Pro workflow ideas

  • Posted: 29 January 2007 08:53 PM

    I have a friend, a press photographer, who has just switched to a Mac. Nice choice, too… the MacBook Pro 17in.

    He’s just wondering how best to manage his imaging workflow.

    iPhoto is restrictive. Lightroom doesn’t impress. He hasn’t tried Aperture yet.

    Just wondering… what workflow do you guys use?

    He’s looking for an efficient process from capture to output to archive.


    Karate ni sente nashi

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    Posted: 30 January 2007 06:01 AM #1


    I rely on iPhoto, personally, and don’t know how I got along without it. My workflow is typically iPhoto, then (maybe) an iPhoto Album, then export to a Finder folder, then open into Photoshop.


    mrmwebmax (formerly mrmgraphics)
    Max out your site!

  • Posted: 30 January 2007 03:23 PM #2

    I don’t have a complex workflow by any means, but I use Aperture for virtually everything from importing from my camera to editing to archiving. (When I’m done with a project I just migrate its images to an external hard disk and possibly burn the images to DVD.)

    Coming up with a more exacting workflow would really depend on what kind of work he does and how he works with his images.

  • Posted: 30 January 2007 04:13 PM #3

    He’s a press photographer who also does private assignments. Very busy guy. He’s reading this right now, BTW. Hi Cam! 8-)


    Karate ni sente nashi

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    Posted: 31 January 2007 06:10 AM #4

    I would have to ask if any of his pictures get printed on paper, or are they just for display on monitors/tv’s, or a combination of both?

  • Posted: 03 February 2007 06:57 AM #5

    I haven’t tried lightroom, but I really like aperture.  there is a 30-day free trial available from apple


    All statements are to be taken with a grain of salt

  • Posted: 03 February 2007 04:54 PM #6

    [quote author=“burreyeann”]I would have to ask if any of his pictures get printed on paper, or are they just for display on monitors/tv’s, or a combination of both?

    Both. He shoots press and does private work. You might call him a private click.

    <Oooh, coaten slaps coaten on the wrist for that terrible pun>


    Karate ni sente nashi

  • Posted: 03 February 2007 05:12 PM #7

    For the record, here are my recommendations…

    iPhoto - not really a professional tool but with the help of scripts, plug-ins, external editors and the use of multiple libraries (ie via option-launch), iPhoto can be put to good use for a low to moderate workload. Besides, it’s the easiest way to create an easy-sell photobook.

    Aperture - an excellent tool and if I were working full-time as a ‘tog I’d probably settle for it. Most of the tools you need are in it but you must adjust to its workflow framework and I am beginning to understand that for some shooters, a drastic change to capture/file/archive habits can be a too-daunting task.

    Extensis Portfolio/Image Capture - I haven’t tested Portfolio comprehensively but what I have seen looks excellent for someone who simply wants an efficient extension to a well-practised old-school workflow. Image Capture is a very useful tool bundled with OS X that puts upload options in the hands of the user, as opposed to iPhoto’s one-way fits all method.  Portfolio can be set up to synchronise with images placed in a “catalogue” (a nominated master folder) or multiple catalogues. Portfolio is very responsive, if a bit ugly.

    Lightroom - If I were a photographer who is extra finicky about image corrections, I’d probably choose Lightroom over Aperture because it has Adobe’s pedigree behind it, and it shows, with excellent correction tools. Now, if Adobe could just include the spot healing brush in Lightroom, it’d be the bomb. Also, Lightroom’s printing functionality is uber-brilliant.

    But aside from software, sometimes, what’s needed most is a leap of faith, and if it comes down to that, I’d take the leap with Aperture.


    Karate ni sente nashi

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    Posted: 04 February 2007 06:15 AM #8

    RE: Pro workflow ideas

    I have always used Photoshop for scanned in and digital photos. If the pictures are to be printed, I would leave them in Photoshop format (so the nice prepress people can set them up however they want) - [rant]I hate when customers say they have the perfect picture for you, and they send you some 8k gif that will look like crap no matter how hard you try to enhance it![/rant]

    Otherwise for saving digitally, I’d recommend simply using Preview and saving them as jpeg or png, which can be automated quite nicely using Automator.

    Don’t know how “Pro” this is, but works nicely for me.

  • Posted: 28 August 2007 12:27 PM #9

    a vote for Lightroom

    I had to chime in to say that I’m using Lightroom to manage my workflow, and so far so good. The newest version allows you to have multiple libraries and to merge libraries of photos, mitigating the problem of earlier versions.

