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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 03 Jul 2010 (Saturday) 19:39
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Workflow, storage, culling, and processing

 
tigerotor77w
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Jul 03, 2010 19:39 |  #1

I've done a quick scan of the forums to see if something similar to this question exists, but without taking over someone's thread, I didn't see a good way to pose my query... so here goes.

I try to aim for a few photos per shoot (usually landscape, but discussion here isn't limited to landscape) that I really absolutely adore -- ones that, if I had the wall space, I might print (or that I might sell if I ever wrap my head around what that entails). So the question is, given that I won't want to touch heavily the photos I'm not going to print, what do I do with those [more or less unwanted/not heavily edited] RAW files?

Points: yes, hard drive space is cheap, but I'd like to have my files all on the local disk. (Or maybe I'm just plain wrong to assume that LR runs slower on attached storage...) Either way, I'd also want to back up the drive the .CR2 files are on, so that makes two backup volumes -- local and that photos HD. If I'm wrong about LR running slower on remote volumes, then one choice is pretty simple... I'll keep shooting RAW, dump onto the external instead of my local drive, and keep all RAW files.

Now for the processing part. I've spent about three hours so far on about 132 files. Most of these images (I think I really liked only two) are going to either get trashed (flagged as rejected) or are going to get converted to JPEG with a few corrections -- horizon, saturation boost, sometimes an exposure adjustment if things are really bad. However, because these aren't my best photos, I think I could live with them being JPEGs from camera -- skips the post-processing step. So the question here is, for those who shoot RAW only, why not shoot RAW+JPEG if it's not for client work? In this case, I could see going through all the JPEGs and noting which few could be great photos and editing only those. I'm only looking at the JPEGs for the sake of nostalgia, so why not save myself the hassle and not deal with their RAW files at all? Currently, LR is also my catalog; it'd just be a lot easier to open up an image viewing program rather than LR if I want to "remember the time when."

Sorry for the long ramble... I wanted to explain my thinking and ask the question, so this post got a bit longer than I expected. :/


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tonylong
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Jul 03, 2010 20:52 |  #2

Hey there Tigerotor,

First, I hope you realize that this is the type of topic that will get a multitude of responses and opinions, and that anything anyone says is their personal preference, and at the end of the day only you can sort out what works for you!

Second, for your own entertainment and edification, you can check out other thread using terms like you have used in your title, workflow, storage, etc. In fact, if you look at the bottom of this page you will see in the section "Similar Threads" that the Forum software did a "mini search" and found a few threads that you can peruse while you are waiting for people to respond to your post!

Now my personal Raw workflow is pretty basic, one that I've followed for several years, especially since I migrated to Lightroom soon after it came out.

Like you I load a current shoot onto an internal drive, although mine is separate from my system drive. You want both plenty of free space on your system drive and plenty of space for Lightroom to handle its tasks. Some people have invested in high speed external drive setups (not USB) but I've been OK for now with my internal data drive. Once I've finished current processing on a shoot, though, it's time to move it onto an external USB drive. I do have separate external drives for backups as well.

Like you, I mark and delete all duds. Soft, blurry, serious under- and over-exposures, failed compositions all get marked and deleted -- I don't keep those Raw files. Then, I Pick the best of the rest, typically one or two of a set, sometimes more, and those I'll go over to choose what I want to do with them, often doing a Synchronize of a set for processing, and then I'll unpick all but my favorites. Part of this is checking for critical sharpness, the rest for my overall whatever-strikes-me. Crop for the composition if that fits, then I upload those pics to my Web site, which is a handy place to occasionally choose something to share or to revisit to print or to reprocess.

Now, where I differ is that I do keep my Raw files -- not just the favorites, but all the ones I don't reject. Why? Well, personal preference and the possibility of revisiting them for whatever purpose (and I do occasionally do that). I don't convert them to jpegs, just keep the Raw (they are still in my LR catalog so all my edits, keywords, etc are there) and any time I want I can go to them and work them anytime I want. Remember, by now they are all on external drives so they don't bloat my internal drives. Typically if at the end of a year I notice the external drive is getting fullish I pick up a new one so that one drive may hold two or maybe three years of shoots.

Unlike some people I do keep an archive of my jpegs that I've converted and uploaded to the Web. they have a file structure that reflects my "working" file structure making them easy to locate, and I can use them for a quick reference, and if I do decide to re-process a shot or a shoot then I have a ready place to drop them and to re-upload from.

I hope that this one "take" from me is helpful, but like I said this is how I and only I do it:)!


Tony
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Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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tigerotor77w
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Jul 03, 2010 23:30 |  #3

I was actually hoping that you'd chime in, as I remember you saying you shoot RAW exclusively. :) Some questions/comments:

1) I'm on a laptop, and my internal isn't user-accessible (i.e. without voiding warranty) for now. There's only about 15% space left on this drive, and while I want to reformat, most of the space taken up is -- gasp -- pictures. I'm thinking of upgrading to a larger drive (or a faster computer, as a large LR catalog does start to slow this MBP down a bit), but that's not in the immediate future.

