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Hello

I am a new contributor to Alamy and wondered if anyone could recommend a suitable workflow to prepare my pictures to pass the required Alamy QC.

 

I shoot RAW files using a Canon 6D. Then do all my post processing in Lightroom.

 

Richard

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I suggest you avail yourself of some free LR videos on the Internet.

 

I am a Lightroom simpleton. I do not use the cataloging feature. I download my images from the card to a newly created folder on my computer desktop. I look at the files in PS and cull.

What's left, I import into LR and individually adjust each and every one. Open the file into PS where I do anything requiring layers, crop, inspect the final result at 100-200%. Save to tiff, keyword, then save a JPEG back to the folder and another copy to a folder marked "ALAMY 125" or whatever the upload is numbered. Delete the tiff.

There are a lot more things that can be done with LR than what I do, so watch the videos.

 

Betty

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I do use the catalogue. Import without moving from Picasa with some presets depending on the type of image, letting auto tone do its thing usually, then individual work if needed and export to a holding folder during QC. Then they go into a submissions folder. I don't use RAW , and rarely use PS, so not tiff stage.

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Not sure that you need to do anything very special in LR to get your first images through QC. Just ensure that they are properly exposed in the first place, sharp, not grainy and free from camera shake.Subject matter not important provided that they are not all the same. Use a tripod and take some static views in good light.

 

Be sure to check your images at actual pixels size for dust marks or defects. 

 

I use LR to keyword my photos,  and for raw conversion, but do most of my adjustment in PS. For straightforward images of the sort needed to pass QC initially virtually any software should do the trick, for example Canon's own DPP.

Edited by Bryan

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When I import into LR I choose from one of a few presets I have set up which automatically do things like select the correct lens profile and camera profile. I have three. Standard, Landscape and Portrait. I also have a metadata preset and I also add the obvious keywords on import.

 

The images I want to submit are then adjusted individually in the develop module. I then export using a preset that I have for Alamy (turns off export sharpening etc). I export as a TIFF then open in PS.

 

In PS I do a second dust spot check as I find the Lightroom one sometimes misses some even in B & W mode. I do a final 100% check scrolling through the image. I then add more keywords and save as a TIFF for archive and then a JPG for upload.

 

Some people think the TIFF stage is unnecessary however it does have a few benefits. Mainly it is a good way of making me do a final image check before uploading. Often I'll do the Lightroom part one day and the PS part the next. Seeing the image with refreshed eyes helps.  I also find it easier to scroll through an image in PS.

 

Michael

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I do use the catalog to sort my images. I import putting my RAW files on one external hard drive and a copy to another one. I find the stars and label color useful in my sorting. These things are very personal and I'm sure a lot of people use the stars to indicate how good the image is. I don't. I give one star to images I want to register with the copyright office. Then add one after I send them to make my registered images two stars. If an image has been worked on it gets a third and uploaded to Alamy a fourth. Then accepted images have five stars. I have smart collections that automatically sort by number of stars. I won't go into the color label part but you probably get the idea. I work on images in the Develop module and my final step before submitting is to go over each image at 100% to check for flaws. I sometimes use Nik software on an image but don't use Photoshop.

 

Paulette

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Thank you all for your advice so far.

If I am working only in Lightroom, is it OK to save from RAW to JPEG. Some of you mention saving to TIFF first, why is this?

 

Richard

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Thank you all for your advice so far.

If I am working only in Lightroom, is it OK to save from RAW to JPEG. Some of you mention saving to TIFF first, why is this?

 

Richard

Yes.

Further work in PS would be done on a tiff copy. If you export straight away it's not needed unless you want an edited backup.

Edited by spacecadet

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You'll be fine. Sometimes i wind up with a TIFF because Lightroom makes one in order to go to the NIK software. If I have only worked in Lightroom I go right to Export and use a preset that I have for Alamy. The preset is useful if, like me, you are likely to forget what you have done in the past. Just set it up to export jpegs and make that a preset that you can use each time.

 

Paulette

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If I am working only in Lightroom, is it OK to save from RAW to JPEG. Some of you mention saving to TIFF first, why is this?

 

Richard

 

JPEGs use a lossy compression algorithm which means that they can lose quality each time they are saved. If you are not intending to further edit in Photoshop or some other program, then exporting straight to JPEG is fine. For those who do additional work in Photoshop, then saving in a non-lossy format such as TIFF or PSD, which I prefer, is wise. Alamy's original guidance refers to working on TIFFs and comes from a time before Lightroom when most people post-processed in Photoshop or Elements.

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I only use Lightroom so my RAWs can always be revisited. They remain in my catalog with their xmp files that hold my adjustments. I do save the jpegs I send Alamy -- just leave them in their folder in Pictures -- but I don't use those for any reworking. Not sure what the OP has in mind for saving work.

