Editor’s Note: I’m planning on this topic spanning a series of 3, 4, maybe even 5 posts here on The Apple Blog. I hope that all you fine readers out there will add your 2 copper pieces to the mix here, as I would love to […]

Editor’s Note: I’m planning on this topic spanning a series of 3, 4, maybe even 5 posts here on The Apple Blog. I hope that all you fine readers out there will add your 2 copper pieces to the mix here, as I would love to walk away with some better practices when all is said and done.

Among the regular things I use my Powerbook for, my photography hobby is near the top. I love taking photographs and snap away any chance I find. I shoot in RAW and so have somewhat of a processing workflow that I go through each time I download my latest round of pictures.

I suppose I’ll begin by laying-out my tools. I shoot with a Canon Digital Rebel XT dSLR. I’m not particular to the Canon RAW editing software, but have taken to Adobe’s Camera Raw for Photoshop CS2. I’m still on the iPhoto train, as it stores all my photographs. 99% of the time I upload to flickr and my private Gallery page from iPhoto, rather than from standalone apps. (iPhoto’s plugins for such things are probably what keeps me on board with it.)

My usual dis-jointed process is to go into Camera Raw and do my edits, Save those photos that I want to keep, out to a temp folder, and then run a Finder Plugin that I made from Automator to automatically upload those picture files to iPhoto. Then weekly I usually back up my RAW files to external drive to clear up some space on my hard drive.

As you can see, the process isn’t super streamlined. That’s kind of an issue for me – I like things automatic and simple. I like apps that take a lot of the leg work out of it for me. I’ve got some Automator ideas that I’ve been playing with, but I want to save those thoughts for a subsequent write-up.

So to start things off, I want to ask what your Digital Photography workflow looks like. What apps are you using? What process do you follow, getting the images from your camera to their final, ‘display’ place? What kind of archiving/backup methods do you use – RAW/photo files specifically here.

I’m certain you’ve got some slick setups, and I hope to poach some of those great ideas off ya, so let ‘er rip!

  1. 1. Shoot RAW images with Nikon D2X with GPS connected to camera to embed GPS metadata into each image.
    2. Download files to Powerbook with firewire card reader
    3. Organize and Rename RAW files with Adobe Bridge and place in working folder
    4. Convert all RAW files To DNG with original raw files embedded in DNG using Adobe DNG converter
    5(?). possibly, i haven’t decided yet, recover edges using DNG Recover Edges Utility
    6. Apply Custom Metadata templates using Bridge
    7. Star and label DNGs using Bridge
    8. Edit final picks using Adobe Camera Raw, I apply setting but I don’t create a new file yet
    9. Archive all DNGs to RAID
    note: Up until this point i haven’t had to open photoshop once because i process all my files with camera raw built into bridge instead of in photoshop.
    10. When I am ready to print the photos I save the final DNG photos as tiffs
    then I selectively sharpen the files using unsharp mask and a custom made edges mask and save files as a PSD to differentiate between the files that have been sharpened and haven’t been sharpened
    11. Output on an Epson 7800 using Bill Atkinson’s Custom Profiles for the 7800/9800
    12. Archive sharpened files to RAID
    13. use custom actions to make thumbnails and correctly sized files for my website.
    14. archive web files to RAID
    15. Use iView Media Pro 3 to create a catalog of my archive so i can always view my archive from my powerbook even when i am not connected to my RAID

    well i think i covered everything in my workflow.


  2. How do you find the Powerbook performance-wise with such a workflow? How is iView Media Pro, for example?

    I have put off setting up a decent workflow until now as I’m working mainly on a Powerbook which is sometimes a bit less than adequate performance-wise for this type of use. I’m hoping to get a G5 (or maybe Intel based) machine in the New Year before I dive in.

  3. I also shoot with a Rebel XT. I download my images from a USB2 Card Reader onto my iBook and have a Automator Workflow setup that uses iView MediaPro to rename the files, attach better Finder icons to them, and embed the media thumbnails. From there I have to organize them myself into a folder that iView watches for changes. From there I decide which images I want to print or post to my gallery (I use a homemade system that uses MovableType to do most of the work). I haven’t been shooting RAW long but I am thinking about adding a step to my workflow to convert the Canon RAW files into DNG files since they are most likely more future safe.

  4. I’m looking to buy a Rebel XT soonish; I want to get back into photography. I’ve been reading a lot of reviews of the XT lately. It’s probably been 12 years or so since I last did any kind of photography with a SLR, so I’m re-learning a lot of stuff. The capabilities of the DSLR platform (and SLRs in general) are exciting, but I’m put off by all the post-processing I hear about. I’m extremely ham-fisted with Photoshop, and really hope to confine my work to the *camera*, focussing on shooting pictures, not massaging them on the computer afterwards.

