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Author Topic: LR workflow  (Read 4101 times)
Pete Ferling
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« on: April 24, 2008, 10:31:06 AM »
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After 'playing' with LR on several shoots, and bearing mind about the lack of tracking an archive after the fact.  I've came up with the following workflow:

1. Create a shoot or project based lrcat.
2. Convert/Capture to DNG to single folder.
    -Do not rename (yet)
    -Assign IPTC, Keywords and metadata
3. Grade and select keepers.  Delete the rest.
4. Rename the images by sequencial number, using the next available number from the master archive.
5. Edit, print, export to client.
6. Archive project with .lrcat to disk and place in project or client folder.
7. Import project .lrcat into master archive .lrcat (the working reference cat).
8. As archive grows, offline older images to archival disk as offsite backup.
    -Add disk or archive number as meta-data/keyword to locate, (sort of like what portfolio does)
    -print contacts
    -place disk and contact sheets in binders.

I have two catalogs and three copies.  I only wish to work in the project catalog and keeping it small speeds things up.  I will only open the archive catalog for reference or find shots that I can repurpose later, etc.

If the client needs another copy, I can pull that from their project folder.

So, the image fulfills the clients needs, then it's purpose changes to one of archival.  Renaming and adding data within LR ensures I'll be able to find the images again.  I also ensure a backup of the archival lrcat in case of corruption.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 10:43:20 AM by Pete Ferling » Logged
Tklimek
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2008, 10:54:19 AM »
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Wow....at first blush this appears to be a pretty good flow.  I'll need to digest all of that since I'm a new Lightroom user...but sounds very intriguing!

Thanks for the flow....

Todd
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2008, 01:15:15 PM »
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Wow....at first blush this appears to be a pretty good flow.  I'll need to digest all of that since I'm a new Lightroom user...but sounds very intriguing!

Thanks for the flow....

Todd
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I have two EOS cameras, my 40d writes CR2, my 1Ds writes tiff.  I also get images from outside collaborative sources (Nikons and Phaseone).  For indoor shoots I capture teathered.  I treat my workflow accordingly and use DNGs exclusively.

The point of LR is one huge database for everything.  With Metadata (keywords, etc) and catagories to break the sets down.  However, working in one huge database can be taxing.  So I've changed my workflow to use a smaller project based database, once finished, archive that (as a project) and export the images into the larger all-in-one database.

Since I already track clients and their projects as seperate entities in project folders, I can archive the project based images as a project.  After that, meeting their initial purpose, they become part of the larger bucket of images.  Using the power to LR's meta-data to sort and find what I need.

The same analogy as my son doing a school report.  I had the hardest time getting him to simply type the words first, and worry about formating and spell checking as a last step.
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2008, 07:25:08 PM »
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I have two EOS cameras, my 40d writes CR2, my 1Ds writes tiff.  I also get images from outside collaborative sources (Nikons and Phaseone).  For indoor shoots I capture teathered.  I treat my workflow accordingly and use DNGs exclusively.

The point of LR is one huge database for everything.  With Metadata (keywords, etc) and catagories to break the sets down.  However, working in one huge database can be taxing.  So I've changed my workflow to use a smaller project based database, once finished, archive that (as a project) and export the images into the larger all-in-one database.

Since I already track clients and their projects as seperate entities in project folders, I can archive the project based images as a project.  After that, meeting their initial purpose, they become part of the larger bucket of images.  Using the power to LR's meta-data to sort and find what I need.

The same analogy as my son doing a school report.  I had the hardest time getting him to simply type the words first, and worry about formating and spell checking as a last step.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=191652\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Like this approach - my database is growing. My one concern is that, as I still use other raw converters as well as LR/ACR I am still keeping CR2s of everything. Until recently this meant two copipes of the CR2s and a DNG with embedded metadata from LR, but I am beginning to wonder if I should just stick with CR2s to help manage the spirraling number of external HDDs required.

Mike
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 08:26:33 PM »
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... I am beginning to wonder if I should just stick with CR2s to help manage the spirraling number of external HDDs required.

Mike
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DNG was designed to ensure that years from you'll have a means of support for your archived photos.  What if Canon, for instance, many years from now, changes the specs of it's RAW format, or is bought out by a competitor and lose support for backwards compatibility?  It can happen.  I have boxes full of obsolete backup tapes, zip disks and other forms of media.  Formats are just as vunerable.
You could suddently find yourself in situation of having to redo everything to salvage or maintain the archive.

