Tag Archives: workflow

Link Roundup 09-01-2010

Finally starting to clear out my feed reader and catching up on these link posts. I have about 10 or 15 more in the hopper, but I’ll save them for another day.

Link Roundup 07-02-2010

Link Roundup 12-27-2008

Well, the year is winding down… but photography is still happening on the Internet! Here are some links from the week.

Make Light Real ONE Action

Those who have used Photoshop probably know the power of actions. Some also know the power of LAB color mode. The problem is that LAB can sound like a scary thing, and most actions are “one hit wonders.”

Neil Cowley has created something that will blow you away — The ONE Action. It’s an action set that guides you through the LAB colorspace workflow. I’ve worked in LAB for a few little things in the past, but I hadn’t realized the full potential until I started working with the ONE Action.

Neil is sponsoring our most recent project, the “Action and Preset Extravaganza“, and the top 3 prizes include the ONE Action. I’ve been toying around with it for a couple weeks, and this is my introductory take on it. I should also state that I have much to learn about using this action and working in the LAB color space, so this is by no means a comprehensive review.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

The ONE Action package includes several handy items. Obviously, the Photoshop Action is at the heart of it all. You also get an ACR and Lightroom preset, an HDR action, LAB curve presets, an instruction manual, a really great walkthrough video, and some sample photos.

The video is a great place to start after you’ve loaded up the actions and/or presets. Neil goes through the capabilities of the action, how to use it, and the thought process behind the actions. He explains rather quickly that the ONE Action is more than just a “push and go” type of action — it’s a workflow process.

Here’s another video from Neil that shows an example of how the action can be used. This is not the video included with the action.

HOW IT WORKS

The action “forces” you to work in the LAB color space (which really isn’t a bad thing at all). This gives you the freedom to manipulate the luminosity and color of the image separate from each other. It also gives you the ability to pinpoint specific tonal ranges and apply adjustments only where you desire.

There are a lot of individual actions contained in the set, and each one is intended to target a very specific region of the image. The main idea, though, is to understand the adjustments produced by the actions and apply them in small steps as you work through the image. Masking and tone-mapping are important parts of the ONE Action workflow.

Honestly, once you start working with this action set you’ll really start to understand the power of working in LAB color space. As I went though several of my own photos, I was surprised and amazed at the results that could be achieved with just a few little adjustments.

EXAMPLE PHOTOS

Each of the images below show the unprocessed raw file, the processed raw file, and the final photo after processing with the “ONE Action.” I chose to use the action on a few particular photos from a recent photowalk that turned out less than optimal but had potential. I used the action with the intent of reproducing the scene I saw with my eyes (and in some cases introduce a bit more “life”), and in most cases the ONE Action saved my butt. Click on the photos for a larger view.

You can purchase the ONE Action from Make Light Real, or participate in the Action and Preset Extravaganza for your chance at one of the prize packages.

Link Roundup 06-28-2008

  • the Nuts and Bolts of off-camera flash – part 2, manual flash
    F/1.0
    A really great review of the methods for firing an off-camera flash unit: various connectors, wireless, etc.
  • Understanding Camera Exposure Modes
    Beyond Megapixels
    Although your camera may have a light meter built right into it, you still have some options for how that meter reacts to different situations. Here are some of the basic modes for exposure.
  • Jowling – Photography Fun For a Rainy Day
    digital Photography School
    It’s both funny and frightening what we can do with a human face and a camera.
  • Thomas Hawk’s Photography Workflow
    Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection
    Thomas offers up some insight to his photography workflow using Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop. Definitely some good tips and insights — especially coming from a guy who posts around 30 new photos each day.
  • My new geotagging workflow
    All Narfed Up
    Bryan guides us through his new geotagging workflow using the Amod AGL3080 and Lightroom on Windows. If you’re thinking about adding geotagging capabilities to your workflow, definitely check this out.
  • 10 Steps to Maintain Your Camera
    HyperPhocal
    Cleaning our gear is something we should all consider making a part of our recurring activities. Here are 10 tips for keeping your equipment clean and clear of problems.
  • Matt Kloskowski Shares His Wishlist for Photoshop Features
    Photoshop Insider
    Matt does an awesome job at laying out some useful features that Photoshop could possibly have in the future. He even goes so far as to mock up the dialogs and layouts of the tools he’s dreamed up.
  • Do High-End Cameras Make You A Better Photographer?
    JMG-Galleries
    A philosphical discussion about the age-old question “is it the photographer or the camera?” Definitely some good insights shared in this post and comments.
  • 10 Tips on Getting Your Photos Into a Gallery Show
    HyperPhocal
    Getting started with gallery shows can seem impossible for a beginner, but here are some tips and methods for getting your work on the public wall.
  • 10 things I hate about Flickr (and its users)
    Neil Creek
    Neil posted a very interesting article about Flickr, Flickr comments, and Flickr users in general. Though he mentions the things that he “hates”, the article is intended to point out some of the flaws in the system and the way people use that system.
  • And here’s a fun theme slideshow that I found to be extremely creative. Found via Photojojo.


looking down. from hrrrthrrr on Vimeo.