    What are the disadvantages of just using JPEGs? What about using the XT’s RAW+JPEG feature? I have been thinking I’ll make use of that whenever possible, so that I don’t have to deal with RAW files unless I’ve got a great shot where JPEG isn’t good enough.

    I currently have a Canon S200. Automator’s caused me more problems than it’s solved, but I do have a workflow that gets kicked off by Image Capture when I insert a card that moves the files to a folder and then imports them into iPhoto once they’re safely on the hard drive. I’ve played around some with GPS Photo Linker and my GPS, but that application isn’t AppleScriptable, so I’m less inclined to use it as part of my normal “workflow” (if you can call it that). iPhoto’s pretty stubborn about noticing new metadata once an image’s been imported, so you pretty much have to do that stuff before importing.

    I use Connected Flow’s Flickr Exporter to upload to Flickr, and I used to use the Gallery exporter for my local gallery install, but I’ve gotten away from that now that I’ve gone pro with Flickr.

  5. CHASE -
    Wow, you didn’t leave a thing out! Thanks for the details. I’ve considered getting into the DNG format, but haven’t made the jump just yet.

    TONY -
    I’ve only used a Powerbook (previously a G4 1ghz, now a 1.5ghz), so I’m just ignorant to the wonderful world I’m missing out on… It’s fine – though iPhoto can be somewhat sluggish when I get up around 4000 photos. I don’t use iView Media so can’t answer to that exactly. But for my RAW editing and everything else, it does well enough.

    BLALOR -
    RAW processing is just the same as film processing – but you’ve got more power with the former. So you spend time instead of money processing your shots. Everything’s a trade off.
    With RAW, you get around a 10mb file, as opposed to a 2 or 3mb file in JPG format. Why? It collects a lot more data during the exposure, so in processing, you can really bring out the colors, lighten an underexposed shot, etc, etc, etc. When I first tried RAW, it took some getting used to, and I ‘saved’ some otherwise poorly shot photographs. Now I’ve got a feel for my manual settings, and don’t have ‘save’ as many as I do, tweak for best results.
    The RAW images will only result from the manual settings on the XT (I can’t speak for other cameras), when you set to a RAW format. But your presets will only shoot in JPG. So try both. I think once you see the power that RAW holds, you’ll be hooked.

  6. 1. I shoot RAW with a Nikon D50, depends on which lens i am using also depends on the workflow. but i will tell you what is a norm for me.

    2. I download them using a card reader to either my 17″Powerbook or my 15″ Powerbook in to a folder on my desktop.

    3. then i upload them to Apple’s Aperture program. i do all of my actually editing in there, export them and then save them.

    4. (if needed) i will open them up in Adobe and do what i need to in there to fine tune anything i need. (i use an automator action to do this.)

    5. then its saving as jpegs to another folder and then uploaded to iPhoto. (another automator action)

    6. then depending on what i am doing with them, i will resize the image and save for web in Adobe Photoshop. (also a automator workflow)

    7. then i will upload to either flikr and/or photobucket for web displaying on my site.

    8.if i am selling them, i will actually print the actual size of image or close to the original RAW image.

    no thats not detailed but it is a quick summary of what i do.

  7. I keep it pretty simple. I take photos with my Kodak EasyShare, transfer them via a USB card reader, then place them in folders by the month after naming the files. I use Photoshop to do any color corrections or any other minor alterations. I also have a PC, and pretty much do the same process with that.

  8. Andrew: Can I ask why you’re using both Aperture and iPhoto, out of interest?

  9. Aperture works with Adobe Photoshop 1 in 1. So in uploading i use Aperture to edit my RAW files and then export them to Photoshop furthering my editing doing things i can’t do in Aperture. But Aperture does more than iPhoto ever could and I only use iPhoto to store and hold pictures on my computer nothing more. if you want to know more and need anything just let me know. you can visit me here: My Siter

  10. As someone who’s wanted to get into a little bit more professional photography, at least profesisonal looking I’ve been thinking of getting a new camera for awhile but I don’t really know jack about them. I know I want a digital camera and I know that I want it to be of the more “prosumer” type with the exchangeable lenses, etc… but I have NO IDEA what is a good starter/nice/cheap/amazing camera would be.

    Any thoughts to help a newbie? (I currently use an ultra-cheap Samsung variety, you know – the kind you find at WalMart… what can I say, christmas gift last year).


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