Workflow

I’ve been thinking about this post all day and sadly, I am no farther along than when I started.  To be honest, this has me a little freaked out.

Let me back up a little.  I spent last night going through some of my neglected RSS feeds on Google Reader.  There are a number of photographers I look up to and subscribe to their feeds, but with all the projects I currently have on my plate, I hadn’t had the time to go through them all.  So I quickly scanned through the almost 1000 entries, setting aside those I wanted to read further this morning.  That’s when I came across two blog entries by Chase Jarvis (here and here) detailing his workflow which got me thinking about my own.

This is when the freak out started.

I’ve shot photo and video professionally for a while now and am still not comfortable with my workflow.  I’ve gotten better over the last few years but I still find myself trying to fix mistakes from the past.  I am a bit organizationally challenged, much to the dismay of Raquel, and in my early days my workflow consisted of:

  1. Shoot
  2. Copy/Edit
  3. Export/Print

That was it, pretty simple, but I didn’t give much thought to how those files were organized and backed up.  Because of which, I still have some old files scattered somewhere in a dark folder on my system.  It’s backed up now, but I don’t have the courage to tackle that project.

Now, my workflow is much more refined.  I dint have any other choice, when you’re working with that much data, you have to keep it under control or it will quickly become a tangled mess.  Now, my process looks a little more like this:

  1. Shoot, raw or jpg, depending on the project.
  2. If travelling, I copy all the images to two portable hard drives.  If at the office, I skip this and go right to the next step.
  3. Import into Lightroom (renaming while doing so) into a folder designated for the event.
  4. Conduct a first scrub, discarding any shots that aren’t sharp, exposed well, or just don’t like.
  5. Conduct a second scrub, selecting my “picks” that I will want to take a second look at.
  6. Conduct a third scrub, selecting the final photos for editing.
  7. Edit the photos in Lightroom.
  8. Export multiple versions of the final edit depending on the needs of the client. 
  9. Lastly I go through all the non selected photos in the Lightroom library discarding as many of the leftover images as I feel comfortable with.  In all honesty, I have difficulty with this step which is why my drives are always full!
  10. All my work is then backed up automatically to multiple external drives.

This is a simplistic view of my current process but should give you some idea.  In my view if you do nothing else, develop a system for organizing your images, and backup, backup, backup.  I cant stress this enough.  You will loose data at some point in your career and when we’re talking about your business, it can be devastating.

What does your workflow look like?

4 Responses to “Workflow”

  1. Leslie says:

    I’m so proud!

  2. Leslie says:

    I was wondering…can there be such a workflow for laundry??

  3. Ken says:

    I learned most of my work flow from watching you, thanks and I feel your pain on step #9. Awesome blog!


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