Link Roundup 05-31-2008

Some really cool stuff going on out there this week!

  • Perennial Images
    Tim O’Rielly
    I was in Little Italy today dropping off some film at my camera shop and I encountered another photographer shooting in my general vicinity. I struck up a conversation with him and he turned out to be a pretty interesting guy. He’s mainly a travel photographer and he likes to focus on people in their environments. Check out the photos in his website — this guy’s been all over the place!
  • Going Pro – The Cost of Doing Business
    dilvie.com
    A quick rundown of some common expenses that a pro photographer will have to face from day to day.
  • Unsharp Mask: How Do You Actually Use That Thing?
    Photojojo
    Some tips and techniques for using the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop, including an explanation of what the slider controls actually do to your pixels.
  • The Best Photo Tip I Ever Received… What Was Yours?
    digital Photography School
    Jim Goldstein offers up the best photo tip he ever received, then he asks the readers what theirs was. Reading through the comments results in quite a few great tips!
  • digital workflow: image processing
    pro photo life
    Jim Talkington goes over his digital workflow and he talks about processing the RAW files.
  • My Photo and Computer Back-up Strategy
    Photoshop Insider
    Scott Kelby lays out his back-up techniques and some of the hardware he uses to do so.
  • How to Make a Light Box and Macro Studio for Under $20
    Beyond Megapixels
    Need a cheap DIY light box for shooting objects and macro work? Check out this one that you can make for under $20.
  • Get a Little Action In With Droplets
    PhotoWalkPro
    Ever hear of Photoshop Droplets? Here’s a handy little article that describes what they are and what they can be used for.
  • Great Photo Books You Can Buy New
    The Online Photographer
    Photo books are great things. If you’re looking to pick one up in the near future, check out this list of reissues from some amazing artists.
  • Street Photography
    Sharing My Light
    A good set of basic street photography tips.
  • Internet Acronyms for Photographers
    All Day I Dream About Photography
    Wow, a huge list of crazy photography acronyms. If you’re ever confused by the lingo, check out this list.
  • It’s Easy Being Green
    Photodoto
    Here are seven ways to be a “Green Photographer”.

Link Roundup 05-17-2008

RAW vs JPEG: A Visual Comparison

It seems like everybody has an opinion when it comes to RAW vs JPEG photo formats — myself included. In preparation for the next article in the “Adobe Bridge” series, I’d like to get this out of the way so we can just refer back to it. I won’t try pushing one format over the other due to my personal preference, I’m just going to present you with a few images. It’s up to you to decide what looks best and if that format fits into your own workflow.

The following image is from my archives back when I used to shoot RAW+JPEG. The files were processed using Adobe Camera RAW software, and we’ll be covering the basics of that in the next installment of “Your Guide to Adobe Bridge“.

  • 1. JPEG, Unprocessed
  • 2. JPEG, Auto Adjustments
  • 3. RAW, Unprocessed
  • 4. RAW, Auto Adjustments

RAW vs JPEG Comparison

So which would you rather have as a starting point?

If you’re interested in learning about RAW workflow — stay tuned. I’ll show you how working with RAW files is no more difficult than JPEGS. And if you choose to stay with JPEG — you should also stay tuned. I’ll show you how to improve your photos with the latest version of Adobe Camera RAW. All this in the next post from the “Adobe Bridge Series”.

Your Guide to Adobe Bridge: Workspace

In the last post of this series we talked about the basics of Adobe Bridge. What it is, what it can do, why it’s a good thing, and some of the computer requirements. I’m sure some of you are quite anxious to start digging in to the finer details of the software, but before we go anywhere I want to talk about the Bridge Workspace.

A workspace refers to the layout of features and controls available in a piece of software. Adobe Bridge has several predefined workspaces, each having a unique purpose in the photo management process. Different workspaces mean different views, panels, and controls. I’ll lay out the various workspaces, then we’ll dig into each of their components (many of which are shared across workspaces).

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
VISIT THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACK — ADOBE BRIDGE INTRODUCTIONS
NEXT — ADOBE BRIDGE IMPORTING

THE SIX WORKSPACES OF BRIDGE

Adobe Bridge has six predefined workspaces. You can also create your own space and save it if you find something that works better for you.

DEFAULT
Default Bridge Workspace
LIGHT TABLE
Light Table Bridge Workspace
FILE NAVIGATOR
File Navigator Bridge Workspace
METADATA FOCUS
Metadata Focus Bridge Workspace
HORIZONTAL FILMSTRIP
Horizontal Filmstrip Bridge Workspace
VERTICAL FILMSTRIP
Vertical Filmstrip Bridge Workspace

And here are a couple of my own custom workspaces. They’re only slightly different than the predefined workspaces, but sometimes those little things can make a difference in your productivity. I’d encourage you to make your own workspace by dragging the various panels around until you find something you like.

