Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Digital Photography Workflow Part 2 (Processing)

In Part1 I covered capture and getting the images on to the PC

Having downloaded all my files to my PC, Downloader Pro then launches straight into Breezebrowser Pro for the initial sort out of images. Breezebrowser Pro is a great tool for handling batches of raw images, it makes it easy to email proofs, generate webpages, edit metadata and sift through a group of images in slideshow mode.

Sorting the wheat from the chaff

The first thing to do with my images is to delete the duff shots from the shoot. First I check that BBPro is in the "High Quality" mode (Ctrl+Q) which applies screen sharpening to each image which makes it very easy to see the sharpness of an image.

I then select all the images in the shoot (Ctrl+A) and display them as a slideshow (Ctrl+S). I move through the slide show using the right arrow key and tagging any images for deletion using the up arrow key. At the end of the slideshow I select only the tagged items (f6) and send them to the recycle bin (del).

The number of images I delete on this first pass varies with the type of shoot: on a carefully measured landscape shoot there would only be one or two deletions but if I was trying to shoot dogs running about on a windswept beach over half the shots can be rejects due to the conditions and the models not being too co-operative!

The reason that I can be quite harsh with these deletions is that my download procedures make sure I always have a backup of every image. If I delete an image then the backup becomes the only copy of the image, so that’s why I use the recycle bin – just in case I decide that I shouldn’t have deleted it.

Deciding what to process

I could use the built in raw converter in BBPro or the converter built into Photoshop – both of which could be started automatically from BBPro but unfortunately I find that Capture One (from Phase One) produces the best results. The current version of Capture One doesn’t support a way to start it in a particular directory, so I have to start C1 and then navigate to the right directory and file to do my more detailed viewing and raw processing.

I now use the full screen view in C1 to work through the images tagging those which will be worth running through the raw converter.

Processing in C1

The raw processing in Capture One consists of the following:

  • Adjusting the White Balance
  • Adjusting the Exposure
  • Outputting as a 16bit tiff

The processed file then opens automatically in Photoshop.I won’t detail the whole process as Keith Henson has done a great job in his Capture One Tutorial.


The first job in Photoshop is to view the image at 100% and clone out any dust spots using either the clone tool or the spot healing brush tool.

Usually I like to keep my images close to what comes out of the raw convertor but the extra processing depends on the images but may consist of:

All adjustments are done on layers then the image is saved back to the tiffs sub directory.

For security, all the files mentioned in this part of the workflow (raw, tiffs & web-ready) are backed-up using the Microsoft Synctoy tool, which is set to backup the machine from a scheduled batch file.

In part 3 I will be cover Outputting the image to web and print.

If you are getting a sense of Deja-vue that is because this blog was originally in the Articles section of the site...but I'm having a tidy up!

My Workflow

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