My workflow to cull and process thousands of images

Started 5 months ago | Photos thread
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Morris0 Forum Pro • Posts: 36,105
My workflow to cull and process thousands of images

Taking photos in one of nature’s larger bird breeding area is an amazing experience. With tens of thousands of birds all in view and displaying many interesting behaviors it’s easy to take a lot of photos. Using a fast camera like the X-H2s and capturing 40 FPS the frame count goes up quickly every time I trip the shutter. I try to limit what I shoot yet there is so much going on. I take short bursts, usually less than a second, yet even ½ a second is 20 frames. It all adds up.

When I get home, I follow the same ritual removing the card(s) and placing them in my card reader. When I do this, the Adobe file import wizard comes up and I tell it to import to a folder with the shoot location and date. The folder is inside of a folder with all projects that I’m working on. While the files are copying, I remove the used battery(s) from my grip and camera and place them in my chargers and replace any batteries I’ve removed. I set my camera to my standard settings so that I can just grab it and know what to expect.

Once the files are imported, I point FastStone Image Viewer at the folder with the files. This is a super-fast and free image browser with rating and editing abilities for Windows. It works great on most any RAW files. While it can be used to rate images just as Adobe Bridge and Lightroom, I choose to tag the files that interest me. I make a first pass through the photos tagging the ones that I want to keep and these are anything that look reasonable. The Q key is used to tag and the arrow keys to move through the files. My left pinky is on the Q and my right one on the right arrow and I’m hitting the arrow key at about 5 frames per second tapping the Q when there is a keeper. As my fingers get tired, I change fingers and it’s a good idea to do this every once in a while, to avoid respetitive motion issues. When I reach the last file, I select all untagged files and delete them. Then I un-tag all and make another pass. On this pass I’m looking for great images. Once again, I’m going fast, though I will slow down to enjoy an image or to decide stay or go. At the end of this pass, I select the untagged files and then delete them.

Next, I open the folder in Adobe Bridge and start a slide show. I go forward and backward comparing similar images and choose the very best, which I open in ACR, make adjustments and possibly run noise reduction and then open in Photoshop where I process the image and save it as a JPEG in the same folder with the RAW files ...which now have sidecars describing my adjustments. I continue through the folder till I’ve processed the images I’d picked.

In Bridge, I create a folder for all the JPEG images and another for the RAW files and side car files. DNG files created when enhancing and/or running noise reduction also go in the folder with the RAW files. What is left in the project folder are all the rejects as well as the folder of JPEG files and the folder with RAW files. All the rejects are deleted and the project folder is moved to long term storage. I make a copy of the JPEG folder and place that in a folder where I hold image that I share on DPReview and other social media sites. I also maintain folders for submission to publications and contests.

Note that everything is backed up automatically every evening, keeping two copies of the backups on my NAS and one in the cloud. After the backup has run, I format the card(s) in camera and verify battery levels and that I’m on my default settings.

Questions are welcome,


Ps. This post was suggested by Bob’s your uncle and we both hope some of you learn from it.

 Morris0's gear list:Morris0's gear list
Fujifilm X-H2S Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II XF 90mm Fujifilm 50mm F2 R WR +11 more
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