Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Saving Master Files


The Professional Photographer’s Digital Workflow


Lesson Info

Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Saving Master Files

We're talking about finalizing images and saving master files here. Let me pull up some of those other images we had worked on, like, let's say the wave picture or something, and I'll just do an example on that. So, like I said earlier, I don't ever send, these are pro photo master files that I've created in Photoshop, these get saved with all the layers, I don't flatten the layers, I leave everything as it is. If at some point in the future I come back and feel like oh, I don't know what I was thinking there, I need to redo this a little bit, you know like dodge and burn a little more or a little less or whatever the case may be, or when I start making prints, maybe I go in and do a little bit more work after I see the print, so that might be where the master file gets tweaked a little bit. And often, before I send out images to clients, which we're gonna talk about this more, I'll make prints of those images, not every image I took, but a few of them, just to check that that color is...

looking the way I expect it to look, and if I can make a good print of an image in my office, that tells me the client's gonna be able to reproduce the image quite well, without too much difficulty, but I'm never gonna send a client a pro photo RGB image, even if they were a pretty savvy client, they may overlook the fact that it's in some giant color space and send it off to their printer and it prints horribly. So what I do is, I will flatten the layer, these are still 16 bit images as well, remember that, so when you go up here to mode, we're still in 16 bit mode, and let's say we're in pro photo RGB as you can see down here, you can actually change this little guy at the bottom which yours may not show this, it probably says document size, I have it tuned to document profile just to remind me what color space I'm in. I'm not too worried about the size of the document because I know it's straight outta the camera, I kinda know what the size is. But typically, I am converting to Adobe Camera Raw, if it's going to print, or SRGB if it's going to, I'm gonna choose that, there we go, the internet to finish that thought. So, if I just go in here and click, then you'll notice, did you watch that histogram move? It moved quite a bit, and it may or may not be a bad thing. If I do a little levels check here, and pull this off to the side, just to see, and I'm gonna hold down the option key, okay, well, it clipped a little bit, but it wasn't that bad. Let me undo that, let's go back to our history states here and flatten the image, let me go back, now let's convert it to SRGB, and it's gonna clip a lot more, so as you'll see here, bam, now it clipped all kinds of things that I didn't necessarily want it to clip, so how do you convert to a different color space and actually have control? The way I figured out to do that is, I do another little levels adjustment here, and basically, I'm gonna push the histogram off the edge and squish the histogram a little bit just momentarily, so maybe we'll do 15 and 240 here, and the image is gonna look horrible, 'cause it just got really desaturated, and then I'm gonna flatten that layer, and then I'm going to come back and I'm going to convert to profile here, and choose, I'll just do SRGB 'cause it's an extreme example. Go to SRGB, and now it didn't clip that stuff, because it didn't push it off the edge of the histogram, and now, in my layers panel, I can come back and I'll probably, you know, let me just hit my cleaning action here, I don't need all of this at this point, I'll delete some stuff 'cause I don't need to clean the image, I don't need dodge and burn, but I'll have to redo my levels adjustment here to get it back to where it was. And I know for some people, this sounds totally insane, because you've worked up your image, then you're changing it to convert it to another color space but if you're going into CNYK for off-set printing for a book or something, ooo, it gets crazy fast because the CNYK gamut is a little different than a WRGB, and if you're working up in pro photo RGB, your colors may or may not print that well, so you've gotta really pay attention on how you're changing these color gamuts, you know, color spaces from one to the other, so here, I can come in again, get this back to where it is and there's definitely some stuff that was clipping but I'm not gonna clip it. And then because we changed color spaces I might need to come in here and adjust the brightness just a tad, and I might need to adjust the vibrance, I mean it doesn't look too bad on this image right now, what we can do as well as we come into our history states and I go back up here to the original image and I compare it to where I'm at now in the new color space, and that tells me if I've gone too far with the vibrance or you know, it doesn't look the same to our eyes, so that's essentially how I convert to other color spaces, and honestly, you know, if I've got 200 images, I'm not gonna go through and do this for every single image. If I am creating images for a book, then I will do this 'cause I want it to print really well for the book or for the magazine if it's five or six images. If I'm sending off 200 images to Red Bull from a recent shoot, you know I'm just gonna go back into Lightroom to these master files and export them as SRGB for the web, and I'll take a look at them real quick in Bridge or wherever, and just make sure they're not atrociously different than what I saw, so it depends on how much time I have, how much care I need to take for these images. Often when I'm printing images, I will print them in Adobe RGB color space if I'm worried about colors, but since so many of the printers, the Canon and the Epsons can actually print a little more than the Adobe RGB color space, you're often printing out a pro photo RGB and you just see what happens, so I will, when I do actually save these, I'll save these a little differently, alongside my master file, and I'll put a little underscore here, just put SRGB or Adobe ARGB, and that will tell me that is an SRGB fine tuned image, it's not a pro photo image, so that when you go back and look in here, it hasn't saved it just yet, but it's working on it. It's gonna show up as a separate image with the SRGB suffix on the end, and I know for all of you there's like, this guy is totally nuts, but, you know, that's the level at which I'm working and clients notice this stuff. I definitely get hired, and I have been told by clients we're hiring you because you're good, but we're also hiring you 'cause we know we're gonna get a file in the end that's gonna print well and reproduce well, and they've obviously had some nightmares with other photographers where images did not reproduce well, so that's why I keep pushing on this because I've heard feedback from clients like we need the ultimate color, we need everything as good as it is, as good as it can be, you know, and in photography if you wanna stand out from the crowd these days, everything you do is a factor, how well you can work up your images, you know, like I said at the beginning of this class, how well you can work up your images is gonna be a major factor in how good your images look in the end, more than just how you shot the image, and especially these days, I would say, post processing, retouching, whatever you're doing after the image is shot is probably 50 percent of the image making process, as it has been since the beginning of photography, you know, Ansel Adams was in the dark room for hours and hours and hours working on one print, dodging and burning the old school way, you know, with blocking light and letting light through, so that's been a big part of it, and he's a famous photographer not just because he shot incredible images of Yosemite and everywhere else, but because of how he worked them up at such a high level, so that's why I think this class is so important, and most people forget about how important the post processing is, even though it may not be massive retouching on a portrait, it's just little things and fine tuning how your eye goes around the image within the ethics of whatever part of photography you're in, just wanna be clear there. And honestly, I think I said it earlier, National Geographic has this stuff dialed. That's why when you open up National Geographic magazine, those images look amazing, because they've got all of this fine tuned to a really high level. So, a lot of information there, this is definitely, I mean I didn't go that far in Photoshop, I didn't do too much actually, but those little things make a big difference on the images, and sometimes, honestly I cherry pick some images where the difference is gonna be a little bit bigger, sometimes, like the wave picture, the difference before and after is not giant, I mean, it's almost imperceptible and there are a few occasions where I do like two points of level adjustments after I get outta Lightroom, and that's all I do, you know, it's not much, so it just depends on the image.

