Workflow is key to consistency. A good one includes a clean folder structure, a quick import, edit and export, and backup. We all know that backing up your final work on a hard drive is not sustainable on the long run as it can become expensive when you reach few terabytes of data. Along the years I built a strong workflow which takes into account all the previous.
This is the most crucial step. I use the Lightroom importation module. Looks overwhelming compared to a copy/paste of the RAW files in a folder… but it’s way more efficient for filtering, getting rid of JPEG files and handles metadata way better than a simple copy.
- Insert your SD card and select it in the ‘FROM’ menu on the left side
- Select the ‘COPY’ mode, ‘MOVE’ could work but is riskier and I always format the card afterwards.
- Select the photos you want to import, change the preview mode to see fullscreen if needed.
- Select the ‘TO’ folder, I setup a folder called ‘LightRoom Edition Folder’ on my SSD drive.
- tick the ‘Don’t import suspected duplicates’ to get rid of the JPEG if you shoot RAW.
- Select your Preset if you have one, it will be applied to all the pictures.
- Click on ‘Import’. Go make yourself a tea.
Edition / Development
development has been done while importing if you select a preset at stage 6. The first thing I will do is to geotag my photos as explained in my previous blog post : http://loicmagnien.com/tips-geotagging-photos-workflow/
You will probably want to refine your selection. You can do so by using the colour tags in the Library panel. Shortcuts are 6 7 8 9. I usually tag in Yellow the keepers and do not tag the others. If I collaborate with other photographers then I ask them to tag in another colours their keepers. I may discard 10% in the importation and 70+% in the edition. I am usually left with 20% of the pictures I shot as my final keepers. I might destroy the others when I’ll run out of space.
I filter my keepers using the colour filter activated at the bottom right of the panel:
These photos are my keepers, geotagged and developed. The job is mostly done. I am going to export (right click > Export) the JPEG for backup and for web sharing. For this I have 2 export presets :
- 4000 @ 300 DPI for the web backup and print, file would be around 7 MB.
- 2000 @ 72 DPI for the web sharing, file would be around 200 KB.
I export them in a folder named ‘Lightroom Export Folder’. This way I end up with all the RAW files in the ‘LightRoom Edition Folder’ and all the final JPEG in the ‘Lightroom Export Folder’. I ask lightroom to create a subfolder ‘YYYY-MM-DD – Name of the folder’ and to name the output files with the ‘YYYYMMDD_SequenceNumber’ format. The first JPEG in HQ will start at 0001 and the ones lower resolution will start at 1001.
Once a month I will connect an external hard drive and move the files from the ‘LightRoom Edition Folder’ and the ‘Lightroom Export Folder’ to it using the Lightroom move feature: just drag and drop the folders in your library. Piece of cake.
Online Backup and Web sharing
Then it’s easy to export the files to both the HQ to Google Photos or share them on Facebook. I use Google photos because of all the AI that is integrated for face recognition and album management. I also have a Google Pixel 2 that backs up the photos I shoot using it straight to the cloud as I shoot them. I can then merge photos from my camera and from my phone into albums, ready to print share and print !
I print photos using Photobox.com that integrates Google photos perfectly, you don’t need to reupload your photos, just login with you google account et voilà ! The photos are transferred from Google server to Photobox server, it takes you literally less than a minute to print your photos. Regarding quality, 4000 @ 300 DPI is enough to share and print on 6″x4″ format (and even bigger!), just do the math: 4000 pixel / 6″ = 666 DPI, that’s quite HQ for printing on paper.
Piece of cake, peace of mind.
With all the experience I gathered through the years I have come up with this workflow that is tailored to my need:
- OCD proof folder management
- Quick import with batch development
- Clear naming system for exports
- Online and local backups
- Photos shareable and printable at any time
Piece of cake, peace of mind.