2) If you move the [processed] files to an external once you're done with them, I presume you use LR to track the new locations of the RAW (.CR2 or .dng?) files?

What you wrote makes sense, as does keeping the RAW file. I've had several photos "saved" because I shot them in RAW, but the chances of me going back some time after taking the picture and editing it further are slim. At this point, I guess I'd like to evaluate what to do with RAW files if I do end up shooting all RAW and keeping all of the files I like (as opposed to shooting RAW+JPEG and discarding the RAW files and keeping the JPEGs of the photos I don't like). Maybe transferring old RAW files off my internal every so often is the best non-RAW+JPEG to go... hummm...


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broadcast_techie
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Jul 03, 2010 23:55 |  #4

I archive all raw files (now regretting this a little due to lack of hdd space!) to external drives and clear off my local drive. All the catalogues still live on the local drive and if I need to re-visit anything then I either copy the folder back to the local drive, or if LR can't find a file it puts a ? in the corner (I think) and I've found once you re-point one file it works out where the rest are - very handy!




  
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tonylong
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Jul 04, 2010 01:48 |  #5

So much of this is up to where you are at with your photography and where you are, in your mind, headed!

I shot with jpeg-only cameras for a number of years, and before that I had shot with film and scanned stuff, and I just put stuff wherever in a pretty haphazard way. But, I really wanted to learn and develop in my photography. I did concentrate on trying to learn photography, and over time I had read enough and was motivated enough to both move to DSLR photography and to shooting in Raw to get through the limitations of jpeg shooting. So it's natural to me to shoot only in Raw, but I understand that for a lot of people jpeg is more convenient.

tigerotor77w wrote in post #10473860 (external link)
I was actually hoping that you'd chime in, as I remember you saying you shoot RAW exclusively. :) Some questions/comments:

1) I'm on a laptop, and my internal isn't user-accessible (i.e. without voiding warranty) for now. There's only about 15% space left on this drive, and while I want to reformat, most of the space taken up is -- gasp -- pictures. I'm thinking of upgrading to a larger drive (or a faster computer, as a large LR catalog does start to slow this MBP down a bit), but that's not in the immediate future.

Especially if you are shooting on a laptop, using an external drive becomes pretty necessary. You have to be able to offload off of your internal drive. Even if you have jpegs instead of Raw files, it's only a matter of time before two things happen: 1) You run out of disk space and 2) you have a failure and everything could be lost. So, it's not a Raw vs jpeg thing, it's how valuable your images are.

2) If you move the [processed] files to an external once you're done with them, I presume you use LR to track the new locations of the RAW (.CR2 or .dng?) files?

Yup, Lightroom keeps track of things, even if you pull an external drive offline. You move files and folders in LR itself to keep things coordinated, but even if you move things in your system filebrowser, LR has the utility to let you "locate missing files or folders."

What you wrote makes sense, as does keeping the RAW file. I've had several photos "saved" because I shot them in RAW, but the chances of me going back some time after taking the picture and editing it further are slim. At this point, I guess I'd like to evaluate what to do with RAW files if I do end up shooting all RAW and keeping all of the files I like (as opposed to shooting RAW+JPEG and discarding the RAW files and keeping the JPEGs of the photos I don't like). Maybe transferring old RAW files off my internal every so often is the best non-RAW+JPEG to go... hummm...

Like I said before, it's personal preference and choice. There are valid reasons to shoot jpeg, there are valid reasons to just keep jpegs, so the question is do you want to keep the capabilities that Raw gives you or not? For me, I can delete photos I just don't care about, but the ones I do care about I want to keep the ability to make them the best they can be, i.e. keep them in Raw.

Note though that of course I also keep all the thousands of jpegs I shot as well:)!


Tony
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Tony Long Photos on PBase (external link)
Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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tzalman
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Jul 04, 2010 05:33 |  #6

My setup is mostly similar to Tony's, but with a few different wrinkles. I shoot only RAW and do my initial sort of images in Breeze Browser Pro while they are still in the card reader, so only the keepers are downloaded. All my files prior to 2010 are on two identical externals. 2010 is in three places, the D partition of my local drive + the externals. I make jpgs primarily for two purposes, to burn to disc for clients and/or to upload to my web site. Then the jpgs get deleted. Like Tony, if I want to view my photos I do it either in LR or on the web. I print up to 13x19 at home from LR; for larger sizes I'll make a jpg as needed. In LR I have two "dumb" collections - "To Print" and "Printed" and appropriately cropped Virtual Copies are listed there.


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tigerotor77w
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Jul 04, 2010 10:31 |  #7

So much of this is up to where you are at with your photography and where you are, in your mind, headed!

Eh... no idea yet. :D

But, I really wanted to learn and develop in my photography. I did concentrate on trying to learn photography, and over time I had read enough and was motivated enough to both move to DSLR photography and to shooting in Raw to get through the limitations of jpeg shooting.

