How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow

June 17, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

I often envy photographers who shoot for fun and don’t have the pressure of clients waiting for their images. Not only can they take as much time as they like to review and process their images, but they can also play with the latest Photoshop actions and generally experiment with postproduction techniques. Unfortunately, that’s not so viable if you’re running a photography business where time is money.

In my day-to-day life as a wedding photographer, it’s vital for me to stay on top of things so I don’t get left behind with a backlog of post-production work. Over the years, I’ve developed an efficient workflow that helps me to process my images quickly, while keep the quality level high.

The two key aspects to this workflow are simple:

  • A well-structured organisation system.
  • Fast image editing with a light touch of post-production.

If you’re a professional photographer, focussing on these two elements will help you to run a more efficient business. Even if you’re not a professional, it’ll help you to get more from your photography.

Read on to discover how simple post-production can be and how I create print-ready images at lightning speed.

In parts two and three I’ll show you how you to take this further, using more advanced post-production techniques to take your images to the next level.

First, it’s time to get organised.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow

Get organised

Have you ever struggled to find an image? Do you have images scattered over several computers, hard disks, folders and memory cards? I meet many photographers of varying experience at workflow seminars and it amazes me how many people use what seems to be a random file organisation system. I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I emphasise how important it is to organise your images into a logical, easy-to-search system. Here are a couple tips that are simple but I know have revolutionised how some people store and manage their images.

  • Design a file system

We use Lightroom as our main post-production tool. I think it’s the best one-stop-shop for managing all aspects of digital image organisation and development. That said, there are plenty of tools and applications on the market so choose one that works for you.

Whatever application you use, one of the main issues I’ve found with most image management tools, Lightroom included, is that they try and ‘help’ by offering to import images to a file structure based on date alone. I don’t know about you but I struggle to remember important birthdays, let alone the date of a specific job. So, my advice is don’t organise by date alone – take control and design a system of folders that fits your photography.

Sit down and think about how your images should be stored and organised.  Each folder and sub-folder should have a logical relationship. For example, a landscape photographer may have a parent folder called “Season” with sub-folders of “Autumn”, “Winter”, “Summer” & “Spring”.

A good way to approach this is to think about the types of photography that you capture. Are you a social and wedding photographer, commercial, wildlife, landscape or fashion photographer? You probably cover several categories, so use these as the top level hierarchy of folders.

How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow

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