View Full Version : Digital Photo Workflow & Editing

Bill O
01-01-2010, 03:00 PM
Since there is a long thread relating to cats I don't think this is too out of line.

I'm curious what everybody is using to manage their digital images. Workflow, programs, add-ins, storage, etc.

I recently migrated to a Mac and just purchased Aperture 2. So far, I'm pretty happy with it. I'm letting Aperture manage all my image files and right now I am just backing up with Time Machine, but may consider making "vault backups" to an external disk (the vault is an Aperture specific feature).

While Photoshop is the gold standard and comes with very powerful tools. I really like the slimmed down Aperture. I like how it manages versions and never touches my master originals. Photoshop was almost too overwhelming that I spent more time worrying about file management than shooting images. I think Aperture will change and also get me back to shooting in RAW full time now.

01-01-2010, 04:46 PM
I use Adobe Bridge and Photoshop. I have Adobe Lightroom, but it seems a bit redundant with Bridge. I don't have anything set to auto-download images. I prefer to move and classify the images myself. I suppose if I took pics all the time like some folks here I would consider using the auto-download and classify option.

My chief stumbling block is finding the time to properly edit my images. I have a ton of wedding pics I took this past summer which I still haven't edited. And I only got through Day Three of our recent 10-day Germany trip. Digital cameras make it too easy to take a thousand pictures.

01-02-2010, 08:17 AM
For photo management & simple/bulk manipulation (e.g., quick resizes for web): ThumbsPlus (http://www.cerious.com/). For detailed editing: Photoshop.

Snow Miser
01-02-2010, 09:11 AM
For photo editing, I use to use Photoshop, but found that for the relatively simple editing I do, it was to involved. I now primarily use a program called Photo Explosion Deluxe. It's a lot easier to use and still does a great job.

For image management, I like to maintain them in folders that I create myself. These are all backup to an external hard, and flash drives stored off-site. I have also currently started backing them up to the cloud.

Bill O
01-08-2010, 10:42 PM
Thanks for your feedback and responses.

I'm surprised though. So many great photos on this forum, but so few contributions to this thread.

01-09-2010, 06:20 AM
Thanks for your feedback and responses.

I'm surprised though. So many great photos on this forum, but so few contributions to this thread.
I am not a Mac person, so my tools would be different. With the struggles I have had dealing with exchanging files with Mac people, I would not go there.

01-09-2010, 09:45 AM
I never do any thing to my pictures ,the way i take them is the way i post them .
and thats because i dont know how to do all that fancy stuff :D

Bill O
01-09-2010, 02:37 PM
Here's a good example of why I do post processing. True, with a point & shoot and capturing in JPEG much of this can be avoided.





01-09-2010, 04:46 PM
I shoot with a Canon camera - save the images a RAW files. Then after transferring to my laptop I open them in Adobe Elements. Right off the system asks me to classify the RAW images by the lighting conditions - daylight, cloudy, shade, flash, etc. Just like with Bill's example, the sunrise shot the other day was flat when first viewed on the computer - and it it did not represent what I saw. Just tell it the conditions were cloudy and the image popped to show what was really there.

01-09-2010, 08:19 PM
ok i see the differences
but with the point and shoot it looks good is that just the way they work

01-10-2010, 10:38 AM
I use a Mac w/ Aperture, and have for some time now (since it came out) - I'm happy with it. I use Photoshop to edit, but most of the time, I don't edit, unless there is a picture that I just "have to have," and it didn't come out of the camera quite right. I've found that for the sunrise/sunset problem, often adjusting the exposure level in the camera (prior to taking the picture(s)) solves the problem.

I do have a couple of clients who use Lightroom, and have been tempted to switch, but I'm not sure that it is worth the trouble/expense.

I use Time Machine to backup, have a vault in Aperture, and use a couple other methods as well, including keeping an offsite copy of my pictures and data in a secure location.


Bill O
01-10-2010, 02:17 PM
Time Machine seems to work fine, guess we'll find out if I ever need to use it. I may also do a Vault, but haven't yet. My final backup is yearly transfers to CDs or DVDs as needed to an offsite location (just my photos).

On the Windows side it seems like it takes at least three programs to manage everything. With Aperture I can do everything in one program.

Ed...do you let Aperture manage all the image files or do you keep them separate outside the "library"?

