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I've noticed that a lot of people are looking to improve or just change their workflow, maybe streamline things so they can work faster. Me, I don't run for buses anymore, so a very fast workflow is not my priority. (I'm also not looking for a very slow workflow.  :) )

 

For those of you who are willing to share the step-by-step of your workflow, please do. I'll begin with how I shoot Nikon RAW files and get to the point where I upload the jpeg to Alamy. Later on I'll outline what I do with Sony NEX RAW files. Please understand that this is not a lecture or even a lesson. In fact some of you may get a laugh out of my step-by-step.  

 

I shoot Nikon NEF (RAW) files without a jpeg. The in-camera sharpening is on normal. I use the Nikon cable to move the RAW files from the camera via Nikon Transfer to ViewNX2. I look at the take in ViewNX2 and mark the ones I like with one star. When that's done, I pull down the first thumbnail into Capture NX2. Depending on the image, I might do some tweaking in U-Points, opening shadows, maybe changing a color, this and that. I Save the NEF than Save As a tiff to my desktop. I than drag and drop the tiff into CS5. Here I try Auto-contrast and Auto-color. Half the time that improves the look and half the time it does not. I Back-step when it does not. I enlarge the image to 100% and do what always turns out to be a lot of tiresome spotting. I write a short caption in Description, change the number of my file, change the mode to 8-bits, Save and than Save As a jpeg and place it in my >>Alamy folder to upload. I do the key wording on each image when it passes QC. 

 

Have I left anything out? I'm sure I have.  :rolleyes:

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1) Shoot RAW (DNG)

2) Using card reader import into Lightroom

3) During import, apply develop preset with minor clarity and vibrance adjustments; and a metadata preset with copyright info and sometimes basic keywords

4) First sort: mark for deletion any obvious junk, duplicates etc

5) Step through remaining images in Develop Module, tweak as needed, (levels, cropping, white balance).  Mark for deletion anything not acceptable; mark 'green' developed ready to keyword

6) In Library Module add title and headline, location info if not in GPS data; generally this is all the same for all images in a batch so only needs type once for all images

7) Enter captions for each image individually

8) Enter basic keywords using Lightroom keywording database.  These will end up in comprehensive in Alamy

9) Mark images 'blue' keyworded and ready to upload

10) Final inspection in Develop Module at 100% spot any dust bunnies, check for noise or artifacts, last quality check, fix or mark for deletion anything not satisfactory

11) Using Lightroom / Alamy Plugin upload to Alamy.  Plugin also makes local copies of the jpegs for achiving, and upsizes anything that needs it.  Mark images 'purple' uploaded

12) After QC. Using plugin do a fetch command to retrieve Alamy image ID's into Lightroom database

13) In Lightroom type in essential and main keywords using Lightroom keywords already entered as a guide

14) Check captions and titles; set image type, release information and characteristics, # people etc

15) Using plugin do a set command to upload the information to Alamy

16) Check in Manage Images to be sure everything looks fine

17) Done

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1. Shoot Raw with Nikon D700, picture controls set at neutral, white balance auto and sharpening  at level 5. Auto ISO 200 to 1250.

2. Memory card inserted into top of PC for file transfer.

3. I archive Raw Images into folders by month taken. I don't grade each image, my intention is to process all the images taken, I tend to delete in camera where i deem necessary. 

4. Open images in capture NX2 and make various slider adjustments no greater than a level of 10 either way until I am happy with the result, but never add any additional sharpening on top of in camera.

I also check the watch points to make sure the white point of the image are at 243 minimum and black at 12 or below as per Alamy guidelines. If I crop an image I do a size resolution check and up it to 48mb.

5. The final part of my image check is for dust bunnies removal. I use Nik colour efex pro filters and i switch on the Tonal Contrast filter, remove all the little offenders, switch off the filter and do a corner to corner final check at 100%.

6. Finally before uploading I put the batch through the Braseside Alamy size checker .http://www.braeside.plus.com/photography/alamy/alamy.html

7. I submit in batches of 50, and have 6 folders labelled "Alamy ready".These folders start to populate if there is a delay in a batch going through QC. I upload in batches of 50 and as soon as they pass upload the next 50.

