surprising to know that there are a number of variety they use to achieve almost the same output.
Clearly, the objective of having a workflow is efficiency. The less time you work in your computer, the more time you can shoot. Whether you’re shooting for a fee or just plain hobby, a workflow is a must. One way to test your workflow is to measure the time spent to finish processing a batch of photos.
A workflow normally includes importing and backup, sorting of photos, photo editing, retouching and lastly exporting. There’s a number of softwares available to cover the different task. There’s Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Aperture and iPhoto by Apple and Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits.
There’s more applications coming from the camera manufacturer themselves but often times neglected. Canon has a very good software named Digital Photo Professional while Nikon has the Capture NX2 and Capture one from a medium format camera, Phase One.
In my case, I normally use Lightroom to import my photos and sort them under library module. I do my editing and global color correction using the develop module. If the photo needs retouching, I use lightroom to launch Photoshop together with the file. I do the nitty-gritty task in Photoshop and saves it which automatically appears back in the lightroom catalog without importing it again.
In cases where photos would not require retouching, I normally stay in Lightroom. Whether I go to Photoshop or not, I always end up in Lightroom when exporting my photos as JPEG or TIFF file. It’s actually more faster exporting photos coming from different format such as layered PSD file, TIFF or Raw.
A photographer that I know uses Bridge as his browser and sorting application. He then edit his photos using Adobe Camera Raw and does his retouching in Photoshop. While lightroom is a much more efficient application, some photographer finds it difficult to adapt to it. Thus making them more efficient on using a software that matches their competence.
No matter what application you use, bottom line is efficiency. However, there’s one application that really caught my attention when it comes to speed, Photo Mechanic. This software is made by Camera Bits specifically for browsing and sorting photos only. The new version now offers cropping.
This software is blazingly fast. While Lightroom and Aperture is still loading the application itself, Photo Mechanics already shows you the Raw file ready for sorting. This application is designed for photographers shooting tons of photos with a very short turnover time. I think that wedding photographers and maybe photojourns can benefit from this software.
Review your workflow and improve them by exploring other applications out there. Keep on shooting everyone!
Text and photos by Albert Pedrosa