I have been asked quite a number of times what is my workflow and what are typically the editing software’s that I have been using. I would like to take this opportunity in this blog post to explain in full details how I work and what are the steps that I take to make my photographs.
1. Shoot RAW
First and foremost even before I take the picture,there are some permanent settings that are set on my camera and they have never ever changed.I always shoot in raw mode. Yes I know raw takes a lot of storage space in your memory card and HDD, but it is totally worth the memory space used. In my early days of photographing I too shot JPEG, but soon I came to realize the shortcomings of JPEG. Thus had changed my picture quality to raw and has remained raw ever since.
Had I not shot this image in raw quality,I would have never been able to recover so much details in the sky. So for me RAW IT IS.
2. Auto White Balance
Nowadays, the modern DSLR’s are so accurate in choosing the correct white balance, that I hardly give much thought about WB . I just leave it to auto white balance and the camera takes care of it 99% of time. The 1% when it is not able to judge the correct white balance, I just do not bother about that, because I can easily fix the white balance in either Camera Raw or Lightroom as I am shooting in raw. Shooting in raw gives you the flexibility to adjust the white balance (color, temperature) of your picture in post production.
While taking this picture the camera did a pretty good job at selecting the white balance and I hardly had to fiddle with the color/temperature sliders in Lightroom.
3. Lightroom/Camera Raw
After I have photographed everything, returned home or to the hotel and downloaded everything on to my hard-drives and back-up drives I start editing my work. At first I open up Lightroom and mark the photographs which I would want to edit. After I have done my basic selection, I start working on the individual photographs. Here I would want to mention something; that basically the engine of Lightroom and Camera Raw are essentially the same, so one can work on any one of them and would get the exact same results. Even though I like using Lightroom a lot, I do use Camera-Raw these days too.
I do the basic adjustments like change in the white balance(if needed), exposure. After that I normally bring down the highlights and open up the shadows. It is obviously different for different photographs, but this is generally how I work on 90% of my photographs. Also I do the white point adjustment and the black point adjustment, along with some clarity and lens correction profile application. If I think that a crop is needed this is where I perform that too.
This is the result which I get after I have done all the basic adjustments on the photograph.
Most of the times I get the picture ready for print or for web upload from Camera-Raw/Lightroom itself after a little bit of sharpening. But sometimes when I want to experiment with some photographs, or I want to do some dodging and burning, that is when I import that photograph to Photoshop.
Photoshop, by its nature is a very powerful tool and should be used with caution. I will not lie to you, in my early days I did some pretty crazy stuff with Photoshop. The results if not shown would be better 🙂 :D. So coming back to the topic, I come to photoshop when I want to experiment with a new look and feel of a photograph or I would want to Dodge and Burn. I always use a non-destructive editing style when using Photoshop so I am always working with layers and masks.
This is how my photoshop screen looks like. After completing the final dodging, burning and sharpening the file is saved as a .TIFF for if I ever want to re-edit the photo it would be easily done on a .TIFF file rather than a .JPEG. After that, I export the file and publish it on the web or send it to the printer.
So there you go guys, my full workflow in details.
Do you have any suggestions in which I can improve my workflow then please share them in the comments section below. Is there any other workflow techniques that you use. Would love to hear about that. If you liked this article and want to read many more such articles be sure to subscribe to my blog. Have a good one. Till next time 🙂