I can’t remember when I heard about a photographer’s workflow for the first time. There was so many articles about different aspects of it on the web. A simple search of my e-mail told me that the first article on a workflow I might’ve read was on the 3th June 2010. It was the article by “Streamline Your Workflow – Getting the Most out of LR ” by Elizabeth Halford. I don’t think it made me think about creating my own workflow since the article turned to be a collection of tips: “Here are a few tips for getting the most out of Lightroom instead of relying too heavily on PS for those everyday shots.” ( http://digital-photography-school.com/streamline-your-workflow-getting-the-most-out-of-lr#sthash.KtFUjqVT.dpuf
Strangely enough, a few minutes after I posted this entry onto my blog I remembered that there was another article on workflow that I’d read before the article by Elizabeth Halford. It was a blog entry by Thomas Hawk that was published in 2008. At that time, I’d done a 10-week photography course at the OU and started editing my images using Elements 5. Since I was busy with a toddler, sorting house after an unexpected move and learning controls of my first DSLR, I did not even think about devising my own workflow.
I read many other articles about establishing workflow. However, I made my first step on the way to creating my own workflow only after reading an e-book by Gavin Gough in December 2012. At that time, I was a confident user of Lightroom and started seriously thinking of backing up my hard drive in a really efficient way. His e-book came with links to his videos and his two workflow presets for Lightroom. I found the book and Gavin’s workflow presets very interesting and tried to use them.
The problem with using someone’s else presets is that they might not suit someone else. I found that the simple workflow was missing a few steps that were important for me. Whereas the pro-workflow had too many steps that I don’t need to do. All those steps are definitely useful for a pro-photographer who sends images to different stock libraries, but they looked like too much work for family pictures and even for my coursework.
The positive outcome of trying Gavin’s presets out was the exposure to smart filters in Lightroom. By studying the rules for Gavin’s smart collection, I was able to understand their advantages and even create a simple smart collections system for my 52 weeks project.
Wanting to understand more about smart collections, I googled that term and found an interesting article by John Beardsworth on Lightroom Solutions and managed to refine my 52 weeks workflow. Unfortunately, I took too many project that year and eventually lost interest to uploading my pictures to my favourite 52 weeks group on Flickr and stopped using my created smart collections.
The other positive outcome was creating several presets for importing my pictures from my memory cards. Depending on the pictures they could be easily imported into a corresponding folder of one of my three main libraries: TAoP, Creative and Family. At the same time, they would be backed up to an external hard drive and then to my cloud storage. My presets were very successful and I’ve been using them for several months now. Maybe,
I was lucky to find other interesting articles and videos that made me think about the ways to make my photoshoot sessions a bit more successful. While I did a free photo course with Camera School run by Practical Photography, I realised the importance of easy access to settings for the current homework task. I started planning my photosessions and revised the task and settings the night before and eventually made a good use of the built-in possibilities of my camera: customising & registering a picture style for the task and registering camera user settings for the task in the Mode Dial’s C1-C2-C3 positions.
Although, I’ve been using a lot of elements of an efficient photographer workflow, there is no consistency and very often, I think I should’ve had this item with me or I should’ve done that… “I should’ve”. Now it’s a good time to re-watch a webinar with Gavin Gough on his workflow (http://xritephoto.com/ph_learning.aspx?action=webinarsarchive&eventid=1562&eventdateid=5592 ) that was live last summer and re-think my current workflow: create my workflow chart and start using it on a regular basis.