Developing a Photography Workflow, the Basics

Establishing a work-flow for processing your images can speed the editing up a great deal hence saving you time to do other things you love.

I recommend the first thing you do is back up your photos. Don’t do it later, do it now and I recommend backing up to a DVD or to an external hard drive.

The most obvious thing to do once you’ve downloaded your photos to your computer is delete the ones that are no good. You will have a few, perhaps many not so flattering photos so go through and get rid of the ones that will be too much work to edit. This can include out of focus, poorly exposed, and not so pretty facial expressions. Toss them out and never look back!

Color adjustments come next. This is where you’ll want to check your levels, contrast, saturation, etc. If you don’t know how to do all this manually, simply trying using auto levels & auto contrasts. Many times it can make a significant difference and improve the quality of the photo.

This is the time to do any extra editing you want like blurring, dodging, and burning. After this, you can use sharpen.

Now save your photo. I use Photoshop so I like to save as PSD and JPEG. After you have saved your photo, you can crop or resize to your liking. I always do this after everything else just in case I crop too much or resize too small. I know that I have the original processed and saved so there won’t be any need to panic if I mess up.

Printing to Paper

There are many factors that affect how your image will turn out printed to paper vs. printed to web. It all has to do with RGB, more pixels and other fancy jargon. In a nutshell, the higher resolution images result in higher quality prints. To give you an idea, here’s the recommend resolution for certain print sizes.cameraflow

  • – 1 megapixel 640 x 480 4×6
  • – 1.x megapixel 1280 x 960 4×6
  • – 2.x megapixel 1600 x 1200 4×6, 5×7, 8×10
  • – 3.x megapixel 2048 x 1536 4×6, 5×7, 8×10
  • – 4.x megapixel 2372 x 1804 4×6, 5×7, 8×10
  • – 5.x megapixel 2560 x 1920 4×6, 5×7, 8×10

Here are the minimum resolutions recommended:

  • – 4×6–640×480 pixels
  • – 5×7 –1050×750 pixels
  • – 8×10–1500×1200 pixels

Not all of this will apply to everyone, but what’s great about establishing a work-flow, is finding out what works for you and what steps you can add or avoid for the process to run smooth. Every photographer is different and once you set up a routine, you’ll be able to backup, edit, manage, save and even print your photos in not time.

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  1. says

    This is probably overkill for most people, but as a professional studio, we use Lightroom to help narrow, fix levels, etc before we even open Photoshop. If you go through a ton of photos, this will save you quite a bit of time. Worth looking into.