DNG also allows you to accept media from several sources and formats, and convert them into one.  Likewise, you can be sure your edits (hard work) will be included in the DNGs when you hand them off to others (i.e. the designers and non-photographers whom will use the images for brochures, etc.).

DNG allows you more choices as third parties, whom write better code and software, give you more options or choices to work with your files.

This is not a pipe dream, I'm witness to the above in my everyday work.

I'm talking workflow here.  Archival is a different beast (regardless of your format).  The only fix that pays off for archival is diligence.  That means upgrading your archive and moving the files off to the current technology.  Drives fail and optical disks corrode over time.  Time is the enemy.

The thing about archival and memory requirements is that you have to brutally honest with yourself when grading and choosing which images make it that far.   If you keep absolutely everything... you get the point.

The thing about a workflow is that you need to create one...   Then stick with it.  If you change, then it'll be a ripple effect with your past images and you'll make more work for yourself.

Form follows function.  When I shoot, I'm concerned only with getting the shot.  Edit comes later.  When I collect and grade images, I'm only concerned with keeping the best and dumping the rest.  Only then do I concern myself with the naming the files and editing.  Once edited and the client accepts.  My only concern is to get them off the machine and out of my way.

I'm ok with thumb nails in a database.  It's not different than portfolio or cumulus.  These applications may tell me what disk I need to insert.  But if I include the location in the metadata, then a simple search will tell me.  Drive 1, 2, 3, disk 1,2,3.. etc.

I think even Michael (correct me if I wrong), with all the images he has is about twenty drives or so.   Heck I have about 50 drives that covers about five years of video work alone.  However, those are corporate projects that rarely last a few years and are redone from scratch anyway.  A drive with a shelf life of three years is sufficient for that.  The new sata's are warranted for five years, but an unspun drive will actually corrode or stop working after two years.  So, once a year I spend a day spinning them up and running check disk.  Those that reach their third year are replaced with a new (pending what they hold).

Images are forever yes, but it's easy to mark the date on the drive and put a note in your outlook calendar to remind yourself to check and replace that disk or drive.

I didn't mean to write a book here.  I've flung enough mud.. hopefully some it will stick.

-Pete
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DavidB
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 11:20:00 PM »
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I must admit that while in the past (prior to Lightroom) I converted all my RAWs to DNG to integrate the processing (through ACR) and the management (through iView), these days I generally leave the files in the form the cameras produce (at least initially).  Currently the DNGs I use are either historical images, or those from DNG-producing cameras/software.

All my other images are supported directly by ACR/Lightroom, so there's no need to spend time/space converting them to DNG immediately.  If/when backwards compatibility becomes an issue (e.g. Adobe drops support for an old camera model in the year 2038) I can convert the files to DNG then.  It's a compromise, but as you note I'm intermittently refreshing my archives over time anyway (they've moved from CD-Rs to DVD-Rs to external hard drives already: presumably there'll be more changes over time) so converting to DNG later wouldn't be a problem.

In the meantime, ACR/Lightroom save the metadata to sidecar .XMP files and life is simple.  In fact, when I update the metadata for a large collection of files my backup system only has to duplicate the small XMP files instead of much-larger DNG files.  That makes a BIG difference to the backup speed!  I'm currently going back through my library to add new keywords/etc and the effect is very noticeable.
When working in the field (e.g. on multi-day trips) with a laptop I regularly synchronise to an external 2.5" backup disk, so the speed of backups can be significant issue (both in convenience and in battery consumption).

Anyway, that's just a counter-point to the usual spiel of "DNG is better, DNG is future-proof, etc".  Yes DNG is useful, but in my own workflow I've found that it can be more hassle than it's worth, at least for the images in my "current" working set.  If you want to maintain the option of processing the images through non-DNG software (e.g. Canon's/Nikon's) you need to keep the originals around anyway (and having them embedded within the DNGs would magnify the issue with slower backups after tweaking XMP).

Cheers
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2008, 06:31:23 AM »
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It's nice to have a choice, and if you want to use the mfgr software, it's best to stick with their format then.  Having sidecars will suffice, if you don't mind keeping track of the additional files.

Hopefully more cameras will support DNG as a native format and it would be one less thing to worry about.

Regardless, yes, archiving the past requires diligent efforts in the present and future.  I'm presently burning my old music CD's to digital files, most of them range from 5-10 years of age, and I'm finding a few of them are unreadeable due to corrosion.  I shutter to think of that happening to my images.
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2008, 12:06:45 PM »
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It's nice to have a choice, and if you want to use the mfgr software, it's best to stick with their format then.  Having sidecars will suffice, if you don't mind keeping track of the additional files.

