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08-24-2010, 03:20 PM   #1
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Workflow advice, please?

I have only had my camera for about a month and already I am collecting quite a gallery of photographs. I am, I think, reasonably good at weeding out the ones I dont like, or that have technical problems (such as I can discern) or just didn't work for whatever reason. But, given that I am new to this I am erring on the side of caution and inevitably I am keeping more than I need to. With the workflow I am using though I am ending up with triplicates and quadruplicates of the ones I have worked on and want to definitely keep.

My workflow goes something like this.

1) I am shooting RAW, and as I take shots I delete the ones, in camera, that are definitely out of focus, or tests shots.

2) Then I download the days folder to a folder I call DNG's on a portable hard drive.

3) I go through the shots using Irfanview and get rid of the ones that again I can say are defintely not worth keeping. I might end up with four of five similar shots of each subject, with different exposures or focus points or slightly different framing.

4) Then I open up the Pentax Digital Camera Utliity, and I mess with white balance and or exposure, and sometimes sharpen.

5) Then I save that shot as an 8 bit tiff, into a folder I call 'From PDCU'

6) I open the tiff in Photoshop 7, and crop and adjust and layer and mess mess mess.

7) Then I save that as a psd into a folder I call 'From Photoshop'.

8) I also save a tiff to the same folder, for archive.

9) For some of them I save a scaled down jpg so I can upload it to show on this site.

10) If I want to print the shot out I use the tiff.

Any comments on this work flow? Any tips on managing what I can see has the potential for building up into a mountain of photos very quickly?

I know a more recent version of Photoshop would enable me to work on the RAW file, thus cutting out the need for the tiff conversion in step 5, but I dont have the option at the moment of upgrading.

Is it better to use the PDCU to sharpen, or is this better done in Photoshop? Should I sharpen at the end of any pp or should this be the first step in PP?

Thnaks for any words of wisdom.

08-24-2010, 04:07 PM   #2
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I seem to to have a very simple work flow by comparison, with much more automation.

1) For personal stuff I shoot PEF RAW.
2) Upload into Adobe Bridge which fires up as I insert SD card in to reader, after a couple of clicks, it puts images into a RAW directory, with folders sorted by date, where I can then view, select, delete, adjust levels, curves etc.
3) Any further processing done with Adobe CS3, for me sharpening always done as last step in PP, then saved as PSD, TIFF or JPEG depending what's required, in easy identifiable directories.
4) Automated backup to external drives and off site storage, only after backups completed, do I delete SD cards.

Many of my work flow tasks can and are automated in Bridge which can be applied across whole directories or folders of images.

At the end of the day it's what works for you , for me time is always a big issue, so my simplified and automated flow works for me.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 08-24-2010 at 04:20 PM.
08-24-2010, 04:12 PM   #3
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Best way to avoid dups is to do all your work on the original RAW, not generating TIFF's or PSD unless there is *specific* reason to need it. PPL is not really conducive to this because it forces you to convert to another format just to save your work. Applications with more modern design let you simply do all your work on the original RAW file without converting, automatically saving all of your processing settings for you. Then the only time you ever need to generate a second copy of the file is to if you want JPEG to share with others. I actually generate reduced resolution (and hence much smaller in file size) JPEG's for all my "keepers" (maybe 40% of my images) to keep on my laptop hard drive, then the original RAW files are archived away on an external drive. So all I ever have for most of my images is the RAW; for the keepers, I'll also have a reduced resolution (1200x1800) JPEG. I've probably generated less than a dozen TIFF's in my life.
08-24-2010, 04:32 PM   #4
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If you are using Photoshop 7 (not Elements, which I know nothing about capabilities), you should be able to view your DNG files in Bridge and use ACR to open your files, thereby avoiding a lot of what you are doing.
Once you are done with post processing, if you are saving 8 bit files anyway, just save the images as the biggest jpeg you can if you need to save storage space.
You will run into a lot of Lightroom fans here (Marc S being one of them). Lightroom would be chief of the more modern programs he is talking about.
Lightroom is an excellent program for keeping track of images and has enough editing capabilities to keep many users happy, but if you are used to Photoshop (even 7), Lightroom will seem lightweight by comparison.

08-24-2010, 04:39 PM   #5
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You already received some good advice. I am an amateur working often outdoor and hence I have a different, simpler workflow.

I shot primarily JPEG (and sometimes RAW DNG).

I transfer the files to my computer on a daily basis and I use PDCU to check which photos I keep.

Then I post-processs these photos with PDCU. I tend to PP manually as I rarely apply the smae settings to several shots.

The only additional component of my workflow is that I generate a text file with some detailed, technical information on the shots, incl. location, date, key features, ... For example, I shoot a lot of rivers and I need to keep a lot of details on the exact locaiton, but also the river stage and discharge, some unusal features, ..... I tend to generate one text file per geographic location.

I keep my photographs per geographical location: Country/region/city . This allows me to compare more easily shots taken at different dates.

