Ella Parsons in Brighton at the uk.shooters meetup

Photography Workflow

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.

Final Notes

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.

Hope you found it useful or interesting to know a little more about what goes into getting that final picture. Maybe this also helps you understand why getting a photographer can be a little expensive.

In the featured photo: Ella Parsons shot in Brighton at the UK.shooters meetup

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