01-10-2010, 02:30 PM
I keep the images within the Aperture library - if you keep them "outside," you lose a lot of the benefits of Aperture - i.e. - the management of versions. Note that if you open the library behind the scenes, all of your images exist there as individual files, along with their previews, thumbnails, versions, etc. If your library got corrupted, you would still be able to salvage the raw files. Re: CDs and DVDs, as you probably know, they don't last forever - they are subject to moisture, temperature changes, etc. Also, in the not too distant future, they will probably become obsolete. At some point, solid state hard drives (basically gigantic flash drives) will become fast and cheap - because there are no moving parts, this should be a big improvement.


01-10-2010, 03:20 PM
I find that I only keep 6 months to a year of photo files on my laptop. The complete set is off on a network drive. So, any software I use does not "manage" the whole set of files. Just the ones on my laptop.

For backup disk I have been using a 1TB Buffalo Terastation. I am in the process of moving things to a 4TB Terastation Pro. Both are RAID 5 systems. The old Terastation will go to NC and have an off-site backup of my key files as well as be a backup system for my daughter's family.

01-10-2010, 03:47 PM
Dramatic before and after Bill. Good evidence of what can be done in the digital darkroom. As for my wor4kflow(s)...

I take a lot of pictures and for many I'd rather do so simple exposure and color correction and get them posted. For that category I generally use Picasa (which I use for all of my local organization and for my online sharing along with Facebook and Flickr). Picasa editing has improved greatly in the last couple of major releases and for basic exposure and color correction, cropping, etc it does just fine. For shots that I want to do more work with I use Photoshop Elements.

The online sharing area is one that is becoming increasinginly interesting. While Picasa isn't the best in terms of features I've stuck with it because I'm a Google user for nearly everything. With their recent price decrease for additional storage and the fact that Picasa will be the auto-sync for for the new Nexus One I'm staying with it at least for the time being. If not for that I think I'd switch to SmugMug or Flickr (for different reasons). Still have to post to Facebook separately if you want to tag people. Sure would be nice to have a single solution...

Bill O
01-10-2010, 03:54 PM
I just upgraded my computer so I have plenty of space for all my photos on my laptop. I'm pretty selective about what I keep so I don't need too much space. At 10gb per year (and that is way more than I use) I've got 10+ years of space on this hard drive alone. Probably, far longer than the useful life of the machine.

I had been using the "gold" cd's rated at 100+ years. I realize they don't last forever, but neither does film or print (and they ended up lasting way longer than they are supposed to). I'm sure when the next best thing comes out I'll migrate the archives.

Solid state is pretty cool. I just bought an 8gb USB flash drive for $20. Big enough to handle most of my documents and music for backups outside of Time Machine.

01-10-2010, 04:24 PM
Sounds good Bill.

Most of my backups are hard drive based, but I have enough of them, that the risk of total loss/failure is pretty small - at the moment, in part due to mirroring via RAID, my pictures exist on 8 different hard drives, including secure/offsite.

My main computer is a desktop with its drives mirrored via RAID 1, so by simply downloading my pictures, I automatically have two copies of them.


01-10-2010, 08:16 PM
i use a 8 gb flash drive for all my pictures and its full ,there is a back up in my fire proof safe

01-11-2010, 01:40 PM
i use a 8 gb flash drive for all my pictures and its full ,there is a back up in my fire proof safe
That would handle me for a day's worth of shooting. :cool:

KD Talbot
01-11-2010, 03:28 PM
I use photoshop on just about every image I take. Usually just cropping and enlarging and tweaking color saturation in curves. Occasionally I'll dodge or burn an area or level a horizon line.

For storage I use time machine to back up to another hard drive, but in a catastrophe I'd be out of luck since they occupy the same desk. In the past I have backed up to disk and I have a closet full of photo albums from my film days.

I now upload to smugmug so there is an offsite back up. I am considering a smugmug "Vault" account which allows you to upload tiff and/or Raw images.

Bill- What mac are you using? My new one is a 2.66 intel processor. It has more gigs of Ram than my last one had memory. The screen is bigger than most TV's I have owned. I love it! It flies!

Do you like it better than your PC? I personally think it's the only way to go with photos. PC may be better for some things, I don't know. I used them at work and hated them. I think you will find that mac is a much better system.