Photography Workflow: Post Processing

I'm going to use this section to describe the steps once a shot has been taken, from organization to the treatment of photos. All of my organization and post processing happens in Adobe Lightroom, with the exception of HDR processing and some occasional editing in Adobe Photoshop.

Once I'm finished shooting I download the photos to Lightroom (currently Lightroom 3). I create folders by date and then assign each shot a label. Everyone has their own way of doing this, but I find the date + label as the best way to assign a meaning to a shot as well as the date providing a way to keep your shots in some sort of order. This organization is strictly for my own amusement as Lightroom's searching/management capabilities allow you to view and organize photos however you would like.

As you can see from the image, some days have 5 shots others have several hundreds. So the next step is to go through the photos and flag the ones I like. Again Lightroom has a function to assign photos as 'Flagged' or 'Rejected'. Once I have gone through the images a first time, I'm typically dealing with significantly fewer images. So now it's time to work with the images.

Lightroom's 'Develop' module allows for the adjustment of just about every aspect of an image, from cropping to color correction. Most images are given minor tweaks include adjusting the exposure, working with the fill light modifying the black clipping of the image, etc.  These may sound complicated at first, but it's really about making an image look how it feels to you, there's no wrong answer.  I won't go into anything specific since each image is unique, but a great resource on Lightroom is Matt Kloskowski's Lightroom Killer Tips.

Once I've gone through my 'flagged' photos and made any necessary tweaks I'll go back through them again and decide if any aren't really to my liking and remove their flag.  This just further reduces the number of images I'm left with.  I've found that on any given day I usually end up with choosing 5-10% of the total number of shots I've taken.  Since I'm trying to document this trip I'd say that's a pretty high number.  If I were just picking shots to display I think I'd be under 5%.

After flagging and treatments are done I go back through and title each image, add a short description and add keywords.  I've tried to keep my keywording high level, labels like: 'people', 'boat', 'water', 'landscape' as well as the country and city of the shot are added to my chosen images. I use the keywords to help search and organize my photos.  Things like grouping the shots of a country together.

That's about the extent of my post processing.  I've tried to keep it a fairly quick and repeatable process since I'm doing it at the end of sometimes very long days of sightseeing.  Also since I'm doing it every few days I'm trying to not make it too tedious that I get sick of it and stop doing it.

So hopefully you're still awake and haven't delete this blog from your bookmarks.

For more info on the other aspects of my workflow, check the main post for links: Photography Workflow

1 comment:

  1. Ross, you are such a bad ass, no seriously. When you get back could you teach Erika and I how to use iPhoto? We love following your blog and check in with you guys all the time. Keep on enjoying your travels.
    Thinking of you both.
    Erika and Brian