January 28, 2013

If you’ve stumbled across this piece via Google, I’ve written a much more recent article on streamlining your workflow which you can find here 

After any shoot I upload to my computer ASAP – I now use a Sandisk card reader and it takes next to no time and so I do it once I get home, if it’s after a wedding I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and let it do it’s thing in the background.
I’m trying to get my post processing time down but since discovering Lightroom and getting switched on to Photo Mechanic it’s significantly faster than it used to be. Using both of these I managed to get images back to clients within 2 weeks despite working full time as well (though I did do some stupid hours and spent many nights in front of the computer screen.)

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 19.06.21

Firstly I’ll use Photo Mechanic to select the images I want in the final edit, it’s simple and really fast. Emma Case did a fantastic tutorial about it and that’s what convinced me to give it a go. You can get a free trial and I promise you at the end of it you’ll be waving your credit card in glee.
This programme has cut down my culling time form about 3 hours in Lightroom waiting for previews to load etc to about 30 minutes of intense clicking AND my couples get more shots!
I also believe Photo Mechanic has the power to do exposure, white balance adjustments and the like but I feel Lightroom is a much better tool for these.
I create a separate folder for these RAW files and then import that into my Lightroom library. It’s here that I do image adjustment and creative editing.
It used to be that I used Lightroom for image adjustment, though as I mentioned, the goal is to get as much right in camera as possible to save time later, there’s always something that could benefit with a little tweak. I’d then export everything and open it in batches in Photoshop, running actions over everything and it took forever. Lightroom 4 practically does away with the need for Photoshop at all – it  has a whole new set of sliders vs LR3 and even effectively does Photoshop staples like dodging, burning and even a cheeky bit of teeth whitening.
I rely heavily on two particular sets of presets that i think have been a wise investment – and I’ll come on those and why in a second. Firstly, there is no preset or action in the world which will make a bad photo look good unless it’s going to swap it out with something and stamp little pink unicorns all over it. You need to see the light, connect with you subject, channel emotion and then use whichever digital editing tool you have to out your own stamp on things. Over the years I’ve spent an absolute fortune on Photoshop related bits and bobs like the good hobbyist I was, and always only used them for a short time with the exception of the two below Lightroom Presets. I’m trying to move my work into a slightly more natural image and these two help me do it effortlessly.
There’s lots of debate about whether with a bit of skill and ingenuity you could create these yourself but  I firmly believe that life’s too short to mess around when someone has already done that for you.
VSCO film – I’ve talked about this before, it’s ace and Andria Lindquist does a much better job than I at talking through in this walkthrough.
Red Leaf Film Emulsion presets – Simple, natural and a light touch and especially good for natural light.
I try to work through everything in one sitting for consistency, give it a day and do whatever the photo version of proof reading is by creating a gallery I can scroll through to check that I’m happy with everything before exporting a high res and a low res version from Photoshop into destination files which will eventually be copied to USB for my clients.
The final stage is upload – as I use Showit for my main website, each client also get’s their own online gallery and an online proofing gallery which houses the high res photos and also doubles up as external storage. Both of these have their own upload servers so I set and leave it to do it’s thing.

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All of this means I can do everything I need to do in a day and a half’s work maximum provided I don’t get too distracted by cat stroking or chocolate eating, both of which are major time sucks for me!

Next time – blogging, reading and training.