Workflow

We had an overnight visitor this week, an old friend who happens to be a hobbyist photographer. One of the topics we chatted about was the choice of software for post processing – and specifically, he asked me: if you have Photoshop and Bridge, why do you need Lightroom? I told him that for me, Lightroom is the tool of choice because it handles workflow AND most of the things that I need to do in Photoshop in a very efficient package. He’s convinced that there must be something else to it, because taking a picture from Bridge to Photoshop is just not that big a deal.

He may be right – there may be additional reasons to use Lightroom – but as I used Lightroom to go through today’s shots, I paid a little closer attention to how I handled my workflow. It took about an hour, and it went something like this:

1. Off the top: delete 60 pictures, rate the remaining 70. Many of those remaining were exposure bracketed shots (3 identical pictures taken at different exposures, to use in HDR processing.)

2. For the two scenes where I bracketed shots: pick the ones where I like the composition the best.

3. Delete another 30 pictures.

4. Go through the remaining pictures and process about 10 of them. Here’s a sampling:

Pratt’s Falls: This is an HDR made of 3 shots. After processing them in Photomatix Pro, I made a few more tweaks to exposure and saturation in Lightroom. (This is only the middle 3rd of the falls – they’re very tall!)

Pratt's Falls

Puppy: I cropped this, adjusted the exposure and contrast, then went into Photoshop to edit out the leash, then cropped it once I was back in Lightroom:

Puppy

This puppy belongs to someone else who was visiting the falls

Striped Field: The blue sky got washed out, so I adjusted the blue saturation and luminance. Then I took it into Viveza 2 to apply structure to the tractor, and back into Lightroom for cropping.

Red Admiral: Cropped in Lightroom – no other adjustments.

Ford Falcon Futura. If this isn’t a subject for HDR, what is? After processing in Photomatix Pro (“Painterly”), I brought it into Lightroom and toned down the red on the barn.

The Barrel: this barrel was located maybe about 20 feet from the Futura. Great neighborhood! For this shot, I used Lightroom to recover the washed-out sky, added a little saturation, and then cropped to a 5 x 7 aspect ratio:

I’m guessing I saved 5-10 minutes by using Lightroom for most of the processing instead of going in to Photoshop. While I don’t take this many pictures every day, over the course of a year the time adds up.

That’s good enough for me.

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