8. I do not add keywords until the batch gets into manage images. Once all the images from a batch are on sale i archive the Alamy ready jpgs into another folder keeping them separate from the original raw files. I keep key wording to a minimum.

9. i use Synctoy to mirror 2 external drives once a week keeping one of the drives in another location.

10. Once a batch is on sale i do a sense check on the keyword search results. I do a search using my keywords and see where the image sits against the rest of the competition.

11. Once measures has completed it's daily update i analyse my results and adjust keywords where required.

 

 

Regards

Craig 

Edited by Craig Yates
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Shoot raw on wide range of camera, sometimes JPEG (very rare). Use Date Folder format all the time, so that every day's shoot on every camera has differently named folder; sometimes, create new folder on selected camera to prevent datefrom duplication; sometimes it still happens, so just amend the date before dragging the folder to my raw archive. This is kept in Years, with some subfolders for individual projects, on these, occasional division between my cameras and my wife's camera. None of this takes as long as it does to describe it.

 

Open/view each folder in Adobe Bridge. Delete any obvious rejects. Use shift key to view images full screen and arrow keys to go through images. Delete more if they show signs of any problems when seen on 27 inch monitor. For similars, use mouseclick to change view to 100% at selected point, use arrow keys to change image viewed at same point, hit delete for worse examples. Then, go through remaining final choice files from the folder, individually opening and adjusting, retouching, grads, rotate, crop, local dodge burn, vignette/devignette, all controls starting with defaults saved for that specific camera body and ISO setting (I do this once for every new camera, including forcing auto ISO to provide a wide range of intermediate settings). Same for lens profiles and their fine tuning, I use Save Lens Correction Default as well as Auto (especially with Sigma lens which can end up not reporting their identity).

 

Every image is opened into Photoshop, which is much faster for a final full screen and 100% check, also a final check by quarters of the image for dust spots (usually no more than two or three, often just a single spot with a location I get to know well enough...). Make decision whether to leave at native size, or reduce to 24MB size, as this stage. Rarely do any Photoshop work at all unless it is Clone Tool retouching. Do not use Layers or Channels, do not work in 16-bit (ACR does, so any adjustments to tone and gradation are always done entirely within ACR to benefit from the maximum possible raw file bit depth and 32/64-bit operating with 16 bit depth).

 

All images are saved into a folder named for the project or period (e.g. Alamy Spring 13) which is constantly watched by Phase One Media Pro. In Media Pro, I select any new batch and apply metadata presets (copyright etc) then keyword and caption (description). Batched sets are just selected by control-click or shift-click, so the keywords/caption are applied to all. Media Pro concatenates keywords, so subsets can be selected and further keywords added. It allows keyword or full metadata sets to be saved and named, so I just select a suitable saved set (like 'Scottish Borders') and apply; it doesn't lose any other keywords, or over-write, it just adds only the ones I have missed from the set. No duplicate keywords are permitted. Media Pro also has autofill so if I start manually typing a keyword I have already used, it completes it (this is a mixed blessing). If I need to check any images full screen, I just doubleclick the thumb, and if I need any reason to re-open in Photoshop, I Alt-Click.

 

Media Pro recognises GPS data, so I will sometimes use the view location on map function, which opens a Google Maps/Earth webpage, so I can identify topographical features like names of mountains, valleys, or rivers - beaches, streets, etc.

 

After either an entire folder, or the latest set of images, is keyworded in Media Pro (which can be a very fast process) I Export to File (Synchronise) which embeds the metadata in the files. Until I do this, it's in the Media Pro database only. If I have for any reason keyworded loose files on the road, when I add them to my folder, I can select these and do the reverse - squirt their metadata into the Media Pro database. If I want to create a brand new JPEG for any given image, at any time, I can delete the original (outside the Media Peo database - important, don't delete from within the program!) and all the metadata and keywording associated with that filename will be available to Synchronise back into the new file, provided the name is not changed.

