This is something I have been changing and tweaking since I have started taking photography a little more seriously. It is in no way a recipe for everyone and definitely not the best workflow ever but it works fine for me.
the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.
Saying this, from time to time I still try to improve it as I know there is always a “better way”. I have watched so many YouTube videos with different ways of working, read blog posts and articles. With all that information in mind I created my own photography workflow.
Stage I, shooting:
My setup is not super professional so usually I go out with just one camera and one memory card. I rely on those tools to not let me down, no backup plan. Luckily so far I have not experienced any gear disasters.
Stage II, returning home:
Once I am home I switch on my laptop, connect my external drive to it and open Lightroom. I then grab the memory card and insert it in the card reader.
This makes Lightroom open the import window. I have predefined settings for what I want it to do. It renames the files to have the date, location (or any other word I choose) and a sequential number.
This process takes a little while so I leave it alone and let it do its’ thing.
Afterwards I create a collection of all the shots. These sync with the Lightroom app on my phone and I can edit on the go.
Stage III, sorting it out:
After all the files are in Lightroom I go through them to start sorting between the shots I want to keep and the ones I am deleting at some point in the future.
Then I go through the keepers and colour code them to differentiate between the different types of shots (portraits, behind the scenes and scenery).
Stage IV, initial Lightroom edits:
At this point I am left with the decent shots only. Time to get some basic adjustments done. This is usually a little tweak in the tone curve, lens’ corrections, basic adjustments, colour improvements and anything else I feel is needed.
For shots in the same lighting conditions and with the same subject I can easily apply the same editing adjustments to all of them in Lightroom.
I keep moving through all the different scenes until the first editing touches are applied to all the pictures.
Stage V, cherry picking:
Now that I got the basic edits out-of-the-way I go through the shots again and pick my favourites by flagging them as picked. These will be the ones that go on to the next stage.
Stage VI, Photoshop:
This is where the magic happens. For portraits it can go from simply using the healing brush to get rid of spots or any other imperfections to frequency separation.
Sometimes I delete distractions from the background or add smoke (from smoke bombs) to hide these. If there is a result I want to achieve and I am not sure how to do it I will look for tutorials on YouTube and practice until I nail it.
It can get a little intense. I use different techniques that I have learned so far from YouTube and Instagram. One portrait can take anything from 10 minutes to an hour just in Photoshop retouching.
STAGE VII, back to Lightroom:
Retouching done I save the new picture and it gets added to Lightroom. There I add some final touches like further curve adjustments, brightness and colour tweaking.
Stage VIII, Exporting:
I export the shots when I am done with the editing bit and save them to my external drive.
Stage IX, Backup:
Always have a backup! I bought a second external drive to have a copy of all my files just in case one becomes faulty.
I don’t do all of this in one go as many hours of work go into completing these 9 stages of my photography workflow.
If I am working for a client you can add to it exporting thumbnails with watermarks for the client to select their picks and uploading them to Dropbox.