About 15 years ago I entered the world of digital photography. A Nikon point and shoot, my first digital camera, served me well for several years until I dropped it while on a road trip in California, rendering it useless. If I wanted to continue on in digital photography I needed a new camera. After much consideration the Nikon d70s was my choice. I was in with both feet!
In those early days I was just trying to determine whether I would seriously delve into digital photography. “Work Flow” was not at all on my radar.
Initially, I stored my images on iPhoto. It wasn’t exactly a full-fledged cataloging and image adjustment program but for me at that time it worked.
Eventually, I realized that I needed more robust cataloging and image developing software. For a few years I worked with Apple’s Aperture and Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.
When I discovered that Apple might end its support for Aperture, I settled on Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CC. And I began to take advantage of the artistic opportunities afforded by plugins from Nik Software and Topaz Labs.
As I gained fluency with the capabilities of my software I really began to enjoy developing my images. At the time I had not established a consistent mode of attack. I just played with an image deploying the software in a rather haphazard fashion. But this was like playing on a sandy beach. Track left and castles build could quickly be destroyed by the wind and waves without leaving a trace. I needed to establish a ‘work flow’ process.
Trial and error as well as some discipline helped me develop a fairly simple workflow process. After import into Lightroom I perform basic image adjustments in it’s develop module. In many cases, that’s enough. But if my vision for that image requires heavy lifting I move the image into Photoshop. There I use Dfine2, Sharpener Pro 3 Raw Presharpening and Viveza 2 to build a base for creative interpretation.
Depending on my goal for a specific image I may employ Nik plugins such as Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2 or plugins from Topaz Labs such as Simplify 4, Texture Effects 2, Glow 2 and Impressions 2. After a final sharpening with Nik’s out put sharpener, Sharpener Pro 3 I take the image back to Lightroom where I will prepare it for either print or screen presentation.
My process is not necessarily unique but it works for me. As I become more fluent with my camera and software it will evolve.
The image below was captured in Queensland, Australian near the Great Barrier Reef. I applied the workflow outlined above to render this interpretation ending with a Tony Sweet designed filter in Topaz’s Impression 2.