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Author Topic: RAW processing workflow query  (Read 1880 times)


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RAW processing workflow query
« on: February 06, 2012, 03:25:35 AM »
Q. Currently, I shoot with a 1DMkII and mainly people. I've fallen into the following workflow habit:

1) Shoot just RAW (I used to shoot RAW+jpeg but upon reflection hardly ever used the jpegs) with custom white balance set in camera; also shoot a few frames of a color rendition chart using bracketed exposures

2) Develop in Adobe Camera RAW via Photoshop CS5.5 applying a custom camera profile created from the color rendition chart frame showing the most accurate exposure and double checking white balance by clicking on a light grey square from the chart; synchronise camera profile and white balance to all files, then tweak each file individually before step 3

3) Save all developed files as 16-bit psd files to a separate folder named 'psd from RAW'

4) Make further adjustments to the psd files in CS5.5 and save the resulting files to another folder named 'psd edited'

5) Convert to 8-bit mode and save as jpegs to a further folder named 'jpeg for print'

6) For selected files only, 'save for web' into yet another folder named 'jpeg for web'

In this way, I end up with no less than five versions of at least some of the files in five different folders and find myself questioning whether this is the most efficient or appropriate way of working. For example, could I just work with the RAW files and skip the 'psd from RAW' stage?

For background, I usually upload all of the hi res jpeg files from a shoot to my website in a password protected client gallery with the option to purchase prints and personalised gift items for automatic fulfilment by a partner pro lab. The selected web sized jpegs are usually just used for my own portfolio on various other sites.

All opinions and suggestions will be valued. Do you think I'm working along the right lines or is there a better way?


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Re: RAW processing workflow query
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 01:57:06 PM »
Makes little sense to me.

Don't you have a database like Aperture or Lightroom?

Stick to making non destructive edits on your RAW files and repurpose from there. You can have multiple versions for the cost of a few kBs... You even print directly from there.

If you want to upload jpegs somewhere for commercial printing just export your picks for that one time.

I'd certainly not what to convert a 25MB RAW file into a 100MB Tiff or .psd just for fun...

Save Photoshop for composites or layers work.


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Re: RAW processing workflow query
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 02:42:10 PM »

Don't you have a database like Aperture or Lightroom?

That's basically your solution. Ereka, with amazing software like Lightroom out there, there really is no need to do what you're doing. Steps 2-6 will simply disappear. Lightroom has a built-in RAW processor, all changes you make are "virtual", you only export a jpeg when you need to do something with the image (post it online or print). Otherwise all your virtual adjustments sit in Lightroom, and you only have 1 version of each file.


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Re: RAW processing workflow query
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 03:11:00 PM »
I agree. I throw everything into Aperture or Lightroom straight off the camera (depending on what I'm trying to accomplish). Aperture and Lightroom accept RAW format and will streamline your workflow immensely.  For example, I also use CS5 for some edits where more intensive changes are required.  The great thing about Adobe is that everything is linked together via Bridge so you can jump from on application to another while keeping your photos organized and consolidated.  Otherwise, if I use Aperture, I normally will export the photos from Aperture as .tiff and then just work with that in photoshop or lightroom.  It seems that you are simply having database management issues that can get confusing and require you to store unnecessary versions.  However, for what it's worth... I really try to stay away from using photoshop unless it is absolutely necessary.  Instead I utilize powerful plug-ins such as nik software and topaz via aperture or lightroom. It really helps optimize your workflow and still achieve that awesome result that we all strive for.  8)

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Re: RAW processing workflow query
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 03:43:54 PM »
I think that what you are hearing is that some image management software will simplify things for you.  There is image management software designed to work hand in hand with Photoshop, or there is photography oriented software like aperture or lightroom that includes photo management as part of the package.

There are some things that are simply easier and more powerful in photoshop, but for 95% of my images, I do not need those features.  When I do, I right click on the image in Lightroom to send to photoshop, and after editing photoshop sends it back either to replace the original, or in my case, as a copy so I still have a unchanged original.  You can choose edit original, edit a copy, or even edit in lightroom and further edit in photoshop.


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Re: RAW processing workflow query
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 03:50:15 PM »
I prefer to keep all related image files in the same folder, using the same name (mostly) with different extensions: 

A raw file named IMG_0001.cr2 which remains untouched of course.
A Tiff (the PS edit, with layers) named  Subject_IMG_0001.tif  (replace with PSD, I just happen to use tif)
A couple of JPGs named Subject_IMG_0001-sm.jpg  (for the web sized version) and Subject_IMG_0001-lg.jpg for the print version.