Seeking organizational and workflow advice

Started Dec 25, 2010 | Discussions thread
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nfpotter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,080
Seeking organizational and workflow advice

Yes, I am aware that there are a zillion threads about this topic, both here and many other sites. I've read a ton, and still haven't gotten to a concrete decision about the subject I'm about to broach. Disclaimer done.

A very little history:

I got the photography bug a long time ago, but only bought my 1st good camera (a D80) back around last March or so. Since then, I've bought a ton of gear, and shot somewhere around 10,000 images (many just learning the technical side of the art, etc.) History done.

I shoot 95%+ RAW, with the occasional JPEG. I like the control RAW allows.

Today, I find myself at a crossroads with my PP workflow and general organizational choices for my photography.

Up until yesterday, I've been using a rough organizational process that I've developed "on the fly". I'm a Windows guy in general, and HATE having any OS or program take control, so I organize simply by using the basic Windows folder scheme, and some naming conventions. I've been using Capture NX2 for RAW conversion, and Photoshop CS5 to make tweaks as necessary. I also have DxO Optics Pro 6, and I've played with it some, but not been too impressed with the speed or results.

I've come to a place where I have to split my workflow up into different techniques more than I'd like. Sometimes, I'll just hand-process a couple of images in CapNX2, and call it good. Other times, I may take a "good/keeper" shot, process it in CapNX2 for levels and on-camera adjustments, then work on it in PS CS5 until done.

Then there are the times where I end up with LARGE numbers of shots (sometimes a few hundred) that I NEED to batch-process, because I would never have time to go through them individually. When that is the case, I usually pick a "medium" shot (an rough average shot within the set, with regards to exposure, white balance, etc.), make some adjustments to curves, sharpening, etc., save those setting as a preset, and then batch-process the whole lot, hoping for the best overall average result.

One of the biggest problems I've is that I have a couple non-Nikon lenses, and of course CapNX2 doesn't recognize them, for automatic distortion correction, etc. This causes me to have to presort images and separate the non-Nikon lens pics for separate batch processing. Kind of a pain.

So a couple nights ago I got Lightroom 3.3. Looks pretty good, but I HATE the way that it wants to completely take over and run the entire show, as far as organizational management. Being a very non-Mac, pro-Windows guy, I'm never a big fan of programs that seem to take some level of control away from the user. The whole thing with it HAVING to build a catalog kind of turns me away.

So I'd like to hear from anyone, especially pro photographers that HAVE TO have a very streamlined system for organization and PP procedure. What are some things I could be doing better or differently? And please, outline your organizational system and workflow procedures in as detailed a fashion as possible.

All advise gladly accepted, because if I am going to make a change, I'd like to do it sooner rather than later.

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