 

For Alamy, I use the fact that Media Pro changes the file modification date to match when you Sync the data. So I just sync 30 images for example, then find these newly modified files easily for Alamy upload in the Select JPEGs window, set them uploading, and continue working on more images.

 

Because I started out using JPEGs, I've stuck with that. But if I was starting over again, I'd do all this to the raw files instead in Media Pro, and I'd probably use it instead of Bridge, but still have it open raws in ACR or Lightroom. Media Pro uses the C1Pro engine by default. I do not tend to shoot large batches and my files vary greatly from one shot to the next, so LR and C1Pro and other 'batch processing' apps don't suit me as well as the one pic at a time detailed approach with ACR.

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I download all files (shoot RAW only) using "copy" from a card reader and file them in folders by year and month, sometimes by trip location.  All RAW files are immediately backed up to 2 external hard drives.  I rarely if ever delete anything, even obvious rejects.

 

Look at each image in Bridge, immediately convert the ones I am going to use in ACR.  25% sharpening added at this stage. Very minimal adjustments in ACR, but always CA removal, occasional white balance, and occasional crop and uprez (as long as the horizon is straight). Converted files are temporarily saved in a file called "Converted", after doing preliminary identification.  The filename at this point is changed to a one or two word identifier with the automatic 4-digit ending that Bridge adds if requested.  So, for instance, Savannah0374, or Egret chicks0375.

 

After converting a manageable batch (roughly 100 images), all files are opened individually in Photoshop.  First I research the subject and add caption and keywords plus copyright info. At the same time I am looking at sets of similars/same subject and deciding on which agency they will go to first.  (basically if it is to be offered to Getty it gets keywords with no plurals, synonyms and other word variations)  All major tweaking and checks are done in Photoshop including curves, 100% check for dust bunnies, a second pass for CA if required, noise reduction if required (done on a layer so it can be selectively reduced or removed), and any major work like removing people.  Also straighten horizon or fix issues with perspective if required, and then uprez (or downrez to improve sharpness) if needed.  Completed files are saved as jpgs in folders for each agency, numbered Submission 1, Submission 2 and so on.

 

Upload when submission folders reach roughly 30 images or at the end of a batch, whichever comes first.  Alamy final keywording is done after QC using Manage Images 1, cut and paste caption from Description field if required, and move keywords out of Comprehensive using cut and paste.

 

After Getty has picked through a submission the rejected images are either submitted to Photographers Choice RF (if suitable) or are copied to the next Alamy submission folder as long as they are not similars.

 

If I eventually decide to add Lightroom to the workflow I would expect to do the keywording there, and since it is so miraculous I will only have to work with a small percentage in Photoshop (that's the theory).  So I expect to make the which agency decisions at the initial Lightroom stage and save most files from there directly to the agency submission folders.  But, I am still not convinced that Lightroom will do anything for me other than change the initial RAW conversion step.

 

Louise

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"None of this takes as long as it does to describe it." -- DavidK

 

LOL Ain't that the truth? In fact I apologize for introducing this post. It involves a lot of writing and almost no stylish opportunities. I'm dreading going into my Sony NEX workflow and LR. 

 

Just a smallish aside: so far I'm the only one who admits to using the (Nikon) cable instead of a card reader. Originally I used a card reader. After talking to the head of the Time Warner tech department, and having him mention that statistics said that the cable was in fact the safer way I switched. Thinking about this now, and having been friendly with several members of that tech team, the bossman was not the best techie, just the best at corporate politics. The fact is I've never had a problem with either card readers or cables—they are both supposed to work properly and they both do. 

