Tag Archives: management

Work With RAW, Forget the JPEG

Since Neil Creek started writing about Organization and Photo Management, I’ve been spending a lot of time evaluating my workflow practices. One of my major changes has been in my file format management. And Change is good.

Previously, I was shooting in RAW+JPEG. I’d use the JPEGs as a quick-view tool, and the RAW files were basically there in case I wanted to dig a little deeper and do some serious editing. This method sucks for several reasons: 1) it takes more space on your memory card, 2) it takes more space on your hard drive, and 3) the JPEGs that come out of the camera are absolutely terrible. I found out just how terrible they were by running a set of RAW files through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and comparing the results to the JPEG files straight out of the camera. Hands down, no comparison — the JPEG files out of the camera stink.

Here’s what I’m doing now. I shoot RAW only — no JPEGs whatsoever. When you use a piece of software like Adobe Bridge, Lightroom, or Aperture, you can view the RAW files just as easily as the JPEGs. I process the RAW files with ACR with very basic adjustments (most of them are auto adjustments for exposure and color), and I’ll usually process 100-200 images at once over a very short period of time. Occasionally I’ll have to do some tweaking on the white balance, but usually just for indoor shooting. At first, I was then saving all the adjusted RAW files as full-res JPEGs… but after a few times of doing that I was questioning my own methods. Why was I saving extra files that I didn’t need? I don’t use those JPEGs for anything, and after I adjust the RAW files with ACR, the adjustment settings are saved and the image looks the way I intended.

So now, each photo has only the adjusted RAW file and an optional Photoshop file if I choose to dive a little deeper into the photo editing. If I need a JPEG, I open up the RAW or PSD and make the JPEG I need. Same thing with TIFF files — there’s no point in having those extra files ready and waiting on the hard drive. If I need to upload a photo to Flickr, I open up the original document, resize accordingly, save it to a temporary folder as a JPEG, upload to Flickr, and delete the derivative file when I’m done. No extra baggage.

If you shoot and manage your photos in RAW format, take a look at your current methods of file management. Are you creating extra files that you don’t NEED? How much time and hard disk space are you wasting if you create all those JPEG and TIFF files to keep on-hand? Is there any advantage to having those derivative files in your archive?

Organize – Getting to Grips with Image Management

A note from Brian: This is a special guest post by our friend Neil Creek. I’ve been following his photography and his blog for quite some time, and I’m thrilled to have him share his knowledge of photography with a guest post series here on Epic Edits.

Part 1 – Introduction

Getting to grips with image management

Digital photography’s greatest strength can be a problem. Fast, easy and cheap photos help you to learn faster, and you’re never afraid to waste a shot, but very quickly you can end up with hundreds or thousands of photos. A strategy to sort, store and retrieve your photos is essential if you want to get the most out of them.

In this short series I will discuss my experience handling tens of thousands of images accumulated over more than four years of intense photography. The solutions covered are not perfect, and won’t be ideal for everyone. However, they helped me turn an unmanageable mess of images into an organized archive, from which I can quickly and easily find almost any image I want. There is lots of room for improvement, and I expect to hear some interesting suggestions and techniques from readers who respond to this series of posts. So please don’t take my word as gospel, but instead glean and adapt what knowledge you can to organize your own collection.

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What we’ll cover

Photo of photos

I’ll be covering the subject intensively, using my own system as an example, and taking an in-depth look at major issues facing digital photographers, including the following:

  • Step-by-step organization from capture to output
  • Naming conventions for files and directories
  • Metadata management
  • Hardware setup
  • Backup methodology
  • Search and retrieval
  • Suggestions and stories from readers
  • Looking to the future
  • References and resources of interest

How to participate

There’s a wealth of experience in the huge community of photographers but I can only relate my own experience. I would like to make this series as interactive as possible and to get some real brainstorming going, to make it a more useful resource . Working together, we photographers will be able to create a resource that can save hundreds of photographers much time dealing with disorganized images and save anguish by minimizing inevitable losses.

You may want to participate in the following ways:

Organized images
  • Leave a comment below asking a question about image management you would like answered
  • Post a favourite link or the title of a favourite book on the subject
  • Write a case study of your own management system on your blog and post the link here
  • Leave us with a tip or small nugget of wisdom that others might find valuable
  • Write a short account of a horror story where your poor management caused you to lose some images or a valuable job
  • Make a suggestion for an issue to be covered that I haven’t mentioned above

So if there’s anything you’d like to share, please leave a comment or a link below in this posts comments. If I use your contribution in a later post in the series, I’ll fully credit you and link to your site. Of course you will retain full copyright on your submission, but by posting it below you agree to allow me to use it on this site.

This should be interesting! Please look forward to my next post in the series in about a week’s time. See you then!

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NEXT — A WAY OF THINKING