Workflow help please- will someone take me in hand ?

carolinecaroline Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
edited August 23, 2007 in Finishing School
My current workflow is a complete mess, you could say non-existent, inconsistent and totally random depending on how I feel at the time.
I've have many thousands of neatly filed and catalogued negs but my digital files spanning the past 8 years are in a real pickle.

I shoot raw on my 20D and also carry an A610 always so obviously those pics are jpegs and generally just personal memories rather than serious stuff, but I still need to be able to find them at a later date. I'm not an event or wedding photographer so I generally don't have huge numbers of images to deal with, I am a landscape & documentary photographer.

I'm a bit of a dinosaur with software - Photoshop CS, Lightroom, iPhoto (hangs head in shame) iView MediaPro. I've PS since version 3 so generally know my way around but I don't like a lot of post processing, just levels/curves, remove an unwanted zits and bits, crop, USM etc.

Currently I don't keyword anything until I have uploaded to Smugmug when I do it in bulk caption/keyword.

I don't have the time to go back over all my existing files but I can't go on as I am. I'm currently on G4 mac with OS 10.4 but thinking about to upgrade so i would like to start with a 'clean sheet'.

Anyone prepared to sort me out please ?

Caroline
Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

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Comments

  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,756 Major grins
    edited August 22, 2007
    So you have iView? Use it! deal.gif Take a look at The DAM Book for a lot of good information to help you manage those files. You have hit the point all digital photographers eventually do. Take the time to develop a good workflow, it's time well spent as you will save a lot later on.
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited August 22, 2007
    So you have iView? Use it! deal.gif Take a look at The DAM Book for a lot of good information to help you manage those files. You have hit the point all digital photographers eventually do. Take the time to develop a good workflow, it's time well spent as you will save a lot later on.

    Hi Chris, do you mean I could really just use iView ? If I could settle on using just a couple of apps that would be a start.

    Neabwhile I'll get hold of The DAM Book.

    Cheers
    Caroline
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

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  • Miguel DelinquentoMiguel Delinquento Happy As A Clam Registered Users Posts: 904 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    I used to use iView and switched to Lightroom several months ago.Lightroom is more powerful, provided enough cataloging functions for my requirements, and has allowed my CS2 usage to decline by 85%.
    iView, Lightroom, and iPhoto each will allow you to cleverly manage your images. Aperture too if you want to win the Grand Prix of Mac photo processing and image management software. The key is building DAM into the larger context of post-processing work, and doing so in a smart and efficient way. That sounds good but is very difficult for most mortals. I would outline a system on paper for organizing your digital files--it could replicate your film based system--and then take a very small subset of those files and create a "filing" system to test out each of your tools. Notice the learning curve. Pay attention to how the image management pieces behave with the post processing tools--even if they are the same application. It took me about 6 weeks of testing lots of tools to get where I am today--and my needs are not at the professional heavy production numbers levels at all.
    To me, digital photographic tools are just entering the adolescent phase of the workflow development lifecycle, so we have to suffer through several more years until software designers and users get smarter.
  • Artur C.Artur C. Divorce Photographer Registered Users Posts: 38 Big grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    Here is a simple scheme I've used that works for medium volume workflow. There are certainly better and more advanced techniques, but form a disk file structure this is what I've learned from others.

    Either on PC or Mac create a dedicated Photos folder:
    Create sub folders for a timeframe you shoot. For example May 06 or July 07. You can then sub divide each by week you shoot, if you shoot regularly or do what I do and create an event folder under that particular timeframe.

    I shoot almost exclusively RAW, so under each event I simply create a folder called Converted or CV. Once I'm done processing an image I simply save the file to that folder.

    This may seem complex but your disk tree will not expand to more then 3 levels depending on how many categories you create.

    This is simply the "storage" phase of the workflow. Workflow from the initial shot to the print stage varies from user to user and also depends on what application you feel comfortable with. I like the use of Adobe Bridge, then Photoshop (standard). While this system may not clean up an existing hard disk mess, it can be a very effective way to manage your hard drive and photos. Milage may vary for different users.

    Hope this helps a bit... it's only my humble opinion. GOOD LUCK!!!