 

Let's not all go off on this tangent, please. 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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1 Shoot Nikon RAW

2 Stick the card into computer slot and drag the files to my 'Raw to Name' folder

3 In ViewNX2, name the files and add captions, keywords, copyright into etc after deleting any rubbish I missed in camera

4 Drag files to a pending folder - travel, studio, nature etc

5 Open RAW files in Nikon Capture, have another check for sharpness, sometimes adjust levels (usually leave until later) and save as TIFF into Processing file

6 Open TIFF file in Elements, do the 16bit adjustments first (colour, levels) then zoom in to 100% to clean up dust, cigarette ends etc

7 Save a TIFF copy to 'Archive' folder, to be put on external hard drive later

8 Save a TIFF copy to 'Transfer' folder, to stick on a drive and take to my parents' house next time I visit (another backup drive there)

9 Save a JPEG to the Alamy folder, awaiting upload

10 Upload to Alamy 10 or 20 at a time, then move them to 'pending' folder until they've passed, just in case, then delete them

 

I keep track of my workflow by the location of the files, rather than tagging or adding stars in Lightroom or something similar. This way I know all the images in the folder are at the same stage and all need the same things done to them.

 

You're right. It does take longer to write about than to do.

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A bit of a challenge to write this clearly and concisely!

  1. I shoot RAW with various Olympus cameras and Sony RX100
  2. Filing system is Year/Month/date + place e.g 2013/06_13/05_06_Whitby
  3. Import images to today’s folder using LR4 convert to DNG
  4. Inspect all files delete unwanted.
  5. Copy the new folder into 2 separate HDD plus a DVD-RW
  6. Open a new folder in C Drive for Alamy upload say “Alamy_513”
  7. For each image, in Develop module I have presets for each lens correction and for capture noise reduction and sharpening
  8. Adjust as necessary exposure/shadows/contrast/saturation/vibrance/colour temp.
  9. Correct any tilt/keystone and crop
  10. Open as 16-bit TIFF in CS2 in the Alamy_513 folder
  11. In CS2 check/adjust levels, tweak (if necessary) saturation, curves.  Check carefully at 100%
  12.   Add Keywords and convert to JPG ready to upload
  13.   Details kept on Excel spreadsheet - File No. (e.g A_06565)/Alamy ref/Pseudo/original file name/shoot date/upload date/caption/keywords (4 columns)
  14. I upload in batches of 10-20 images
  15. After passing QC, do final keywording and update keywords on spreadsheet, add upload date and Alamy Ref.  Add MR if needed.
  16. Save the folder for this upload to 2 HDDs and a DVD-RW
  17. Update separate LR catalogue of all Alamy Images

On average each image takes 10-15 minutes in total, so I try to get them as good as possible in camera.  Work is faster and results better now that I have LR rather than doing the whole thing in CS2.

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1. Shoot Nikon RAW.

2. Load photos to laptop via card reader.

3. Edit in ViewNX and move keepers to Processing folder.

4. Batch rename with date related filenames.

5. Open photo in Capture NX2.

6. Adjust tone, contrast, saturation, colour balance, keeping an eye for clipping,

     crop/straighten if required.

7. Check at 100% and remove spots.

8. Noise reduction if required.

9. Save RAW and Save As top quality jpeg.

10. Batch add copyright info

11. Keyword and caption RAW and jpeg.

12 Upload in batches of 10-20.

13. Move to archive folders.

 

I'll usually backup after 2, 8 and 13. I don't do tiffs anymore since Nikon introduced the healing tool in NX2. There's been only 2  exceptions in the last few months which had to go to CS2 for more controlled cloning. From 6 onward I'm working in batches of approx 10 which stops me getting annoyed or bored with any given stage.

Interesting exercise writing this out!

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1. Shoot RAW+JPEG (memory's cheap. JPEG provides; reference shot during RAW conversion, instant viewing on any device and in Elements regardless of ACR version/Camera, instant emailing if required).

 

2. Upload to Elements via PC slot to 1st external 1TB hard drive (filed by year, geographic location or theme, then date). Backup to 2nd external 1TB hard drive then format SD card in camera. Backup to DVD annually.

 

3. Rate potential stock images in Elements (eg. one star for Alamy)

 

4. Convert RAW (Capture NX2 for Nikon, DX Optics Pro for G12, Capture One Express for X-E1 (if required)) & import to Elements as 8-bit TIFF. Have never got on with ACR in case you're wondering...

