I took these at the LVHRD event on Thursday-- it was pouring rain, and the neighborhood was covered in fog. Since I was MCing, I only brought my little camera, the Canon SD-550, and to get these shots, I put it in manual mode and wedged it in the crack of a window. I couldn't decide which of the two I liked more, so I'm showing you both.
News from the computer department: after checking out Adobe Bridge, Aperture, and IViewMedia, I've decided to go with IView for my photo organization process. It's the simplest of the three, and it's lightweight. I like that it operates right on the folders, without creating unnecessary linkages, copies, or duplications. It's fairly intuitive to use, doesn't do too much, and is the most similar to Windows built-in photo-management stuff. In short, perfect for now. If Aperture slims down in the future, that might become an option. I'd like to thank everyone who wrote in with advice; there are so many ways to do this stuff that it really comes down to what suits your style best. I'm going to include some of the emails below in case anyone wants more detailed advice.
First about process, I would have to recommend Aperture, although the machine req's are steep, it's a little bloated right now, but it does so much all under one hood that it is hard to ignore. I use it for all my NYtimes stuff, and also now that the library structure is opened up, I am using it for project management where the files are located in their original folders.
You can use Bridge too, but Bridge is unreliable, at least in my experience in a networked environment. It might be better on a single machine. But it does not really do anything, there is the image processor which is handy to generate web sized photos for upload for example, but essentially the combo of photoshop, ACR and Bridge is clunky. there is no synergy between the apps, as in Aperture.
In Aperture I can dump all the raws there, and select output for my website, for upload, for print etc as needs be. (the print part is not so good however, Lightroom is a lot better,, but beta, so don't trust it with much). Also with Aperture I can organize projects in album form without having to make copies in different folders, I can move the ideas around so to speak without having to move the images around.
Downside is that it is slow, but if you consider the total of what it is doing, it is saving time overall.
Now if you do a lot of selecting in photoshop, or layer adjustments and use brushes or masking as part of your image flow, then Aperture is not for you exactly, although you can roundtrip images to photoshop and back to aperture if you need to. so I would not rule it out. iviewmedia pro is a great cataloguing app.
As far as photo workflow on the Mac, I'll be happy to share mine with
you. I shoot live music and editorial assignments for community
papers (like The Villager and Downtown Express), but most of my photo
output is fine art or personal projects. I shoot a Canon 5D (in RAW
mode, pretty much exclusively) for digital/color and a Leica M6 for
35mm (usually black and white), scanning the negatives with VueScan on
a Nikon Coolscan 5000. The process is pretty much the same for each.
For digital, when I get back from a shoot, I copy the RAWs from the
memory card(s) to a temp folder on an internal hard drive. I use a
USB card reader, so the memory card just shows up as a volume on the
desktop like a portable hard drive. Then I make a second copy to an
external hard drive.
I make a new folder in my working area named with the date (e.g.
2006-11-18). If I'm going to process the RAW files with Adobe Camera
RAW, I'll do a batch conversion of them into DNG format (using Adobe's
drag and drop DNG utility) into the date-named folder. I often
jetison the original RAWs on my internal hard drive at this point (but
I still have two copies of the originals, one on an external drive and
the original data on the memory card in case I need to go back to them
in the short term for any reason).
Then I'll open Adobe Bridge and point it at the date-named folder
containing the DNGs I converted from RAW earlier. The first thing I
do is apply a metadata template to all the images that embeds my name,
email, copyright, etc. Then I'll start making selects, depending on
how many images I need to deliver (rarely more than 2-3). I use
Bridge's starring and labeling tools and visibility filtering to
whittle them down to the few that I want to process.
If they're all in mostly the same light, and similar exposures, I'll
open one in the Adobe Camera RAW plugin, white balance it and make
some quick adjustments to exposure, shadows, brightness and contrast
and apply those settings to all of the selects. Then I'll open the
files one at a time in the ACR plugin, perhaps make some more
finer-grained adjustments, and convert them to 16-bit TIFF files which
open up into Photoshop CS2.
I'll do my image processing on them and save each out as a master TIFF
(usually appending '_print' to the filename, indicating it's ready for
final output sharpening and printing) and then save another version of
the file depending on the format I need to deliver it in. This is
usually a somewhat downsized version at 300ppi converted to sRGB
colorspace and 8-bit and saved out as a lightly compressed JPEG (8-10
quality) for emailing to the editor. Since the repro in the papers is
pretty low quality, I don't really lose anything by using a small
colorspace like sRGB and then they're also ready to be posted on the
web without other conversions (other than downsizing and maybe some
For scanned film, it's much the same process only I do my selects on a
physical contact sheet with a loupe and then only scan the negatives I
want to work with in Photoshop. These also come into Photoshop as
16-bit TIFFs, so the process is the same after that. But sometimes I
over-scan and will then do a similar whittling process in Bridge on
the raw scans, apply my metadata template, etc.
