The Workflow: Shooting, Picking, Editing

When I first started shooting, I didn't know what a workflow was. I would take pictures in jpeg format, upload them to my computer, and edit all of them except for the blatantly bad ones. Literally, I would open them up in Photoshop one by one and then manually edit each photo with what I felt like experimenting with at that time. It taught me a lot about how to use Photoshop, but all of my photos were very inconsistent in terms of style, and it took me absolutely FOREVER! I found my workflow through making mistakes. There had to be an easier way that was less time consuming, more consistent, and more useful.

{Adobe Bridge}

I started doing research about what my options were because I didn't want to pay for extra software. I then discovered Adobe Bridge (which was packaged in Adobe Design Suite). I love Bridge, and it is my personal preference because I am used to it. Basically, you open your photos in Bridge, give them a rating of 1-5 stars, and through the rating decide what you would actually like to edit. It is an awesome organizational tool. Some people are privy to Lightroom, and I have heard wonderful things about it, but I like being able to make more individual adjustments in my photos so I tend to lean more towards Photoshop. Everybody has their preference!

{Adobe Camera Raw}

When I started shooting in RAW format, Bridge became even more useful. I use Bridge to rate and organize the photos, and then open up the ones I want to use in Adobe Camera Raw to adjust their white balance, exposure, and make any other small adjustments. This took a ton of time out of my workflow because I am able to batch pre-edit the basics and get through the photos quickly.

{Photoshop}

Once my pre-edits are done in ACR, I open them in Photoshop, and develop/use an action to process all of the photos from the editing to the closing. I don't even have to look at my computer when the actions are playing, and it leaves me time to work on other things. Once the photos are finished, I usually go back and sharpen eyes, take out blemishes, and fix anything else that has to be manually done in Photoshop.

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In order to get through my workflow even more efficiently, I do the best I can to make sure my white balance and exposure are properly set in my camera before starting a shoot. These normally change as the lighting changes in different locations, but the more proactive I am in making sure my camera settings are correct, the better the photos look and I can cut down workflow time. Sometimes I have time and sometimes I don't. When shooting a wedding you don't have a lot of time for adjustments, so shooting in RAW is awesome for that reason. When doing other shoots, you have a little bit more leeway.

I am not going to say that my method is the best by any means, but it works for me. It might be considered ancient by some, but hey, why fix something when it's not broken? I will probably try Lightroom some day, but for now I am extremely happy with my workflow. Do what works for you!

Ashley {Zenzen} Meier

BlueHaus Studios

http://bluehausstudios.com