 

5. In Elements, check Levels, do any minor 'tweaking'/cropping etc, zoom 100% for spotting/removing dust spots, birds etc. Save as Level 12 JPEG in 'Alamy Upload' folder.

 

6. Upload in batches of ~20, move to 'Alamy QC' folder.

 

7. Keyword once passed QC, move to appropriate Alamy folder (same filing system as Step 2).

 

8. "Back home for tea and medals...."

 

Fascinating thread from which we can all learn - looking forward to seeing many more variations!

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I shoot in RAW either on 2 Nikons or my wife's Fuji X100.

 

I load to the computer directly by cable from the cameras into Lightroom 4.

 

The first thing I do is hit Enable Profile Corrections in LR4.

 

I blow up to 100% in LR4 and do the really irritating process of dust and censor spotting. ( I must take the D800 in for a professional censor clean soon!)

 

I use the dropper to check the white balance.

 

I then go through LR4's editing from Contrast right through and down usually going back and forth.

 

I use Previous quite a lot.

 

I save them as Level 12 JPegs and transport them to Elements, use Levels and resave them as JPegs at usually between 6 and 9 Megs sizes having resized to Alamys requirement.

 

I upload at around 10 to 20 average at a time.

Edited by Gervais Montacute
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I normally shoot large fine JPEG with my D90 and make adjustments if needed in Lightroom 3 then export at highest level JPEG. I know that I may be missing something not shooting RAW but this has worked for me and is a fast workflow.  Since switching to the D90 I have not had any QC fails using this workflow.  

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Then I am not alone. Likewise no fails down to using jpeg.

Large fine JPG with default sequential filenames>card reader>LR2>auto tone and develop presets>spot and occasional levels>export at 90 so the files are a bit smaller and upload faster, although fibre broadband has obviated that advantage>keyword in MI 2.4.

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Lightroom has made it possible to work on jpegs without the worries and hazards of earlier times. But I will continue to shoot RAW and save at quality 12. Why? Because nobody can tell me what the stock or tech needs will be in the future. I want to have the best images I can produce at this point in history. If I were thinking that the Chicago Sun Times is leading us into the future, I might sell everything and get a new smart phone. 

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This is an interesting thread, I'd love to join in but I just don't have time to type it all out!  :)

Same here. Everybody appears to be unique. It's a fascinating thread but each time I think about describing my workflow I decide it's better to do tackle some more images.

 

A quick summary:

I import into LR4 from copies of the originals and add basic metadata including locality info. I recently starting to embed GPS coordinates in the metadata. My keywording is very disorganised as I have used several different systems and will probably never find the time to synchronise eveything. I find images primarily by locality in the metadata which is ok as most of my stuff is locailty specific.

 

I generate standard size previews for each set of images before working on them. After initial examination in LR4, I discard some and then raw convert the images I want to keep as 16-bit using LR4, opening individually in Photoshop for local adjustments  (such as darkening skies and lightening foregrounds) which I do as curves adjustment layers for the great contol over local contrast (compared to the LR4 tools or the dodge and burn tools in PS. I retain all adjusment layers in layered PSD files which are far better than TIFF files for working in Photoshop. The only permanent edits are dust spot removal in PS and cropping. I don't do any sharpening at all. I keep the raws and PSDs permanently on several hard drives.

 

I also do a lot of stitched panoramas in PS which is very time consuming.

 

I export JPEGs from the PSDs in LR for upload to Alamy. I keyword after they pass QC specifically for Alamy.

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Hell, I know I'm not getting into a step-by-step of what I do with my NEX RAW files! Let's just say I somehow get those RAW files into Lightroom.

 

Last night I downloaded LR5. Oh boy, more sliding gizmos to move around! And I move them all, believe me. The spotting tool is still pathetic compared to the PS content-aware healing tool. What Adobe has produced with Lightroom is a post processor that's really fun to use. 

 

Thank you all so much for going to the trouble of writing down your workflows. Educational? Well, they were all unique, right? 

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