Class Description

Setting up a practical and efficient workflow with your photography feels like a daunting part of your business. Internationally recognized photographer Michael Clark introduces you to techniques to allow you more time to shoot the images you want. His workflow philosophy is that you must first know how you are going to edit the image in post production to know how you need to shoot it.

In this class Michael teaches:

  • Best practices for a shooting workflow from setting up your camera to histograms and exposure
  • How to clean the sensor on your DSLR camera
  • Color management workflow including your work environment and monitor calibration
  • An overview of Lightroom® and multiple ways to speed up your workflow including file folder and batch naming as well as metadata and archival processes
  • Techniques to finalizing your images in Photoshop® with basic adjustments and retouching
  • Making fine art prints, choosing your printer, paper, understanding ICC profiles, and much more!

Michael covers everything you need to know in order to streamline your post production workflow in Lightroom® and Photoshop® and best practices for printing your art at home. Digital photography is far more complicated than shooting film ever was. Knowing the best practices for a digital workflow will make you a better photographer.


1Class Introduction 2Shooting Workflow: Set-up The Camera 3Shooting Workflow: Histograms and Exposure 4Shooting Workflow: Sensor Cleaning 5Overview of Color Management 6Color Management: Monitor 7Color Management: Workspace 8Color Management: Monitor Calibration 9Color Management: Do I Need This? 10Introduction to Lightroom® 11Download & Import Images With Lightroom® 12Lightroom® Preferences 13Six Ways to Speed-up Lightroom® 14To DNG or Not to DNG? 15A Logical Editing Process in Lightroom® 16File & Folder Naming in Lightroom® 17Batch Renaming in Lightroom® 18Entering Metadata in Lightroom® 19Managing Images in Lightroom® 20Introduction to the Develop Module in Lightroom® 21Lightroom® Develop Module 22Sharpening, Chromatic Aberration & Vignetting in Lightroom® 23Graduated Filters & Spot Tool in Lightroom® 24Converting images to Black & White in Lightroom® 25Creating Panoramas in Lightroom 26Creating HDR Images in Lightroom® 27Lightroom® to Photoshop® Workflow 28Export Images to Photoshop® 29Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Basic Adjustments 30Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Retouching 31Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Saving Master Files 32Make Fine Art Prints: The Cost 33Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Printers 34Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Papers 35Make Fine Art Prints: Understand ICC Profiles 36Make Fine Art Prints: Sharpen Image 37Printing From Photoshop® 38Printing From Lightroom® 39Compare Monitor to Physical Prints 40Printing Black & White Image 41Extended Workflow: Back Up Images 42Extended Workflow: Storage Options 43Extended Workflow: Archiving Images 44Submitting images to Clients 45Prepping Images for Social Media 46Alternative Workflows 47Final Q&A


a Creativelive Student

Michael is a true professional and readily explains all of the nitty gritty issues of a photographer's digital workflow, including important things like Color Management, Lightroom workflows, Printing, and more. He is eager to answer your questions and has a thorough knowledge (after all, he worked with the original engineers at Adobe and wrote a book on it) and passion that he loves to share. He can get way deep into the subject, which I found fascinating. You can tell Michael has great experience in teaching and also likes to learn from his students. He is very authentic, honest, and direct. I highly recommend this class, and look forward to another one of Michael's courses in the future!

a Creativelive Student

This is an excellent course. It reinforced what I already knew and enhanced my spotty skills with new knowledge. I really like Michael's explanation of saving the document for print and web and the importance of doing these differently. Using the histogram to show this was terrific. Each session there is some valuable gem.

Angelita Sanchez

A fantastic course to give you a complete view of the full process of photography. Michael is an awesome instructor, very organized! A clear mind, and an approachable instructor always willing to answer your questions! A must for all photographers!