I have started to use Phase One Capture One LE instead of Adobe Camera
RAW for some projects, so that changes things a little bit but not too
much. For example, I don't convert into DNG format because C1 can't
currently read converted DNGs.
Anyway, that's about it. Hope this helps, and let me know if you have
any questions. I'd be interested to hear about the workflow you
finally arrive at, I think there may be some things I'm doing out of
rote and I'm always eager to learn ways to streamline my own workflow.
I've found that using the Image Capture software to download my pics from the camera gives me more control over organising my photographs, otherwise iPhoto seems to take over :-)
So now I import my images via Image Capture > Organise my photographs into my own folder structure > Switch off the option in iPhoto Prefs to 'Copy files to iPhoto Library' > Then import my images, this way I don't get two copies of my photographs hogging HD space.
I use iPhoto for organisation only, I know a lot of professional photographers who swear by iView, but iPhoto works so well with all the other Mac apps.
Okay, here's my Very Abbreviated Guide to Joe's Photo Workflow on the
Photo browsing and organizing:
1. Avoid Aperture like the plague. It's got tons of brilliant, brilliant
features but it's just horribly slow, even on my son's Intel iMac and my
brother's MacBook Pro. And it's just the most horribly difficult
interface to figure out. Give it a year and reconsider.
2. iPhoto is okay for browsing snapshots, but not great for serious
work. But it's free. If you try it, be sure to set the preferences so
that it doesn't create its own dataabase, but uses your photos in their
3. Many journalists and photographers I know love Photo Mechanic. I
tried it and I like it a lot. It's not too too expensive and it's really
fast. And it'll be around for a long time.
4. I use iView Media Pro... It's fairly intuitive, it's got TONS of features
(I create Web portfolios, turn RAW into jpegs, label, sort, move and
copy, make backup CDs, run slide shows, print "contact sheets," batch
rename, etc.). It was just bought by Microsoft, so I think it'll be
around for awhile. (But no price drop!) Photo Mechanic is more intuitive
to use, but iView is pretty good.
So I use iView to import the files off my Compact Flash card, and then I
view right away, deleting the dogs, labeling my picks (I hit 7 in iView
and those are labeled yellow).
Then I use DxO Optics Pro to correct lens distortion (but I don't use
the other features). This fixes all my lenses' barreling and
pincushioning really well. I save files in DxO as .dng files.
From there, I bring them into Photoshop, using Photoshop's RAW importer.
I really like PS's RAW tools, for white balance. I use it to set shadow
and highlight points, add contrast, etc.
I do the rest in the main part of Photoshop. In PS I make a lot of use
of Fred Miranda's plug-ins, especially his CS Pro (for sharpening), WP
Pro (to shrink to Web size), and BW Workflow Pro (for really flexible
conversion to black and white). That sharpening plug-in is better than
the high-end tools I've tried, and I compared side-by-side.
For noise reduction, I use Noise Ninja Pro.
And the files I'm going to print or post online I store in two folders:
Blog Storage, and Final Print Images.
I do own Aperture, and I use it for certain projects. I did a whole set
of CBGB photos and I used Aperture for those, because certain features
are very cool.
Okay, so this is the workflow:
Import into iView and mark.
Correct distortion in DxO and save as .dng
Bring into Photoshop's RAW interface and do initial fixes
Finish in Photoshop and shrink for web using Fred Miranda's plug-in.
Thought I would share my system for organizing, it seems to have worked pretty well for me.
1-Download files from card to computer. ( I organize in folders by date. I have a "2006 photos" folder and inside it are folders for each day I shoot e.g "2006-11-17"
2- Rename files ( I use a date plus three digit system e.g. 20061117_001.jpg)
2- Duplicate files- I drag a copy of that folder to another large Lacie external drive to keep as a backup
3- Load files into an iView Media Pro (www.iview-multimedia.com) catalog. This app has been my standard of organizing for a few years. I have one master file for each year, and inside it you can organize with tags, keywords, shoots, ranking, etc. Makes life really easy when you are quickly needing to find a certain file... It also plays well with photoshop and the adobe metadata system.
From there I usually move right to photoshop with the files I want to work with.
I've used Adobe Lightroom BETA for a while, and it is really amazing if you shoot RAW, but being beta, and a bit larger system hog, I don't use it as my primary.