Hope that the input wil assist....
08-24-2010, 04:57 PM   #6
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Get PEFs onto computer.
Delete duds with Pentax Photo Browser.
Batch rename IMGP to YYMMDD with Flexible Renamer 8.1.
For near dupes, "extract a jpg" with Photo Browser and compare in a different and more convenient viewer (EmberMax).
Delete extra near-dupe PEFs and all extracted jpgs.
Add short description to file names.
PP with Elements v6.
Compare and delete the marginal images.
Save PEFs, Elements xmp files and converted jpgs to 2 (actually 3 at the moment) external hard drives (used to be 1 HD and 2 sets of DVDs...).
Keep copy of jpgs on desktop hard drive in folders by date.
Upload most images to Photobucket at 50% size.

Last edited by SpecialK; 08-25-2010 at 08:23 PM.
08-24-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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Very interesting to see everyone's different workflows, whenever there's a thread like this Here's mine, which is aimed at minimal number of photos for me to edit (I can't over use my wrists, so I have to choose carefully how much to edit) and at dumping unneeded DNGs to conserve hard drive space (it may be cheap, but I still have hundreds of gigs already!):

* I shoot in DNG+JPEG - that way if I get a "snapshot" quality pic (worth having, but not worth spending time editing) I have a jpeg already. If I've captured something worth editing, I have the RAW for it.

* download from the camera via Picasa, sorted by date.

* review the photos in Picasa (which can read DNG files, very handy) and start deleting. Since Picasa can show me my photos full screen, I can really see what's worth working on and what's not.

* Once I've eliminated all the obvious misses (OOF, bad composition/exposure/whatever) I make my next pass. If a pic is snapshot quality, I delete the DNG. If a pic is worth editing, I delete the in-camera JPEG. If I've got multiple photos of the same setting (I usually shoot a couple to be sure of good focus), I can easily see which one is the keeper, so I'll dump all the unnecessary duplicates at this point.

* Any DNGs left are worthy of my time I start with the ones that are going to be the easiest to tweak, so that I'll know what works best for those same lighting conditions on the more difficult photos I took at the same time/place.

* Open the DNG in Elements and adjust fill light, highlights & any white balance issues there. Next I use some judicious unsharp mask & overlay techniques. And if I want special effects, I use Nik Software for the fun goodies If I make up any workflows in Nik that give me something spectacular, I document all the settings involved & make presets for it.

* I save as a full size jpeg (my jpeg naming system gives me a quick shorthand for what processes I used, so I can recreate them if I want to generate another jpeg with some different tweaks). If the photo is one I consider Best In Show, I keep the DNG as a back-up or to use new techniques on in the future.

* I back up all my DNGs and jpegs onto an external hard drive. It's not a question of if your main computer hard drive will fail, people, it's only a question of when! Back it up!

* Upload any salable prints to SmugMug
08-24-2010, 08:55 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I'm lazy so I have a very simple workflow

1) Import all my RAW/DNG's into an Aperture managed library.
2) Rate & adjust images as required within Aperture
3) Post "keepers" online from within Aperture

ummmm....

4) that's it folks

08-25-2010, 02:51 AM   #9
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Original Poster
(I only just saw that there is a separate forum for questions like this, but since this thread is on the go already I'll ask the questions here if thats ok)

Thanks for the input, I guess we all find the way that makes sense for ourselves.

Just a couple of comments -

Unless someone knows different I dont think Bridge is available for Photoshop 7 - it was introduced with CS2 i think, and the same with ACR. So for the moment I have to use PDCU to do any initial tweaking.

For the images I am making at the moment I tend to see the DNG's as the starting point, the final image will only come out of various experiments and manipulations in PS. I use PS for things like cloning out, creating layered effects, creating black and white images, etc which I find either easier in PS or not possible in PDCU - which is also pretty slow and clunky - although I am still figuring out how to use it effectively.

I am getting some images ready for an exhibition - any advice on the best format to take to a printer? - the original DNG (if I haven't needed to do any substantial pp)? a psd? or tiff? As I understand it a tiff is lossless, so I dont think a jpeg would be good enough for exhibition purposes. The prints will all be at A4 size.

Thanks
08-25-2010, 04:31 AM   #10
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I see in your profile you are using a K-7. Those are 12 bit RAW files, and you are saving to 8 bit TIFF in PDCU. That's far from "lossless", you are throwing away a lot of valuable information with those bits.
If you you don't want to spend the money on a newer version of Photoshop, I would recommend getting Photoshop Elements so you can convert your RAW's with Adobe camera RAW, or use one of the other RAW converters available
08-25-2010, 06:40 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I'm lazy so I have a very simple workflow

1) Import all my RAW/DNG's into an Aperture managed library.
2) Rate & adjust images as required within Aperture
3) Post "keepers" online from within Aperture

ummmm....

4) that's it folks



^^^^^^^^^^^^
Yeah, that.
08-25-2010, 08:33 AM   #12
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in case anyone is interested...

Around my neck is my K20D. In my pocket is my 5mpx Sony DSC-V1, or maybe the 1mpx DSC-P20 or 5mpx DSC-P10, or the IR-modded 5mpx Minolta F300, or the 7mpx Olympus 770 SW if I'm underwater. Depending on subject and time, I shoot with what's appropriate. (I'm more likely to shoot funny signs and license plates etc with a P&S, also panos.) Maybe I'm also recording sounds on my Zoom PS-02 ministudio. During shooting, I'm likely to chimp for losers: out-of-focus, terrible light, no subject, etc.

