A Short Course Book
Digital Photography Workflow

Digital Workflow

If you have ever performed the same task over and over again, the chances are that you developed a routine, a series of steps that eliminated variations and problems from the process. In digital photography we call this routine the workflow. Creativity is confined to the capture and editing steps in the routine that is otherwise highly structured. Although each photographer personalizes their workflow to meet their own needs, all include some variation of the following steps—each of which can be broken down farther into a series of substeps. The exciting thing about Aperture and Lightroom is that they handle all of these steps, providing an end-to-end workflow solution.

Step 1. Capturing Photographs

When you pick up your camera at the start of a session, the first workflow related steps include checking that the lens is clean, the battery is charged, the memory card is in the camera and has enough storage capacity for the number of photos you plan to shoot, and all settings are the way you want them.

Step 2. Storing & Organizing Photographs

After capturing images, you usually transfer them to a computer for more permanent storage. As you do so, you need to transfer them in an organized manner so you can quickly find images later. The latest image management programs provide a number of tools that make this easier such as the ability to rank images, add keywords, and sort images by a number of criteria.
Lightroom and Aperture comprise a new class of applications that is so new it does not yet have a generic class name. However, since it draws on two other classes, image management and photo-editing, these programs might be called image management and processing (IMAP) applications.

Step 3. Editing Photographs

When a photograph is in a digital format, you can edit or manipulate it with a photo-editing program. In some cases you improve an image by eliminating or reducing its flaws, adjusting its tones, colors and sharpness. In other cases, you adjust an image for a specific purpose, perhaps to make it smaller for e-mailing or posting on a Web site. The latest programs such as Apple's Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom make improving your images much easier and all changes are non-destructive so they can be undone at any time.

Step 4. Sharing Photographs

Once an image is the way you want it, you'll find that there are many ways to display and share it. These include printing it (on almost anything from art paper to coffee mugs), inserting it into a document, posting it on a photo sharing Web site or a blog, e-mailing it, including it in a printed book or a slide show that plays on a DVD player connected to the TV or a DVD drive in a computer, or displaying it in a digital photo frame.

Step 5. Archiving and Backing up Photographs

When you have photos for which you have no immediate use, but want to save, or important photos you don't want to loose, you can copy them to CD/DVDs or even another hard disc. If you then delete the images from the hard disk on your main system the remaining files are referred to as archive files. If you also keep them on the main system the duplicates are called back up copies.

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