Hopefully more cameras will support DNG as a native format and it would be one less thing to worry about.

Regardless, yes, archiving the past requires diligent efforts in the present and future.  I'm presently burning my old music CD's to digital files, most of them range from 5-10 years of age, and I'm finding a few of them are unreadeable due to corrosion.  I shutter to think of that happening to my images.
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Pete,

You are right in that being tough with selection is a large part of the job. Having the choice is the problem though - given that various raw converters do not yet support dng I still sometimes need access to the CR2s - hence I keep a back up of CR2 twice and dng twice. What I would really like is for the future to arrive and for dng to become universal... (except for the lords of Nikon of course who will no doubt have a specially and proprietorially encrypted version)

As to maintaining the archive, it's just got to be done I'm afraid. I think your approach of replacing 3 year old HDDs is sound too - better than waiting for failure.

Mike
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 09:18:14 PM »
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I'm discovering theres more to the module workflow than just some tabs in an  application.  The module workflow, when followed correctly, forces you to focus on only one key task at any given time, and in the appropriate order.

Its the analogy of having to put your pants on before working with the shoes.

Many of you, myself included, can't wait to pick the first image and hit the development tab.  As creatures of habit, we are quick to believe that results can only happen if we are tweaking sliders, and thus feel more productive.  The problem with that method is that it's not very productive at all.  If you are jumping back and forth between library and module and trying to work LR as if it were Photoshop, then you're using the wrong tool.

The best method is to import, grade and find your select images, and delete the rest.  That way your only left with the real work that will pay off.  You only want to concern yourself with best of the lot, (otherwise you'll be polishing turds).

Then you can bother with assigning meta-data and renaming the images, (as in my case, sequencially since I dump them into a larger archive when done).

Once that's done, you can hit the developement tab and know that you'll be working for the money.

Another piece of advice is to forget about how the interface looks, it was designed intentionally so that you can concentrate on your image.  Learn to use short cuts and key strokes.  Follow the panels in manner in which they were laid out, starting with basic and work your way down (hint:  other than basic, you won't need all of them.  But use them in such order).

Upon following this, I've saved myself a considerable amount of time.  However, if your stuck with thinking LR should be more like PS, then should get Mike and Jeffs Camera RAW video tutorial and learn to use Bridge and PS together.
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2008, 05:34:02 PM »
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The best method is to import, grade and find your select images, and delete the rest. That way your only left with the real work that will pay off. You only want to concern yourself with best of the lot, (otherwise you'll be polishing turds).[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=192071\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I never delete anything. Ever. You never know what  image may be relevent/useful at a later date. I used a blurred, over exposed shot to produce a band poster a while back. The sort of shot most people would reject immediately, yet used in a graphic design context it looked great.  


My workflow is somewhat different too as initially everything goes into folders by date + description with ITPC data added on import. Metadata added then as well if approriate to tag entire import at once.
 Often easier to find shots, using a basic date/description info than by using metadata at times. Especially if like most people, you shoot the same or similar things over time. More importantly it's programme + OS agnostic  and therefore it will outlast programmes like LR/Aperture and transfer easily to another system.
I don't see any point in having my info trapped in catalogues or vaults as in 20 years time we'll more than likely be using different software and images that rely on specific programmes using metadata to render them correctly is not good for achival purposes.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2008, 05:35:19 PM by jjj » Logged

Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless.   Futt Futt Futt Photography
Pete Ferling
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2008, 09:24:25 PM »
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I never delete anything. Ever. You never know what  image may be relevent/useful at a later date.

.....I don't see any point in having my info trapped in catalogues or vaults as in 20 years time we'll more than likely be using different software and images that rely on specific programmes using metadata to render them correctly is not good for achival purposes.
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My point is to "remove" those images that will only get in the way (that's why we have a rating system to begin with).   Folks don't have to follow me verbatim.  Please dont   Just pay attention to the workflow.

I don't  work alone, I work in an corporate environement and share my images with designers out of state and oveseas.  The common denominator is CS3 and DNG.  LR makes the connection.  When I get a copy of their press checks, the images are spot on.

In regards to archive.  It's a continuous work in progress.  (I don't trust digital archives myself.  I print my most prized pieces on epson inks and media and hide them away in metal cabinents).  If we cant trust DNG, why should we think that CR2, tiff, and NEF be any more safer?  DNG just gives me more options for the present.  Someday I'll be reconverting all my media to something else, but that's technology for you, adopt or die.
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