Workflow of Photo Editing

Basics

Make plans before starting that what you want to do and what would be best way to achieve that. If possible, write down your plans to paper or somewhere else so that you still could remember them on the location and still after gig when you are editing photos.


Archiving

First, transfer photos to computer, most likely with some USB-cable or memory card reader. It would be best to create directory structure with meaningful information about content and date of photos.

I mostly use directory structure like this:

Photos --> 2007-01-28 --> name-of-event

Adding metadata (and why you should do it)

Do it. You will thank yourself later if you for example need to find some image of someone/something from big amount of photos (like in my example: over 100 Gigabytes of RAW files). Metadata can be used as keyword when searching for something specific. Write descriptions. Use it. Again, it's good thing to write descriptions when you still remember what was happening.


Basic editing with Camera RAW converter (inside Bridge)

Really useful thing is that you can edit images directly inside Bridge without even opening Photoshop. What makes it possible is build-in Camera RAW file converter that allows you to make many basic and advanced changes like changing features of light's colours depending of what kind of colours you want to use and what were lightening conditions of your photo.

Editing JPEG files with Camera RAW

It's also possible to use RAW converter to edit JPEG and TIFF image files. Good side is that you can apply same converter presets to different file formats. Limiting things seems to be just that you don't have same amount of data available when compared to RAW file from camera (you can see difference when for example trying to underexpose too much overexposed JPEG image).

Converting images with Camera RAW

You should use some lossless file format like TIFF (mostly together with LZW compression) so that part image data is not lost on every save (like what happens with JPEG).


Editing (inside Photoshop)

After you have converted your RAW image and opened it in Photoshop (or opened converted file if you choose to save images directly to files in RAW converter) you can do whatever you want to...

I often do some basic edits and after that add some of the basic sets of Adjustment Layers to get desired look for image. Of course, you could (and most probably should) do things like toning in RAW converter if you need same kind of colours in more than few photos from set, but otherwise you could add it also as layer set. Anyways, whatever is your preference, adding some sort of basic adjustments often helps much in finishing look you want to achieve.

Create simple set of basic adjustments that can be added to images. (You can and should also do part of same thing with Camera RAW converter Presets.) Different looks require different adjustments but some of the basic things like getting right kind of contrast and colour tones can be made more easily and faster this way (instead of doing all over again every time you do something again). I sometimes adjust Opacity of layer (or even whole layer set) to get right kind of mix for specific image (if there is difference in brightness or something like that). After that I look if there is some possible corrections that should be applied beyond that...


Postwork

Creating different file versions

Best way for big amounts of conversions is using either Actions (together with Batch) or Image Processor.

Resizing image

For example you may want to create smaller version of image for use in website. That can be done in Photoshop using Edit --> Image Size (Alt+Ctrl+I). Just make sure you don't save over original file!


Other subjects

Creating macros (Actions)

You can create Actions to fasten up your workflow to make basic or advanced edits in automated or semi-automatic way. Those can involve almost anything that could be done with most of the tools in Photoshop. It's just something you should learn if you do much work with editing photos because with Actions you can save much time if you often need to repeat same kind of things.

Creating simple photo gallery

Information still to come...


Copyright 2007 Daniel Schildt (d2s). All rights reserved.

changed December 20, 2007