Sure, but do you see the limitations of JPEG as a "just in case I need to go back and fix something serious, I can't," or do you see it as "there's nothing I can't do with RAW that I can't do with JPEG"? Put another way, for *most* of your photos, do you apply some minor color changes and not touch them again? I find myself adding contrast, saturation, and some clarity (sometimes sharpening or NR as needed), but this is something the camera can do for me or that I can have LR do during the import, no? There are photos whose quality I want to be stellar, and those I run through LR. The rest... I'm on the fence about. Keeping all my photos in a catalog is nice, but I feel like LR has been getting slower on me (and is also using more CPU just to view images). I've done an optimize recently; maybe there's something else I can do? My LR library is around 6,000 images, I think (all RAW at this point).

Especially if you are shooting on a laptop, using an external drive becomes pretty necessary. You have to be able to offload off of your internal drive.


Agreed. I have a backup of my internal now. That being said, the way I see it is that if I start offloading my photos, I'll need *two* externals -- one for the photos and one as a backup of that external.

Yup, Lightroom keeps track of things, even if you pull an external drive offline.

I see... I'll have to try moving files around in LR. Haven't done that before.

tzalman wrote in post #10474646 (external link)
My setup is mostly similar to Tony's, but with a few different wrinkles. I shoot only RAW and do my initial sort of images in Breeze Browser Pro while they are still in the card reader, so only the keepers are downloaded. All my files prior to 2010 are on two identical externals. 2010 is in three places, the D partition of my local drive + the externals. I make jpgs primarily for two purposes, to burn to disc for clients and/or to upload to my web site. Then the jpgs get deleted. Like Tony, if I want to view my photos I do it either in LR or on the web. I print up to 13x19 at home from LR; for larger sizes I'll make a jpg as needed. In LR I have two "dumb" collections - "To Print" and "Printed" and appropriately cropped Virtual Copies are listed there.

Thanks for the input. I like the collections you have -- that's really a great idea. This thread is making me want to reformat my computer and start LR afresh!


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tonylong
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Jul 04, 2010 12:33 |  #8

tigerotor77w wrote in post #10475462 (external link)
Sure, but do you see the limitations of JPEG as a "just in case I need to go back and fix something serious, I can't," or do you see it as "there's nothing I can't do with RAW that I can't do with JPEG"? Put another way, for *most* of your photos, do you apply some minor color changes and not touch them again? I find myself adding contrast, saturation, and some clarity (sometimes sharpening or NR as needed), but this is something the camera can do for me or that I can have LR do during the import, no? There are photos whose quality I want to be stellar, and those I run through LR. The rest... I'm on the fence about. Keeping all my photos in a catalog is nice, but I feel like LR has been getting slower on me (and is also using more CPU just to view images). I've done an optimize recently; maybe there's something else I can do? My LR library is around 6,000 images, I think (all RAW at this point).

Well, for me I just never shoot in jpegs at all (unless I happen to grab my daughter's camera which she has set for jpegs. And, the idea of just converting Raws into jpegs and ditching the Raws just goes against the grain of what Raw is about. But then, on the occasions when I shoot things that don't really have meaning to me I don't mind just scrapping everything when I'm done with it.

As far as LR slowing down, yeah as your volume increases it can. One thing to try when you have a sizeable shoot to process is to select the whole batch and have LR render 1:1 previews right off the bat. Another approach is to break up your catalog. I haven't done this myself (I have about 40,000 shots in mine) but my daughter has a smaller catalog on a computer we share and hers is quicker than mine. Of course her pictures are mostly jpegs and that goes more quickly as well. Oh well:)!

Agreed. I have a backup of my internal now. That being said, the way I see it is that if I start offloading my photos, I'll need *two* externals -- one for the photos and one as a backup of that external.

Sure, but you see, this will happen whether you shoot Raw or jpeg. Sure things fill up a bit more quickly with Raw, and I wouldn't criticize someone for shooting jpegs when space is limited. But yeah, having a backup drive along with a "working" drive means, well, two drives. To have all your shots filling up the internal drive on a laptop, though, will slow down the system. And, if the laptop dies you might not be so pleased. Another plus about having your main library on an external drive is that it is portable -- you can move it to another computer and back easily. And yeah, I've got several external drives stacked around my desk. One of them, a 1.5 TB, is left unplugged though -- It is a backup drive that stays that way until I do a backup so that if I have a bad electrical problem it won't be touched.

I see... I'll have to try moving files around in LR. Haven't done that before.

LR lets you do a lot so that you don't need to leave the interface for common tasks and so you can keep the integrity of your catalog intact.


Tony
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Tony Long Photos on PBase (external link)
Wildlife project pics here (external link), Biking Photog shoots here (external link), "Suburbia" project here (external link)! Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood pics here (external link)

  
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tigerotor77w
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Jul 05, 2010 09:35 |  #9

Interesting. I'll ponder it some more, but regardless, two new HDs (whether separate or in the same enclosure) are in my near future, I think...


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Workflow, storage, culling, and processing
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