A Workflow That Works in Lightroom
Gonna get into some real workflow stuff now. I'll probably just preempt this session by saying you're joined by probably one of the most premier workflow solution and digital artists on the planet at the moment, his work is just absolutely phenomenal.
Thank you Mike.
We trust him, there's a lot of us that trust him with our prints, our prints for competition, so this is a real pleasure. I'm sitting here so I can learn a lot as well today. (laughing)
Very good okay, let's talk about that dirty word of workflow. And the idea for us photographers guys is to have a workflow in place so it's all about workflow and not workslow, because you know how many people just kill their lives, their social lives, their family time, with being chained behind a computer.
I used to.
Yeah you used to?
I used to yeah.
Yeah now you aren't so--
Now I send it to him so that's good. (laughing)
But it's all about being efficient with your workflow and today we're gonna show you how we do it, a...
nd talk you through the steps of being organized, and you know being efficient. I'm gonna talk a little bit about the image making process first. Now as a photographer we have a creative vision and there are very, very important elements that make up that creative vision. On earlier sessions we spoke about capture, but it doesn't just end on good capture. Capture is the key to everything that we do, sure, but post production is there to enhance what we've already captured. And then last but not least it's all about the final print. Whether that prints gonna be a fine art print, or whether that print's gonna be an album or a book. Okay these are all the things that come together to create your creative vision. So essentially what we do as photographers, we need to be able to see the end result before we actually start. It's like driving somewhere without a map: if you don't have a map, you don't know how you're gonna get there, or if you'll ever get there, or where that is. Okay the idea is to have a destination and to have a plan of attack, and to have your workflow map clearly in place so that you know when to stop and when enough is enough, okay? So understanding post production effectively does equal better capture, because if you know where you can go with things you'll know where to place those tones. We spoke about it at the shooting session, you know, where we needed to place highlights to be highlights so that our shadows will have enough information so that we weren't having to deal with noisy shadows in post production. So if you understand what happens in post production to a file, then you understand that it needs to be captured correctly, and it needs to be given due respect. When Lightroom first came out photographers did probably about 10% of their work in Lightroom and used it as just an image management software, and 90% was still done in Photoshop. Well everything's changed. Cause Lightroom now for us 90% of what we do is done in Lightroom, 10% is done in Photoshop, and there are very two distinct different workflows: one is our wedding workflow, which we're gonna be discussing today and which is relevant to the course that you're viewing now, but then there's a totally different workflow when we talk about high end retouching, for fine art printing, and competition leveling. So today we'll stick with the wedding workflow. So if you're a wedding photographer you should definitely use these two pieces of software: Photoshop and Lightroom. And it's a marriage made in heaven. A lot of people think that I've got Lightroom, I don't really need Photoshop. Well hopefully today I can debunk that myth because I think you do need Photoshop, especially when it comes down to you know pixel based editing. When we need to retouch skin and effectively remove distractions from backgrounds, because of a request of our couple. So that we need to be very clear and effective as to what can be done in Photoshop, and what can be done in Lightroom. The beauty of course of light room is that everything that we do, any adjustments that we apply to a file, are non destructive. Which is awesome. That means that we have a preview on a screen of an image and we can play with it to our hearts content without actually really affecting our real file. Nothing changes until we export that file and those adjustments are applied to that raw file and we have our output, whether it be a JPEG or a PSD or a TIFF. So why is having a consistent workflow really so important? First and foremost it's all about efficiency. Number two it's about the quality of what you produce. Last but not least, and the most important part of workflow, is profitability. There's no point shooting a wedding and then coming back and spending three weeks editing it, because when you do the math how much are you really making an hour? I did an exercise with a colleague of mine, we worked out he was making about $4.00 an hour. Not really the sort of rates you wanna be making as a professional photographer. He used to spend hours and hours in Lightroom going around and around in circles never knowing when to win, and never knowing when enough was enough! And what needed to be done to an image.
I can directly relate to that. Because my early years spend, especially in Photoshop, were spent with many many late nights playing, and I call it playing because it was it was just playing with images. And yes I learned a lot but I also learned that I lost a lot of money at that time, because my efficiency went down throughout the whole process the whole studio went down in flames because of me and my slowness in this workflow. So it may not be relevant to you at this direct stage, maybe you're just early on in your career shooting weddings but especially when you get to even 10, 15, 20 weddings, this efficient workflow, and keeping the quality of that workflow up to standard, is really key to you making money.
Yeah and I mean as photographers I guess at some point we develop a series of routines for capturing, copying, processing our digital photographs however if these routines are sloppy or unorganized this error keeps on multiplying as you go along, and it's detrimental to your profitability at the end of the day. The idea is to develop a consistent workflow the speeds up the entire process, and is consistent and does not sacrifice quality. First and foremost we still wanna produce the highest possible quality that we can to give our clients. So workflow without compromising the quality or sacrificing my creative control as a photographer. Let's draw a bit of a map, the road to success, how do we get there? Top of the list once again is capture. In the earlier sessions we really, really honed in on capture and how important it was to get it right in camera. Number two, an effective downloading system. Editing/culling: what do you keep, what do you take out and why? Enhancing, stylizing, and then the final piece of the jigsaw is the exporting phase. Now with the exporting phase there are different, many many different directions we can take out of Lightroom based upon the final destination of the image. Whether it's gonna be a JPEG that'll end up on a web or whether it's gonna be a high end 16 bit PSD that we'll then bring into Photoshop to do further editing. Lightroom controls all of that. So Lightroom, the beauty of Lightroom now we're using Lightroom CC, is really all about having image processing and great image asset management. All combined into one little, beautiful bundle. Isn't that awesome? I love it. So of course Lightroom, breaking it down even further, is able to process a large number of images at once and as wedding photographers we shoot a lot of files. However I'm gonna just allude to a little something now, it's not about the quantity of files we deliver our clients. It's about the quality of files we deliver our clients. It is an extremely high quality image processor, it is an image database management system, and the part I love the most is that it's not destructive editing. So everything we do in Lightroom is non destructive. And we can do so by making virtual copies and so on, so it's endless what we can do in Lightroom. Having said that there is a danger: just because it's endless doesn't mean that we need to spend hours on it. Once again, we need to have a map, and we need to stick to our plan. We need to stick to your destination and get there.