Friday, August 15, 2008

Digital Workflow

I get many e-mails about digital work flow. Some e-mails are asking me to give a work flow for they can get started, others ask for an evaluation to see if something can be done better.

I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but my work flow evolves and changes over time and my work flow doesn't work for everyone else. Nor can it. But, it's not a bad idea to listen to other's work flow. You can always find a gem.

There is not any one way a work flow can be done to suit everyone. There are too many variables that make each person’s work flow a little bit different than the next persons. Also, a work flow isn't set in stone. Because of variables the work flow system evolves. What variables you might ask? Here is a list to get you started:

• file sizes
• file types
• color spaces
• for print or for web, or both
• average frames per-shoot
• how often do you have sessions
• computer speed
• JPG (please no!) or RAW?
• Converting to DGN?
• storage capabilities
• seasonal or full time shooter
• time it takes to retouch
• what level of retouching needs to be done
• single user or multiple users
• MAC or Windows or Linux
• what software is being used
• work in one location, or many
• how many files do the customer see compared to how many you shoot
• how quick do the clients need to see their images

As you can see there is a lot that can make a work flow different and a lot that can make it change. Over the years I have come to realize the quantity of images is a good place to start on work flow. Most shooters that shoot 500-1000+ images per shoot will have a similar work flow. Not the same, but similar. Those shooters only shooting 60 images a session won't have to have such an extensive work flow. Also, depending on if you are a jpeg (shame on you!) or raw shooter, your work flow will be different.

Speaking of raw shooting, did you know that if you are in JPG mode your camera is still shooting a raw file then converting it to a JPG? Why waste that time and battery power in file converting inside the camera?! Why waste 4 to 6 bits per pixel of data when it's going to capture it anyhow?!

Above is Roberta. She always has a killer swimsuit to show off. This is the only shot I took of her on the beach, my camera broke immediately afterward. It's currently on its way to the company for repair.

Comment if you have work flow questions.