CUSTOM 1
Custom 1 Bridge Workspace
CUSTOM 2
Custom 2 Bridge Workspace

After looking at a few of these workspaces, you ought to notice that they consist of the same parts (aka “panels”) but rearranged. So let’s dig into those panels and explore what they do.

THE SEVEN PANELS OF BRIDGE

For the purpose of this section, I’m using a screenshot of a workspace that has all seven panels visible. I don’t usually work with such a layout since tabbed panels are more space efficient. Refer to the colors in the image as I step through each of the panels.

Adobe Bridge Panels

  1.       FAVORITES
    Similar to a “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” folder on a web browser, you can keep your most helpful items in here. Favorites can include folder locations, files, collections, previous searches, Version Cue, Adobe Stock Photos, downloaded comps, Bridge Home, and a bunch of other stuff that can be set in the general preferences (Edit >> Preferences… >> General). Personally, I find it handy to keep my most used collections in there (we’ll get to what those are another day).
  2.       FOLDERS
    If you’ve ever browsed a directory tree, this one should look familiar — It’s just your folder structure on your hard drive. Folders can also be navigated in the “Content” panel, but the “Folders” panel provides a quick method of changing locations.
  3.       FILTER
    I love this panel. I think it’s one of the best things in Bridge that sets it apart from other software. Filters are a way to exclusively view photos that meet a specified criteria. Want to see only your RAW files? Or how about images with a certain keyword? Maybe you’re looking for an image with a vertical orientation? Easy — just click on the filter and you’ll only see those images. If you sort-of know what you’re looking for, filters will allow you to find it a hundred times faster than scrolling through tons of images.
  4.       CONTENT
    The content panel is a window to the contents of your current folder, not unlike a file browser on your OS. But the content panel provides more functionality than your operating system can. Thumbnails can be resized from very tiny to very large, and they can be set to scroll horizontally or vertically. Bridge caches the thumbnails for super-speedy viewing. Thumbnails also show star ratings (which I don’t typically use), labels (which I definitely do use), filename, and a few other things depending on what the photo is and what’s been done to it. This panel also allows you to access a large number of controls and commands via the right-click menu.
  5.       PREVIEW
    The preview panel is similar to a slideshow, but a little more powerful. It’s very handy for inspecting images at larger scales, comparing multiple images side-by-side (just select multiple files in the content panel), checking for sharpness and whatnot between 100% and 800% zoom (click on the image and a magnifying loupe pops up – scroll to change the zoom). The other great thing about using this preview is that everything is color manged, so your Photoshop files and RAW files will appear EXACTLY the same as in Photoshop.
  6.       METADATA
    When I first import photos this is where I spend most of my time. The metadata panel provides you with access to all the file info, EXIF, IPTC, RAW settings, and a bunch of other stuff you never knew existed. What’s really great is that you can select a bunch of images and apply keywords, descriptions, copyright info, location info, and other things as a batch.
  7.       KEYWORDS
    The keywords panel is similar to the metadata panel, but it’s sole purpose in life is to organize and apply keywords. Common keywords can be grouped, categorized, applied in batches, and renamed with this visual interface. Keeping your keywords organized and up to date can prove to be a major benefit while keywording images — I’m alway amazed at how many more keywords I can apply by just taking a quick scan through my lists.

So that’s pretty much it for the panels. I touched on a couple of usage tips and tricks, but we’ll go much deeper in subsequent articles.

THE MANY CONTROLS OF BRIDGE

To prevent this article from getting too long, I’m not going to visually highlight all of the little buttons and menus as I did with the panels. I would encourage you to explore the software interface on your own, looking for the little icons located below the menu and at the bottom of the window. Some of the panels also have buttons and drop-down menus that provide added functionality. Right-click menus contain another wealth of options to assist you with organizing, searching, and processing your images.

One major item worth mentioning is the “saved workspace” button set. Look down at the lower right of the window — you should see a “1″, “2″, and “3″. Hold down on one of them and select a preset (or custom saved) workspace. Set all three for the ones you like the most and now you have a workspace quick-launch — hit the button and away you go!

WHAT’S NEXT?

At this point I think we’re quite familiar with the Adobe Bridge interface basics. From here out I’ll be walking through my typical workflow and highlighting all of the things I commonly use the software for. In the next article we’ll talk about importing photos from your camera or card reader straight into Bridge. This is a very important step, since it can save you lots of time once you get those file on your computer. So stay tuned!

For those of you looking to obtain Adobe Bridge: Claudius Coenen mentioned on the last post in this series that there is a way to get Bridge for free. Apparently if you download the Photoshop CS3 30-day trial, the license will expire on Photoshop but not on Bridge. Now of course one of the major benefits of working with Bridge is the ability to interface with Photoshop and ACR, but it’s also handy as a standalone file management tool. Also note that I haven’t tried this out so I can’t say that it works for sure.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
VISIT THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACK — ADOBE BRIDGE INTRODUCTIONS
NEXT — ADOBE BRIDGE IMPORTING

Here’s a video I found that goes well with the content discussed in this article.

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?