Saturday, December 6, 2008


One of the things that I think that most people who are totally new to taking pictures with a digital camera (SLR or otherwise) don't think of right away is how to sort through their files.

I have been thinking a bit recently about my workflow (that is the term photographers use to describe what they do with the image file after they take a picture); currently I upload the files to my laptop using Picasa 3.  I name the folder with a "yyyymmdd" then a few words to describe the photos.  Once the photos are loaded on the computer I delete the ones that are completely unusable, such as one's where my exposure is WAY off, or the focus is off.  Then I usually skim through them and "star" the ones I like the best in Picasa.  After that it depends on how quickly I need the photos and what they are going to be for.  For instance if I have a lot of them and I am trying to get them to someone else quickly I will edit the exposure using the "tuning" tab in Picasa.  I might then bump the saturation one way or the other and maybe apply some sharpening (although I wish Picasa would let me choose the amount of sharpening -but I didn't pay anything for it!).  Now that Picasa will allow me to "retouch" and get rid of dust specks etc... I can do lots of stuff in there.  If there is more that I want out of the picture I use the Gimp to pixel edit.  Lately I have been trying to do some panorama shots and I've just barely started looking at HDR (high dynamic range) shots and have been using Hugin for that.  Great little free app!

Currently I shoot jpgs only.  I'll use nef (the raw file format from my camera) if I'm doing long exposures at night as it speeds up the camera incredibly.  It seems that converting to jpgs takes twice as long as the shutter was open while leaving the file in the nef file allows the camera to move on almost immediately.  

I read/listened to a blog post/podcast that asked what you would change about your workflow if I had Adobe Lightroom 2.  I tried the beta test of LR2 and found it very cool.  I would drop Picasa and import directly into LR2 then use the 5 star system to try and sort pictures in some kind best to worst setup.  I really enjoyed the dual monitor support in LR2, that is I can edit a photo on one monitor and have the library open on the next.  I might even start tagging my photos more.  (I hope I win a copy of Adobe Lightroom 2!)

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