    -Art
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    Thanks Art and Miguel for your input - I've been struggling with this for so long that its time to get it sorted, I can't see the wood for the trees :)

    Any more thoughts, keep them coming.
    Caroline
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

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  • claudermilkclaudermilk Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,756 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    LR and iView are two different tools. LR is one of those all-in-one apps with some cataloging, a RAW converter, etc, etc. Compared to iView the cataloging is quite lightweight. I tried LR a while back and absolutely hated it, I went back to my established workflow using IMatch (XP only, so unless you really want it & run it on an emulator, stick with iView). Try a few options and pick the one you like, as not all apps work for everyone (see my sparring with Andrew regarding LR around here :duel He likes it a lot, I think it's rubbish).

    Art's suggestion is a good one. It is basically what I do; on my data drive, I use the structure "Photography/YYYY/YYYYMM/YYYYMMDD-Shoot." Within each shoot, I have RAW, Working, and Done directories. My download utility automatically generates that structure based on EXIF timestamp data and my entered job name; it then files the images in the RAW directory--where they remain for all time. My other postprocesing apps save their output to Working or Done as appropriate.

    Another thing is filenaming. You will find that after a while it becomes cuymbersome trying to "name" a file based on content. I just use the EXIF timestamp to serialize the files like this: YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS--.. This does several things: a) it gives each file a unique name, b) it allows for sorting on filename, and c) it works with my versioning scheme.

    Hint: much of the above was cribbed from The DAM Book's suggestions.
  • arodneyarodney Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,005 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    The DAM book is a must read. You don't have to follow it to the letter (or even close) but it gets you thinking about how you want to organize everything. The idea of using buckets to store piles of images is most critical here. You simply can't store everything in one pile unless you don't shoot much.

    I'm using Lightroom and have everything now organized but it was a good deal of work. I have (now) three catalogs (libraries) each at aprox 50 gig buckets.

    I keep all related shoots in their own folder. So if I go to Photoshop World, that's one folder of images. When I shoot around where I live, I have a folder called Santa Fe. I have a folder called Dogs etc. I use Lightroom's Folder Name token to automatically update file names based on the folders. When I see (either in the finder or LR) Dogs_07_21_06_002.dng, I know its a shot of dogs, I know it was shot in 2007 (the 21st of June), its the 2nd image in that folder. Even if I have LR import directly into that folder, the rename will update to Dogs since this is the subject.

    Right now, the only issue is splitting up catalogs in buckets where I might have 100 dog images from 2006 in one catalog, 50 in another from 2007. I can export the first catalog, merge into the other if I want all dogs in one location. The issue is keeping the bucket size low since no matter what you do, they can get bigger to the point you can't back them up to an external drive.

    On location, I build a new folder and import, select picks, batch rename etc. Then export that folder as a catalog, import (update) on the main machine's catalog. Works perfectly.

    Then there's the issue of how many backups to have of all your catalogs and where. I have two external drives (160 gig's) I use if I want to work on images on the road. I have one in a fire proof safe. I like to keep all the catalogs and images off the laptop since drive space is lower than desktop however, you can store JUST the catalogs (not images) and at least view the work, soft, rank etc. You can't do anything in Develop since the images are off line. I have one catalog on the laptop which is a mix of hero images I exported so I can do demo work OR I just plug in the external Firewire drives and have access to all the images.

    At 160 gig max per FireWire external (bus powered). I can get 3 buckets or catalogs on each drive. Now I have a 2nd external drive for the 4th-6th set of catalogs that I'll eventually build.

    What I'd like to see in LR is the ability to share collections among catalogs. At least I'd know which images I want are off line and which catalog they reside in. For now, I just need to know which of the three catalogs an image I wish might reside.

    Ultimately this is like storing anything; paper work, your desktop etc. Find a system that works for you, be flexible until you find a plan that works, then stick with it. LR has totally changed how I handle and find images.
    Andrew Rodney
    Author "Color Management for Photographers"
    http://www.digitaldog.net/
  • carolinecaroline Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,302 Major grins
    edited August 23, 2007
    Thanks Chris and Andrew for this additional information, I've ordered the book, downloaded some serious reading in the form of iVew pdf's and bought a Luminous Landscape video guide to LR. I really appreciate the detail that everyone has given me and will get myself better informed.

    Cheers
    Caroline
    Mendip Blog - Blog from The Fog, life on the Mendips
    www.carolineshipsey.co.uk - Follow me on G+

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