Once you’ve completed a photo shoot it’s vital that all images are backed-up as soon as possible. It’s possible for memory cards to be lost, damaged or corrupted and I have witnessed this myself, especially in the case of SD cards!
Of course some cameras now have dual memory card slots, allowing you to write images to two memory cards at once – one as primary destination, the other as back-up. But, don’t get complacent if you do this and bear in mind that if your camera bag is stolen, both cards could be lost! So, separating your backed-up images as soon as you can is strongly recommended.
After completing a shoot (or sometimes part-way through a shoot), I will usually copy all images straight on to my laptop or portable hard drive and then duplicate the images to a second hard drive for additional security. Also, since hard drives have been known to break down, I always create an additional back up to another drive that ‘mirrors’ the contents of my primary one. As a general rule it’s good to have at least three copies of all your digital files.
Because I always shoot in RAW, backing up every image can quickly eat away at hard drive space, so some photographers actually delete unwanted images prior to backing up, purely to save on hard drive space.
Next, I import all images in to Adobe Lightroom and add basic keywords relating to the shoot as I do. Since using Lightroom, I have found the simple keywording function to be a massive bonus and consequently I’m able to find any images from previous photoshoots in a split second, simply through a simple keyword search of my Lightroom library. Once my images have been imported in to the Lightroom library, I may add further more specific keywords to particular groups of images for greater control when searching.
Editing in Adobe Lightroom is pretty much the same as editing in Adobe Camera Raw but with some extra functionality. Both are good for making overall selections and changes, such as exposure, colour balance, cropping and some general retouching, etc. I can normally have large batches of images ready for client viewing within around half an hour and usually only use Adobe Photoshop for detailed retouching purposes once a selection has made out by the client. Once an initial edit has been carried out, I then ‘output’ my selected images from Lightroom to the file format appropriate to the client.
Presenting Images To Clients
For the past few years I have been using Photoshelter for client proofing and delivery service; once I have uploaded my Jpg images to their platform, I can quickly create a password-protected gallery for my clients to view and select from. I always state that the images are only for preview purposes and that any selected images will be retouched. I therefore don’t allow a download option at this stage within the gallery permissions.
Once the client has made a selection, I will then work on specific images in Photoshop (if necessary), where further retouching will be carried out. The final images are then uploaded to a new gallery in Photoshelter but this time I ‘switch on’ a download permission and the client can immediately access or purchase the images for use. Any further actions are mostly fulfilled within the Photoshelter environment, allowing me the freedom to carry on to the next shoot.
The beauty of this workflow system, for me, is that I can usually back-up and get images to a client viewing state within about an hour of the shoot, with relatively little effort. I only spend time retouching selected images and once the final images are uploaded to Photoshelter, I have an additional off-site back up system of both unedited and edited images from the shoot, albeit in Jpg format rather than RAW. As a result, I can sleep at night knowing my images are secure!
We offer further information on photography workflow during all our Photoskills workshops.