DESIGN YOUR OWN WORKFLOW OR WORKFLOW (AND YOU’LL NEVER LOSE A PHOTO AGAIN)

If you have been immersed in this exciting world of photography for a while , it is sadly possible that for some reason you lost more than one image, accidentally deleting it when you looked at it on the computer screen, for a bad import, because it has spoiled you your computer, your memory card was lost or because you kept it go to know where … Anyway, unfortunately, a thousand things can happen to you even before taking a picture. And one thing is bad luck, and another is bad praxis , we can do little against bad luck, but we can fight against misunderstandings (and a very clueless person who almost has almost done so tells you). Let’s see how

WHAT IS A WORKFLOW?

We translate it as a workflow , and it is the whole orderly process that we must perform in a general way whenever we work with our images. That is, from when you prepare to take pictures until you save them in a definitive folder. A consistent workflow will streamline your work and ensure you don’t lose your images along the way.

OBJECTIVES OF A WORKFLOW

At this point you are still wondering why you use a workflow. It is very simple, a workflow seeks to identify and mechanize the different steps necessary from the preparation of the material to the final edition of the images. A workflow can be applied to anything, not only applied in photography, constantly applied in companies (in accounting, logistics, etc.) and seeks to simplify and mechanize the different processes to minimize the margin of error of the one who performs them. In this case you.

In short, a Workflow or workflow looks for:

  • Mechanize and automate the different process steps
  • Simplify the work process
  • Establish control mechanisms to avoid and correct errors

WHERE DO I BEGIN?

One of the first things you should learn is that the workflow that works for menganito doesn’t have to work for you. That is to say, a search in the workflow network in Lightroom or in Photoshop will not work for you without understanding that it not only applies to the way you work in these programs, but that it starts and ends at home, long before leaving for take photographs and, above all, that each photographer has their needs and must find their own system and workflow.

The first thing you should do is separate and identify the different steps that involve taking pictures (before and after), for example:

  • Preparation of the material before leaving: Check (Checklist) charged batteries, empty memory cards, tripod, etc.
  • Review of the camera settings before taking pictures (check that we are not working in manual with old parameters), be working in the format we want, white balance, and so on.
  • How to act when you get home: Charge the batteries, clean the lenses, store the material correctly, download the images, and so on.
  • Image editing : You can create a workflow within the general workflow when working with images. This is one of the most delicate parts of the process.
  • Image storage : Where, how and why. In what format, in what place, with what name. Where will the originals go, the edited ones, with what quality, etc. Ask yourself everything before you start and try to answer all these questions to avoid possible mistakes or that you have to work triple.

Here is a very basic (very, very simple) example of how you could start a workflow. From the general titles would arise the different ramifications and steps (you have many templates in Microsoft Word or in any similar program).

Example of basic Workflow from which to develop the rest of the points

EDITING AND STORAGE OF IMAGES

This is, in my view, one of the most delicate parts of the whole process, so I will try to expand it a bit and give you some basic tips to start working with. However, remember that each photographer must design their own workflow and what seems right to me may be fatal to you. That is why I will just give you some very basic general indications and, from them, you do, undo and expand what you think

  • Download the images : Define how and where you are going to do it. If you are going to download them directly into a folder, if you prefer to do it in your editor, use a program like Adobe Bridge to have them organized, and so on.

Depending on the use that you are going to give to your images, you can have several folders or subfolders with the images in different formats and qualities . For example, a folder to upload photos to social networks, internet or share, another with the originals, another with the final edited copies … To your liking, but you should always do it in a structured and orderly manner.

    • Familiarize yourself with your editor: Whatever editor you use, it is important that you know their functionalities well, especially what is likely to be mechanized and facilitate the editing and archiving work. My personal recommendation is that if you do not have much idea of which one to choose and you can afford it, do the test with Lightroom , which not only has a good storage system but is an editor with all the adjustments that you may generally need as a photographer .
    • The order is essential , because a few images are easy to find, but when you start storing Gigas and Gigas of images here and there and want to recover some, if you do not have them well organized, it will be impossible. And between finding nothing and losing it there is definitely little difference. To do this you can create the folders you see necessary, for example: Images-> Travel-> Rome-> 161022_Roma_0001.jpg or as you do better, but it is a good idea to set date and place at least, or that which then serves you to find them easily.
  • You should also ask yourself where you are going to save the set of the definitive images On the computer, on an external hard drive, or both? What will you do when they are filled? What will you do with the insurmountable? How will you organize yourself? Wondering in the long term will save you a lot of problems and work in the future.

Never automate image deletion after importing. Do it directly from the camera once you have verified that the import was successful. This way you will avoid that if an error happens with the import you will be without all the images. (Error I learned in the first person ).

  • Have a plan B on hand . A workflow must also include the solution to possible errors that do not depend directly on the process (what to do before a damaged memory card , if the import stops halfway, if the computer stops working, and so on). Many times our nerves play tricks and we play things that we shouldn’t or crush something we could have saved with some planning .
You must find the workflow or workflow that suits you

BACKUPS

Another classic, because nothing ever happens until it happens. Because you never think that your computer can fail until it fails. Having at least one extra copy of each image in a safe place will save you dramas many times without solution.

I also recommend that you invest in at least one external hard drive to store them. The most Puritans will have at least two, in case one fails, you always have the other. Or one for the original images and one for the edited ones, as you see

MAKE COPIES ALSO ON PAPER

It’s a bit archaic in this super digital era that we have had to live, but let’s not fool ourselves, unless there is a fire, the paper does not fail. Making albums is a good idea, it forces you to select images, edit them and is a way of giving them a little life, and teaching them to your friends or family without killing them from boredom.

PUT EVERYTHING IN WRITING

Do not believe that you will memorize the steps to the first. Write it all down, to what seems most obvious, make a concise and orderly scheme and complete it step by step until you have mechanized it.

  • Feel free to customize, change the initial process. One thing is theory and another is practice, and in many cases it is only learned and improved through error.
Put everything in writing to not forget anything

How about? Do you dare to create your own workflow? Personally I think it is worth the small initial effort and saves you a lot of time and mistakes in the future because, even if it doesn’t seem like it, 90% of the mistakes we blame on bad luck are really a bit of our fault  and we could Having avoided them with some prevention.

If you found it useful and / or interesting and share it so that more people can benefit from the information. Thank you and see you next time

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