 

Paulette

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Guest

Hello

I am a new contributor to Alamy and wondered if anyone could recommend a suitable workflow to prepare my pictures to pass the required Alamy QC.

 

I shoot RAW files using a Canon 6D. Then do all my post processing in Lightroom.

 

Richard

 

For basic work, the only thing in LR really to be careful of is noise reduction.....you probably should avoid using it as much as you can.

 

My workflow for straightforward images is really simple in LR. Download to a folder on the desktop, import to LR. Choose the ones to work on. I use a basic preset for non-property images which adds clarity/vibrance/saturation plus ticks the CA box and will enable lens profiles. It also leaves the default sharpening as is i.e. 25 etc etc. So manually all I do is set the white balance and work the sliders for black/white point plus highlights/shadows plus any global colour adjustments. F2 will let me rename and that's it for LR.

 

I do all my contrast/curves adjustments in Photoshop as well as well as using the upright tools (there are far superior ones in Photoshop than in LR), all healing cloning etc done in CC as, again, far better tools and use of layers.

 

I really do like to be able to work between the two softwares. For my exterior property work I like to use the lazy 'Punch' in Lightroom but as a layer in PS so that I can control the amount - same for adding grain to CGI images.

 

Most of the issues for passing QC are in the taking of the image, far less so in the processing of the image, save for overuse of NR and simply missing things like dust spots and CA (LR does a pretty good job automatically provided you are using decent lenses).

 

As for saving images, I'm old school......it's TIFFs/PSDs plus raws for archiving other than for a big chunk of my commercial work where the finished jpegs are the only things I keep (the raws are dumped) to save space and the fact that outside of promo work on my website, I can't use the images for anything else.

 

If LR is your only tool, I would advise the old adage from film days of 'get it right in camera' as much as you can. You are limited in various adjustments without using layers, it's worth taking into account what you can't do in LR (or do well) when shooting.

 

EDIT - I do use the catalog, it's actually why I bought LR in the first place as my previous DAM methods were pretty poor. Great piece of software for tracking images at agencies either via flags or non-exported kws. As for keywording, I do some in LR and some in File info in Photoshop - both have advantages/drawbacks.

 

Since I use the HDR merge in LR a lot, I have turned off the GPU performance which came with LRCC.

 

HTH.

Edited by Guest

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Five stars? I keep that rating for the (few) pictures I'd like to survive me . . .

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I have a similar workflow to Geoff. I have default settings which are applied to the raw files on import, including CA removal and vibrance (saturation I leave at 0 as a default). I use the basic sliders to get the exposure, highlights and shadows right and I use the curves in traditional mode as I am used to using curves and find it gives the best control over whole-image contrast. In addition to the basic sliders, I use the grad filter a lot. This is not only very useful for darkening skies in landscapes, but can also be used for lightening or darkening large areas of images in a subtle or not so subtle way. I often use it as a kind of coarse dodging and shading tool. The grad filter reduces or even completely removes the need to do selective darkening or lightening in Photoshop. However, I open all raws as 16-bit, Adobe RGB, into Photoshop for detailed examination, spotting etc, and often do a bit of selective contrast modification using curves adjustment layers, depending on the image. I save images as 8-bit PSD as Photoshop handles layered PSD files much better than TIFF if further editing is required.

 

As for noise reduction, a small amount of color NR is essential (25, 50, 50). I shoot mostly at low ISO but, if I go up to 400 or higher, I find some luminance NR is essential as well. If I do black and white, then luminance NR is essential at all ISO settings when converting raw images to B&W. This is particularly the case for landscapes with blue skies, presumably because the blue channel is intinsically very noisy. I discovered this not so long ago when I started to do a lot of B&W. But I do use the minimum NR possible as it does cause softening of images

Edited by MDM

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Guest

As for noise reduction, a small amount of color NR is essential (25, 50, 50). I shoot mostly at low ISO but, if I go up to 400 or higher, I find some luminance NR is essential as well. If I do black and white, then luminance NR is essential at all ISO settings when converting raw images to B&W. This is particularly the case for landscapes with blue skies, presumably because the blue channel is intinsically very noisy. I discovered this not so long ago when I started to do a lot of B&W. But I do use the minimum NR possible as it does cause softening of images

 

I agree with this, my previous comment about NR should really be about anything much above the default setting to colour NR in LR which are part of my presets....not throught I must say a conscious decision on NR but more just not being bothered to change them when setting up the presets.

 

Having a 5D2 as opposed to something newer and shinier, I don't mind a little lumpiness to skies and will often add noise to masks and filtered layers to add texture to images.

