Dee’s Digital Workflow

From Winter 2022 Newsletter, plus video at the end.

In the newsletter I offered a brief description of my digital workflow as a guide for you to think about organizing your own workflow to streamline efficiency and gain quick results. A digital workflow is very personal and you don’t need to follow someone else’s mapped out steps. However, use other’s to help you inform your own.

Here is my workflow as seen in the newsletter.  And below that, I have then elaborated further on my steps. At the end there is a video tutorial on how to make a contact sheet in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Dee's Digital Workflow

I. Image Capture
  • You first need a digital image file. A camera file or a scan are the most typical.
II. Importing
  • I am using Adobe Lightroom Classic.
  • Before importing into LrC, I go through my images on my camera and delete any obvious throwaways.
  • I store my images on an external hard drive along with my LrC catalog. The software is on my desktop.
  • During importing I backup my images by selecting “make a Digital Workflow Importing Panel. second  copy to”. The backups go to a second external hard drive.
  • Global Keywords can be applied here.
  • I do not change the filenames, nor make any development adjustment during importing. (I do not allow my software to apply an adjustment on its own algorithms. Do not give up complete control.)
  • My filing system is organized with the year as the parent folder, Digital Workflow File Organization then subfolders by subject or event. (The option to Organize By Date could possible yield 365 folders every year. Oy!)
III. Organize (in Library Module). This step can be switched in sequence with step IV.
  • At first glance at the images on my screen, I again look for throwaways that I may not have noticed on my camera’s monitor.
  • Straighten any that have not transferred correctly.
  • Begin rating and adding additional Keywords in smaller groups.
IV. Make a Contact Sheet as a print. (Or, step III here, as mentioned above.) If interested, see video on how to make a contact sheet at the bottom of page.
  • You may only know what a Contact Sheet is if you have been in Dee's Digital Workflow Example Contact Sheet. photography a long time. Many of the terms we use in digital photography come from traditional film days. A Contact Sheet is when you have thumbnails of your images on one sheet of paper.
  • Images must be as they came out of the camera and must be in the order of Capture Time so I can carefully scrutinize my shooting methods.
  • This is the moment that I switch from an image maker to a viewer’s role. To experience what I’ve captured all mechanics are set aside; no computer screen, no document files on the edges of the screen, no keyboard, no scrolling, no side panels, no notifications popping up. All senses are with the images. I mark the ones to which I feel a spark, kind of like dating : )
  • I’m sure that there are many people who do not have this step in their digital workflow, nor want it. It’s preference.
  • Begin the selection process and mark up the contact sheet.(During writing this I realized that it is the same for me when listening to music. I love holding the CD or album cover, reading its contents and checking out the art. While listening carefully to the music I can read who the guest musicians are, who are the background singers, follow the lyrics, etc.)
V. Select best images in LrC to eventually work on in the develop module. (Back to the mechanics.)
  • There is a bit of organizing that happens again during this step; collections, key wording, rating, even perhaps deleting.
  • Review image sets to confirm selection made while reviewing the contact sheet. I do this in Survey View in the Library Module. I love that viewing mode.
  • Carefully inspect the selected images individually on the screen.
VI. Enhance image quality.
  • This is probably the most important step to do in the correct order in digital workflow. It is easy to make the wrong image adjustments first.
  • Begin with global adjustments, those that will affect the entire image; exposure, contrast, cropping, white balance, saturation, clarity, dehaze, lens correction, etc.
  • Move into local adjustments for individual areas; burning, dodging, isolate individual color enhancements, spot removal, texture, vibrance, HSL, etc.
VII. Printing or Sharing!