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10-29-2011, 08:56 AM   #1
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Basic Lightroom Workflow?

Hi Guys,

I am just getting into shooting RAW and doing PP using Lightroom 3.5 w/ Niks Silver.

Forgive me if there are a billion threads and tutorials on this (I looked).

I had been shooting jpeg and doing minor edits in Picasa so I am familar with editing and correction on a basic level. I have processed some RAW files before but wanted to see what all you pros were doing

Can anyone give me a quick and dirty rundown of general PP workflow from RAW in lightroom? Or point me to a good resource?

I am looking for info such as:

-what generally "should" be done to an image from RAW
-is there a strict order to the process
-how far do I move the sharpening slider (or any other slider) for a RAW file, is there a general consensus on what is too little/too much for that sort of thing?
-other tips, strategies for a noob in PP

Thanks for your help!

10-29-2011, 09:06 AM   #2
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Generally you go from Library to Develop, and top to bottom in the adjustments.
How much of what adjustment varies by your gear and the shot, but I like to apply the punch preset to a lot of my images if I want strong colors and pop.
Then I'll adjust fill light, balance that with some blacks.
If necessary apply some color channel adjustments (like if the reds are blown or for example)
The punch preset does sharpening, so I rarely add more but I'll often do some noise reduction or sharpening next. Do these at 100% view to see what it's really doing.
Mostly I'll just add 10 or 20 to the top NR slider if there is visible noise (ISO 1600+) and not mess with the other ones unless it's a special case.
Then apply lens correction last because it slows down working with a file.
Finally export to Flickr, Facebook, Zenfolio, or the filesystem depending on what I'm doing with that image.

This will probably vary by user and by shot. I doubt there is a single "right" way to do all of this. It's pretty subjective.
10-29-2011, 09:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
Generally you go from Library to Develop, and top to bottom in the adjustments.
How much of what adjustment varies by your gear and the shot, but I like to apply the punch preset to a lot of my images if I want strong colors and pop.
Then I'll adjust fill light, balance that with some blacks.
If necessary apply some color channel adjustments (like if the reds are blown or for example)
The punch preset does sharpening, so I rarely add more but I'll often do some noise reduction or sharpening next. Do these at 100% view to see what it's really doing.
Mostly I'll just add 10 or 20 to the top NR slider if there is visible noise (ISO 1600+) and not mess with the other ones unless it's a special case.
Then apply lens correction last because it slows down working with a file.
Finally export to Flickr, Facebook, Zenfolio, or the filesystem depending on what I'm doing with that image.

This will probably vary by user and by shot. I doubt there is a single "right" way to do all of this. It's pretty subjective.
Thanks Matt thats the kind of info I was looking for.

I assume the various presets differ in exactly what they adjust (not all would sharpen for example?).

So a preset can act as sort of auto-adjustment setting that you merely need to tweak afterwards to your liking? (maybe with NR, sharpening, colour/contrast, etc)
10-29-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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Correct, every preset does something different. It's just a saved state of all the sliders. You can save your own presets too if you come up with a combination of settings you like to apply together. I have a preset I made for strong overhead midday light, like when I shoot a bike race in the middle of a sunny clear day. It's like punch, but with more fill light and a reduction in contrast. I found that I was applying punch and then more fill and lowering contrast over and over again for shoots like this so I applied the punch preset, changed the settings to my liking and saved that as a new preset. If you Google you can also find tons of presets made by other users. The possibilities are endless!

10-29-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
Correct, every preset does something different. It's just a saved state of all the sliders. You can save your own presets too if you come up with a combination of settings you like to apply together. I have a preset I made for strong overhead midday light, like when I shoot a bike race in the middle of a sunny clear day. It's like punch, but with more fill light and a reduction in contrast. I found that I was applying punch and then more fill and lowering contrast over and over again for shoots like this so I applied the punch preset, changed the settings to my liking and saved that as a new preset. If you Google you can also find tons of presets made by other users. The possibilities are endless!
Awesome, thanks for the info!
10-30-2011, 09:47 PM   #6
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Just want to add a couple of points:

* There is no rule or mandate about what you must do to a RAW file within Lightroom (or any other software). The same goes for any preset. In short, do what you need to do so the image looks the way you need or want it to. As Matt pointed out, he has his process based on how he wants his images to look. That is critical.

* There is no strict order to the process either, however you MIGHT want to correct any obvious issues first before you move into the creative stuff. For example, sharpening, cropping, white balancing, etc. You might start working on the image only to realize later it's not as sharp as you'd like it to be or can't be cropped as needed so you scrap it. Might as well find out sooner rather than later.

* Presets sometimes override some sliders, sometimes not. In this case, it pays to know the preset so that you're not wasting time. For example, you spend time adjusting white balancing, contrast, sharpness, and vignette, then apply a preset that changes all of that to some other value, resulting in you having to go back and readjust.

* Presets are also not always cumulative. In my experience, they rarely are. I typically reset the image back to default before applying a new preset. In this case, it too pays to know what a particular preset does before applying in case you want to stack presets.

For any given gig, I typically follow this process:

1) Manually import images from the card to my working drive, then from the working drive, I back them up to the network storage.

2) Create a new catalog for that project and import images on location (just adds them to the catalog from the work drive - no second copy needed). I work with individual catalogs, not with one huge catalog, as this allows me to easily backup/export catalogs to my network storage, bring them in at a later date.

3) Process images in 3 passes:
a) 1st pass - Delete completely black/badly OOF/ trigger-finger shots/blinks/etc images.
b) 2nd pass - working the images. As I work through the images, I start eliminating unnecessary duplicates and other unneeded images while selecting my 2nd round choices.
c) 3rd pass - I pick final images to include in the client preview. This involves my business partner/graphic designer wife and typically results in a few more images getting dropped.

4) Export a final catalog and upload proofs for client preview.
10-31-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
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Thanks George those are some good points
11-04-2011, 04:07 PM   #8
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Lightroom Killer Tips has lots of great stuff

here is one on sharpening Lightroom Sharpening Which Brush to use? Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips

cheers

11-09-2011, 05:57 PM   #9
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another work flow link
15 Photoshop Lightroom Tips and Tutorials to Enhance Your Workflow | Resources

cheers
11-09-2011, 06:32 PM   #10
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Scott Kelby writes some very informative books about Lightroom
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