This is my previous RAW workflow:
Download images from card to working folder on my computer.
2: Open Raw Shooters Essential, and review images,
flagging the ones I want to delete. I do a quick review
of the images marked for deletion, and then get rid
of them. If time allows, I just let the images sit for
a while and do a second review loop after a week or
so - this lets me review my images more objectively,
without the memory of the trip or shooting situation
clouding my judgement.
3: Open Adobe Bridge and batch-rename all the
files remaining. If any of the images are .CRW or Panasonic
RAW files, I convert them to DNG format. This removes
the sidecar file in the case of the .CRW files (conceptually,
I prefer the ideaof 1 file per image); also, it reduces
the file size of the Panasonic RAW format to 8-9Mb per
image, as opposed to the 18MB original size. CR2 files
get left as is.
4: Open each file that I want to process in Adobe
Camera RAW, and adjust color temperture and tweak exposure
if needed. Note that unlike wedding photographers or
commercial photographers, I don't need to batch-process
large number of files - nor would it be feasible, as
lighting conditions can vary significantly from shot
to shot, as can my vision for the desired output.
5: Open the image in Photoshop, making
sure sharpening in ACR is set to zero. For web display
or small prints, I open the file as an 8-bit image.
For large prints or agency submissions, I open as a
6: Apply noise reduction if needed, using Noise
Ninja (Neat Image is supposed to work quite well, too).
Noise reduction is best applied in the early stage,
before additional sharpening artefacts are introduced.
I generally apply noise reduction only to shots taken
at 400 ISO or greater with my DSLRs - however, I apply
it to all shots taken with my compacts.
7: Apply capture sharpening using Photokit Sharpener
and save as TIFF. Capture sharpening is part of a 3-step
sharpening workflow that I have adopted. This is the
first step, where the image is sharpened to compensate
for any inherent softness introduced as part of the
digitcal capture or scanning process. This step is performed
first, before making any contrast or tonal adjustments
to the image.
8 (for stock agency submissions): For submissions
to my agency, which requires 50MB files, I first upsize
the image, prior to performing any edits. I use QImage's
resizing software - it works really well and I have
not missed Genuine Fractals. Usually, I convert a bunch
of files up to step 7, and then batch-upsize with QImage.
Then I resume individual post-processing from step 9
9: Open again in Photoshop and adjust contrast.
This step can consist of one or many adjustments: simple
curves adjustment, blending in multiple layers, use
of masks and multiple layers, and more. There is no
simple formula here - what I use depends on the starting
image, my goal for the ending image and the nature of
10: Adjust saturation. I use either Fred Miranda's
Velvia Vision plug-in or simply Photoshop's Variations
11: Apply creative sharpening, if needed. Creative
sharpening is the optional second step of my 3-step
sharpening process, and consists of selective sharpening
to satisfy the user's vision. Generally, I don't use
it much - if I do, it is to sharpen the subject's eyes
and any other features that I think are important.
12: Save the resulting image as a TIFF (usually
8 bits). If I am submitting to an agency, then this
is the final product - I make a set of duplicate 8-bit
TIFFs which I archive separately.
13 - For Web display: Downsample the image to
around 500-550 pixels on the wide end, using Bicubic
Sharper. I find this size to be good enough for web
display and low-res enough that I don't have to worry
about my images being boosted for any serious commercial
applications. Then I apply output sharpening. This is
the third stage in the 3-step sharpening process I use,
and is used to sharpen the image to match the desired
output medium, using Photokit's Output Sharpener, or
simple USM with edge masking. Finally, I run an action
to apply a border and frame to the image, and save for
13 - For Printing: Open the image in QImage,
and let Qimage's interpolation and output sharpening
algorithm take care of everything for me. I find this
process to be much easier to use for prints up to A3
in size. For $50, QImage is one of the best values in
photography software out there - an excellent up-sized
and printing software in one. Once I have the image
sharpened to the point where it looks good on screen,
QImage does an excellent job of ensuring that it looks
great on print. For really large prints, however, I
first manually up-res the image in step 6, (just as
I would for a stock submission).
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