 

BTW, the new CC 2015 out today has added the Mercury graphics to healing/spotting/fills...... vvvroooom.... :D

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As for noise reduction, a small amount of color NR is essential (25, 50, 50). I shoot mostly at low ISO but, if I go up to 400 or higher, I find some luminance NR is essential as well. If I do black and white, then luminance NR is essential at all ISO settings when converting raw images to B&W. This is particularly the case for landscapes with blue skies, presumably because the blue channel is intinsically very noisy. I discovered this not so long ago when I started to do a lot of B&W. But I do use the minimum NR possible as it does cause softening of images

 

Having a 5D2 as opposed to something newer and shinier, I don't mind a little lumpiness to skies and will often add noise to masks and filtered layers to add texture to images.

 

BTW, the new CC 2015 out today has added the Mercury graphics to healing/spotting/fills...... vvvroooom.... :D

 

I was really surprised when I discovered how bad my skies looked in B&W even at ISO 100, as I am using D800 cameras and the noise control is generally excellent at low ISO. This sky noise is not noticeable in colour at low ISO but becomes even more apparent when converted to 8-bit B&W. So I had to completely rework existing 8-bit PSDs from scratch as raw files. There are alternatives in Photoshop of course but I think the best quality B&W is obrtained by converting the raw and working in 16-bit in PS. Again, I had never really noticed any difference betwenn 16 and 8 bit in colour but it is very obvious in B&W.

 

As for the new CC2015, I'm still on PSCS6 but I might be finally tempted to subscribe if it does make a difference in speed. I do wish they would do something meaningful for the LR graphics.

Edited by MDM

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Five stars? I keep that rating for the (few) pictures I'd like to survive me . . .

 

I think if I used stars to indicate how good the image is I'd spend WAY too much time deciding. Too much deciding to do anyway. I use them to let me know where I am in my workflow. Then I'm just left with the problem of images I know I should delete but can't bear to do it. I give them a yellow label and wait until I come to my senses. That may happen one day.  :(

 

Paulette

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Thank you all for your help so far, some great tips which I will put into practice this weekend to prepare my initial four images.

 

Can anyone recommend export settings from Lightroom for optimum quality and image size please.

 

Richard

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jpeg quality 90, resize long edge 4500px, do not enlarge (so you don't enlarge cropped images inadvertently- can cause QC failures.)

Edited by spacecadet

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Guest

Thank you all for your help so far, some great tips which I will put into practice this weekend to prepare my initial four images.

 

Can anyone recommend export settings from Lightroom for optimum quality and image size please.

 

Richard

 

For stock, I export jpegs in aRGB, at maximum quality, and have the resizing unchecked, so unless cropped I am using the native file size. Since I have superfast broadband, upload time is not an issue. Also make sure that output sharpening is unchecked i.e. no output sharpening.

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I do not resize at all unless I have cropped down to less than 3000 on the long size. I admit I don't understand what Mr. Spacecadet has proposed in regards to resizing. It looks like he is saying to resize then saying not to. No?

 

Paulette

 

Edit:  Ok. Now I think I see. He resizes down but not up. Is that it?

Edited by NYCat

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I do not resize at all unless I have cropped down to less than 3000 on the long size. I admit I don't understand what Mr. Spacecadet has proposed in regards to resizing. It looks like he is saying to resize then saying not to. No?

 

Paulette

 

Edit:  Ok. Now I think I see. He resizes down but not up. Is that it?

Yes. There is a tickbox in LR. Upsizing is never needed nowadays of course.

The slight (in my case less than 15%) downsize was suggested by John M. as an aid to passing QC so I tried it. Now the minimum size is down again it might as well stay.

Edited by spacecadet

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My first post, so I'm not sure if this is the correct place to pose this related query.  I am moving from Aperture to Lightroom, as pushed by Apple. My issue is being certain after cropping that I am meeting the size Alamy criteria, as the newly downloaded Lightroom and Photoshop DO NOT include the TIFF format, hence unable to check the image against the 17MB Tiff criteria. Am I OK just to check that the pixel count before exporting as high quality jpeg is over the 6 million level?  I am using DX Nikons so sensor size is no issue.

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My first post, so I'm not sure if this is the correct place to pose this related query.  I am moving from Aperture to Lightroom, as pushed by Apple. My issue is being certain after cropping that I am meeting the size Alamy criteria, as the newly downloaded Lightroom and Photoshop DO NOT include the TIFF format, hence unable to check the image against the 17MB Tiff criteria. Am I OK just to check that the pixel count before exporting as high quality jpeg is over the 6 million level?  I am using DX Nikons so sensor size is no issue.

 

You can check the file size (pixel dimensions) of any file type in Photoshop using the Image Size dialog. And yes, multiplying the megapixel size by 3 will give you the pixel dimensions of an 8-bit image so 6 megapixels is adequate as read in Lightroom.

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In Lightroom I just take a look at the Metadata panel on the right to check the pixel dimensions after cropping. The long side needs to be at least 3000. Also, you can choose all sorts of info to appear as an overlay in loupe mode. Check that out. it can be useful and after you set up a couple of versions you can press "i" to cycle through your choices.

 

Paulette

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