How I Got Time Back by Improving My Workflow
Whitney is the owner of Bliss Studio specializing in children and families and primarily shooting with natural light. She is currently a sponsored speaker for WHCC and enjoys teaching others about her passion. She resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children.
As a portrait photographer my post production looms over me after every session and takes way more time than it should. I don’t know about you, but spending long hours in front of the computer getting images ready for clients is rough. An hour shooting can easily be three to four hours in post production. Resulting in many late night editing sessions and trying to edit while my family life swirls around me. It has gone from my favorite part and turned into my least favorite. I’ve needed a new solution longer than I care to admit. ON1 solved this for me with the latest release, ON1 Photo RAW 2017. With a few adjustments to my workflow, my post production time has gone from 3-4 hours to 10-15 minutes. This has been LIFE changing for me! I’m finally able to get my editing done quickly and can enjoy more time behind the camera and more time with my family.
If you are anything like me, change is not always something to get excited about. I always say “Old Habits Die Hard” and unfortunately that isn’t far from the truth. My workflow has needed some updating for quite some time. Taking the time to rework it to be more productive was something I continually pushed aside. There always seemed to be more important tasks to work on.
I remember the times when I could finish a handful of my favorite images to show my clients and it was acceptable. Now, showing clients unfinished work is not a good representation of my studio. We all work hard to define our styles and look, which represent our studios and who we are as artists. My clients view anywhere from 50-100 images from a typical session. In the past, I would open each of those images into Photoshop® and use ON1 as a plug-in to add my Bliss look to each image. Are you doing the math? That is hours of time to complete a simple task. The time you invest in creating a seamless workflow is time you’ll get back going forward.
So how you do make a change to your workflow to have a huge impact? Start by setting your goals or addressing areas that need improvement. I made three goals that needed to happen.
- Cull through images faster
- Faster way to add my Bliss look to my images
- Have a set of finished proofs to show my client
Here is how I accomplished each of these goals with my new workflow in ON1 Photo RAW.
1. Culling through images faster.
This has always been a pain point. The digital world has given us unlimited potential so we end up over shooting. We ALL do. I’m not saying this is a bad thing as I primarily photograph kids. A huge chunk of my images get tossed as running around after a wild two year old means lots of camera clicks. So how do we make this faster? Think of this in reverse. Let’s say I shot 500 images of my wild two year old. I know that I’m going to give my client 50-ish photos. So, rather than culling and trying to pick out the 450 bad photos, why not just select the 50 favorite photos? This is time saver number one. I cull through my images using the star rating of 5 for every image I want to keep. I already know I only want to show the best shots to my client, so I don’t dwell on images that are just okay. I quickly go through each image and just keep my favorites. In Browse, I find its the easiest to enter Film strip view. Here you can see a large preview as well as your film strip so you know where you are at in the session.
I select an image and click on the category and choose the preset I want to add.
3. Have a set of finished proofs to show client
I now have my images culled, edited and ready for the next step. Since Photo RAW is a non-destructive work environment none of the changes I have made are on my original files. The solution I use is to export the files with the settings applied, so I can sell finished photos to my clients. Export allows you to change the file type, size and colorspace to get exactly the files you need. I will use the same files I exported to create my clients order, web files or images for a slideshow.
Making these changes in my workflow took time in the beginning to get the kinks worked out. It was time well invested and worth the effort I put into it. Each of us has our own goals and ways of editing and working on our images. I encourage you to take some time during this slow time of year to re-evaluate. Find your pain points and make an effort to improve them. My life has already been impacted and I no longer dread my post production. It is quick and pain free. I have made it my goal this year to continue to improve the processes in my studio so that I can be more efficient and give myself more time to enjoy life.