By far, the most time consuming part of my photography is processing all the pictures I have taken. It’s easier with my kids, since I don’t feel the need to process very many each time I bring out the camera. Hey, I already have tons, so I just pick 5 or so of the best and process.
It is much harder when it is a photo shoot for others. I try to have 30-40 images to show them. That is a lot of processing. One of the reasons I am happy to shoot RAW for sessions is that I can batch process in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) much quicker than in CS3.
I do the majority of adjustments in ACR (White balance, exposure, contrast) and then export to CS3, run a batch action and make any adjustments necessary. As I understand it, Photoshop Elements doesn’t allow batch processing. SO…if you homeschool or have college-aged children (or nieces)…and can get an educational discount…you might want to check it out…just sayin’…not that I would do that… 😉
My laptop can be painfully slow at times, otherwise I could probably finish processing a session in 2-3 hours instead of 6-8. I really want a new computer. *sigh*
Okay, here is what I do when I get back from shooting a session for others or for my fantastically beautiful and photogenic-when-they-cooperate children:
1. Download from camera into Adobe Bridge. I just plug mine directly into the computer as I don’t have a card reader.
2. Bridge allows me to “rate” or label my shots. I go through and rate all my keepers as “approved” whereby they have a pretty green bar underneath them and I can sort by it. I label both the RAW and jpg file for each shot (since I shoot both at the same time).
3. I select all the “approved” shots that are in the same lighting situation and open in Adobe RAW. They will all line up on the left side of the screen. On the first picture I start my white balance, exposure, brightness, fill light, increase blacks, increase clarity adjustments. Each one seems to take different adjustments, but I know with more experience in using it I will get a better handle on what works when.
4. After I adjust the first one, hit “select all” and then “sychronize” (located above the photos on the left side). This will apply those adjustments to the rest of the files.
5. Look through them and make any additional adjustments as necessary. When you are comfortable with them, hit “select all” and then “open images” (bottom right). This will open them in Photoshop.
6. I have CS3 which allows you to batch process actions. I wrote actions for different processing situations. The one I use for RAW is:
- Noiseware plugin (low setting – my D50 is a low end DSLR camera that needs noiseware on the RAW images. This needs to be run first so the program has more unedited pixels to work with)
- Curves layer – slight “S curve”
- Brightness layer – 0 brightness, +10 contrast
- Color Balance layer – just in case – usually curves/contrast affects the colors a bit
7. Make any tweaks as needed.
8. Batch process an action that flattens and sharpens the pictures.
9. Save and done! I usually save the edited files into a different folder apart from the originals.
If anyone else has any suggestions as to how they streamline their processing I would love to hear about them. 🙂