I get home. All the memory cards (SD, XD, SM, MS) go into a Sandisk ImageMate multicard reader. Each card contains a common script so files are renamed per camera and moved to its receiving folder on my H:CAM drive, a 2TB Seagate set up as a RAID I for instant backup. If I'm on the road, image files are copied (not moved) onto a laptop's drive daily, and burnt to DVD, to be moved to the H:CAM drive when I get home.

Now I look through the receiving folders with the XnView browser and sh!tcan more losers. Then I move the survivors to their daily folders, organized (mostly) by year, month, day, item. 'Item' may mean test shots with a specific lens, or an event (party, parade, promotion, etc) or product shoot or museum or village or whatever. And now I'm ready to start working on the images.

I develop RAW PEF's from the K20D in PentaxPhotoLab3, saved as JPG's. All surviving JPG's from all cameras are write-protected; copies are worked on in PaintShopPro9. I process IR shots from the F300 and DSC-V1 to restore or suppress color; I edit all JPG's for the colors and contrasts and compositions I want. I use AutoStitch to glue together panoramas and matrices. Then I select images for further torture and mayhem. I may use AnimationShop3 to build... animations. Those sounds I captured? I'll torture and abuse those in Audacity. AV materials may go into Magix Video7 for further torment.

Workflow is a bit simpler with scanned images. I'll load family albums, postcards, etc onto the Canon MP-190's plate and scan at appropriate resolution, saved as JPG's, and edit them in PSP9 for restoration. Scanned images go into a separate folder tree from my workin photos. These might be burnt to CD as slideshows for appreciative relatives, maybe with sound effects. Oh yeah, I still need to get a negative / slide scanner. Oh boy, more stuff to copy...

OK, I've filtered out the losers and optimized the keepers. The winners go under the knife again in PSP9, the size and compositions etc adjusted as needed, then are sent to the Canon S9000 printer for hardcopy up to 13" / 33cm wide, or to the MP-190 for simple prints up to legal size. Disposition after this is non-photographic, thus beyond the scope of this post.

And there you have it. Read and forget.

Last edited by RioRico; 08-25-2010 at 08:38 AM.
08-25-2010, 10:22 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
You will run into a lot of Lightroom fans here (Marc S being one of them). Lightroom would be chief of the more modern programs he is talking about.
Actually, while LR is indeed the most well-known of these program, and I would consider myself a fan, I should observe that it's not what I use. I use ACDSee Pro. Aperture, Bibble, and Lightzone are the other main programs that use this type of model. But really, even Photoshop has it, via ACR. If I owned Photoshop, I'd still personally use that same exact type of workflow - using ACR and not Photoshop proper - most of the time. Only a rare few images would ever make it into Photoshop proper, which helps explain why I don't consider it worth the money for myself. But as you said, if you are accustomed to the feature that PS provides over and above ACR - and there are a *lot* of such features - and tend to use those features regularly, then indeed, the type of workflow I describe will seem quite limiting. Depends on what you tend to do with your images.

Still, you can avoid the intermediate TIFF step and take your ACR-adjusted RAW images directly into Photoshop. That right there is all the reason I'd need to dump PPL if I were using Photoshop (there would be plenty other reasons too). But that does require a relatively recent version of Photoshop - one bundled with ACR and support for your camera's RAW files.
08-25-2010, 10:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I'm lazy so I have a very simple workflow

1) Import all my RAW/DNG's into an Aperture managed library.
2) Rate & adjust images as required within Aperture
3) Post "keepers" online from within Aperture

ummmm....

4) that's it folks
That's the essence of what I was getting at, too, except for one important thing - what do you do with all those RAW files? I don't have enough space on my laptop to keep all mine there, so I archive my RAW files on an external (networked) drive, but do generate those reduced resolution JPEG's so I have something to enjoy on my laptop full time. These JPEG's are more than big enough to post online, and just big for a 4x6" print at 300dpi, so I basically only need to return to my archived RAW files when I wish to print bigger.
08-25-2010, 10:42 AM   #15
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I really like this thread, because it allows us to see how everyone else does things. Also, it opens my eyes to other programs that I did not know existed. It lets me know that the world doesn't revolve around LR and Photoshop.

I take the card from the camera, and transfer the RAW files to an external harddrive. I put them in a folder which is named by the date the pictures were taken. For example, 082510.

From there, I drag them into LR. Delete what I don't want, process what I like and save.

Depending on what I plan to do with the image, I will export to Photoshop and go from there.

Export to full size JPEG's. In the dated folder with the RAW files, I make another folder called "JPEG" and put the JPEG's there. That way I have RAW and JPEG's together.

If I plan to upload to PF, Flickr, or anywhere else, I'll resize one of the JPEG's to a smaller size and save that smaller size in another folder that I keep on the desktop.

Once a month, I back up everything on my external harddrive with another external harddrive. Now I have duplicate harddrives in the event that one fails.
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