Open Folder Digital Image work flow
You’ve upgraded your camera and now it’s shooting massive file sizes.
Your iPhoto, Aperture or Lightroom applications are now
slow and the databases are massive.
Should anything happen to the application database you could
possibly lose all your images.
Professional digital photographers with large format and high end
cameras would have already adapted a folder structure workflow
and may not have even considered a Image database application.
If you already have a reliable backup of your current Image database
and you want to stay with your favourite application you can manage the
large database by creating a new database per year.
It’s easy to switch between databases should you need to look at older images.
Splitting your database up means you don’t have all your images in one basket.
You do run the risk of the application vendor updating the application and older databases
not being able to be opened.
Should you be heading towards being serious about photography or shooting everything like a crazy possessed tourist armed with several camera’s on a sunny summers day, shooting RAW and producing large files then you will need to look at a more efficient work flow, similar to the one below that I’m proposing.
Hopefully you can make use of it to adapt these ideas for your personal workflow.
Lastly what happens to the existing Database application such as Lightroom, Aperture or iPhoto
I still use my Aperture for final jpeg albums. Keeps it fast and usable. Great for slide shows
to projectors and tv’s, and publishing to 500px.
My Digital Image Work Flow
From camera to being published or burnt to disk.
Assuming you already have a computer and Adobe CS6 Photoshop which includes Adobe Bridge.
Firstly I try to keep all image media in the one place, splitting it up in different locations on your
computer could mean you may miss one when you come to do backups.
My existing iPhoto and Aperture databases are in my Pictures folder.
I then make a Nikon or Image transfer folder. Once I’ve made that I have a set of working
folders zipped up that I uncompress and copy the contents into my next new shoot folder.
The Shoot folder contains a Finals folder, RAW folder and a Retouch folder.
The other new Folder I make in my pictures folder is called Live Capture to use
when I connect my camera and tether directly to my computer.
Once you have these folders sorted you need to configure Adobe CS6 Bridge.
In Bridge in the top menu is camera icon which launches Photo Downloader.
You need to set this as the default for connecting cameras.
Then you need to choose the destination which is your new folder in Pictures.
I choose create new folder with today’s date. Once the import is complete I add the name of the shoot after the date.
My super star Adobe Bridge
Editing in Adobe Bridge is fast as there are no original and edit folders created with duplicate images.
Previewing in different thumbnail modes, exporting to pdf contact sheets al run smooth and quick.
In the root folder of the images Adobe Bridge creates a xmp tiny text file. All the edit information is applied from this file. If you were to move the image on it’s own to another folder it would revert back to the original RAW file.
Adobe Bridge is a fast way to view images, grade edit and delete.
Once I have the images I want to keep I view in Filmstrip Mode, this lets me see the images in sequence and you can see grouped images that need the same corrections.
I select all the images with same cast or tone that I want to edi. I click on RAW edit and edit all at once, you can even crop and rotate them at the same time, one image or twenty images.
Images that need further retouching such as moving, cloning or adding out of focus effects etc I edit in Adobe Photoshop.
Note: When you work in Adobe Photoshop to do edits you must save them as a TIFF. Why you ask.?
I save them as TIFFs because I can then still grade and edit them with the RAW edit in Bridge to balance them with the rest of the images in that set.
I rate in Adobe Bridge all my top images 5 star. Maybe images are 4 Star. The rest that are ok that are of interest I rate 3 star. This way you can Export all 5 star images for Albums in the Finals folder, I then view 3-5 star images and do a Export to a DVD folder in Finals folder.
Over the time you have been working on your project shoots, hopefully you have had backups running.
Alot of people sort out a backup after they have had a disaster. Don’t shoot unless you can dupe.
I have a external RAID for backup, I import and work off my local drive.
The backup drive needs to be big enough to sync your entire Pictures folder and have space to archive.
At the end of each edit session, even if I’m in Aperture making albums, I attach the RAID to sync all my changes.
Should your work be too big for your computer drive you will need to create the same workflow on a external RAID drive.
With this solution you will then need a second drive to sync and back up all the changes made on your master RAID drive.
My last shoot was 36GB in size.
Once I have completed a shoot and done my Album export and my DVD export, I then make a new Album in Aperture and import the new shoot.
Once this is done I move the job off my local drive to the Archive folder on my RAID backup drive.
No problem running out of space on my local drive.
Lastly what do you backup to
Western Digital do a good dual drive, with only two drives, make sure it’s a mirrored RAID.
DROBO The Expandable cool King of all externals. You can add and expand as you need more space
highly recommended as your backup or your work drive for Photography or Video.
SD Cards why did I include these. Well DVD and CD are two small to store the 36GB of images.
If I’m shooting a job I include in the cost two SD cards, once I’ve completed the job I copy the job to the RAID archive folder
and also copy it to the SD card, Small to store and easy to have lots of jobs stored in a small fireproof safe or offsite somewhere.
Well that’s it, hopefully there’s some useful information you maybe able to work into your own workflow.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.