    I use Lightroom to import my photos from the memory card, and I both archive the original files to a separate hard drive, as well as copy and rename the files into the Lightroom folder. I follow a naming convention as follows (following Uwe Steinmuller: The Art of RAW conversion… an excellent resource):

    Camera Code_unique 4 digit number_yyyymmdd_filename

    In my case, it looks like: D200_7000_20070828_DSC_7803.NEF

    This allows for unique names for all my files, as well as a way to protect against rollover confusion, ie. when you have taken more than 9999 images, or whatever, your camera will likely roll over back to 0001, causing a naming conflict with earlier files.

    I think that the naming and archiving of files is probably the biggest issue for photographers, so this is one way of tackling digital asset management.

    Oh, and backup. A lot.


    MBP 15" 2.16 C2D 3GB/120GB

  • Posted: 28 August 2007 02:10 PM #10

    Thanks for your contribution, div_conspiracy. I am interested to hear that you chose Lightroom. I have no reason to believe it’s anything less than a great program, yet I know nobody who uses it. Did you use both and prefer Lightroom, or what let you do that decision?

  • Posted: 28 August 2007 08:25 PM #11

    Good question. I arrived at Lightroom because Aperture wouldn’t run on my Mac at the time (an old G4 MDD). Also, it was a public beta, so I tried it out. I liked it, so I kept using it, through all the beta phases, and now the final 1.1 product.

    I have to say that I have not tried Aperture.

    I think Lightroom offers superior editing capabilities like quick spot removal and healing/cloning (does Aperture have editing?), and it also has a very intuitive way of adjusting levels and colors via click and drag, or hover and scroll wheel. It’s actually quite simple, just hover the pointer over the area you want to adjust, then scroll up or down to raise or lower the value. “Boom”, you’re done, as they say. smile

    It was also fascinating to listen to the Lightroom podcast to follow the developers as they worked on the project and what was going on in their minds. Kind of geeky, but interesting nonetheless.


    MBP 15" 2.16 C2D 3GB/120GB

  • Posted: 29 August 2007 07:10 AM #12

    Re: RE: Pro workflow ideas

    [quote author=“burreyeann”] [rant]I hate when customers say they have the perfect picture for you, and they send you some 8k gif that will look like crap no matter how hard you try to enhance it![/rant]

    *Feels your pain*

    What I love is that I recently had a customer, when I told him one of the images I had from him wasn’t good, try to scan it himself out of a prior version of the book I’m working on for him, “clean it up” in photoshop, then send it to me as a medium res .jpg….when I had the original file. I ended up redrawing it in Illustrator because it wasn’t too complex, but wow, was that silly.


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  • Posted: 29 August 2007 06:09 PM #13

    [quote author=“div_conspiracy”]I think Lightroom offers superior editing capabilities like quick spot removal and healing/cloning (does Aperture have editing?)

    Thanks for the thoughts! Yes, Aperture does have this sort of thing, but I can’t say how it compares since I’ve not used Lightroom.

  • Posted: 29 August 2007 06:23 PM #14

    I have used both and prefer Aperture, but only by a slim margin.

    Where it wins for me is in a better file archive and management system plus a better choice of layout options, including the fabulous light table mode, which is great for brainstorming a picture layout.

    As for image correction, I believe they’re on a par. Adobe didn’t want to cannibalise Photoshop by offering an extensive correction/manipulation toolset and Apple didn’t want to aggrieve Adobe by stepping on their toes. That said, Lightroom’s toolset is marginally better, which should come as no surprise, and I really like Adobe’s print setup, but it’s not a dealbreaker. Lightroom also roundtrips to Photoshop more seamlessly than Aperture, but seeing how most of what corrections I need to do with images I can achieve with Aperture, that’s no big deal, either.

    In the final telling, I don’t think it makes a lot of difference which one you go for. Which you choose may well be a matter of product loyalty or preferred interface styling as much as the toolset each has to offer.


    Karate ni sente nashi

  • Posted: 18 February 2008 03:53 AM #15

    I am the Press Photographer coaten mentioned. I have been using my mac for over a year now and tried all the options but I found the best for me is simplly creating a desktop folder called photos and default download all my images straight to it.
    I select the images I want to work on and duplicate them into a second folder and work on them from there using photoshop. Once finished, I name the folder and bring the original images into the enhanced images folder as a sub-folder named “unenhanced”.
    I then burn all the images to CD or DVD and also save them onto my external drive just to make sure. If I want to keep the images on my mac I will import them to iphoto which is great for a slideshow or e-mailing an image.
    I have been a Press Photographer for over 36 years and I still feel the need to have total control over my images rather than letting a program decide what to do.
    Thanks to everone for their suggestions.


    photographers rule