Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Workflow

Since almost everybody who's a photographer and blogger has at some point done a post about their workflow and I got asked about this only recently, here my very simplistic workflow for managing, processing and posting my pictures.

I know a lot of people use Lightroom and swear by it but I don't use it and don't like it's database driven approach, call me old school but I want to access the files directly on the file system. I have tried it a few times but could not make it work for me, I can see why it works great or some people though and understand where the database driven approach is good.

I use Windows on my Surface Pro but have used Windows on my Macbook Pro before that in order to be able to use two, in my view, absolutely fantastic and essential programs.

The first is FastStone and for everyone who grew up with ACD See (before it got slow an bloated), will be instantly familiar with it. It is a very fast photo viewer with the ability to view and edit JPGs and most RAW files very fast (thus the name ;) ) at 100%, batch process (resize, rename, etc.) images and compare pictures. This alone is the reason I used Windows on my old Macbook Pro because I could not find anything that comes near it on OSX (if you know of something please let me know as it might be useful for people using OSX).

The second program I can't live without is RAW Therapee. It is probably the best RAW developer out there and gives great results, especially with Ricoh cameras. It also helps that it is very easy to use and understand, while providing the ability to apply profiles and batch process. A you will see below, I am keeping my processing to a minimum.

The great thing about these programs is that both are free to use, although I have donated to FastStone after using it for years and it being the very first program I install on any computer I use (even if it's not mine ;) ).

After the long introduction, which will probably end longer than the actual workflow content, let me show you my processing steps that I go through 99% of the time when you see 'RAW' written in the EXIF information under a picture.

1. In FastStone, I go to my SD card, browse through the pictures and already delete blurry and crappy shots, because we all take them but don't have to waste space importing them.

2. Once I narrowed my selection down, I compare the JPGs to quickly establish which DNGs (or even the original JPGs) I want to copy to my 'Blog_tmp' folder for further processing and consideration as the picture(s) of the day.

3. Once I copied the pictures for consideration into my 'Blog_tmp' folder, I move everything from the card on my drive into a dedicated folder to back them up and free up space on my card (necessary if your biggest card is 8GB and you use mostly 2GB and 4GB cards like me).

4. I now start RAW Therapee and select the DNGs, I want to process, right click and apply the preferred profile to all photos I want to edit. You can download my profiles for RAW Therapee here (these are what I use but you should use them as a starting point).

5. Should I feel the need to tweak one or more photos, once the profile has been applied, I open them in editing mode and might tweak the contrast, lightness, blacks and exposure compensation. I stay away from most other settings unless I want something specific and feel like spending more time processing (which I usually don't have).

6. If I processed more than one picture, I go through step 2 again in FastStone, otherwise I just resize the picture in FastStone, save it under a different name and post in on my blog.

I know, some might be disappointed as they might have expected more but this is what I do and how I managed to keep my blog updated almost every day since 2008, I like to keep it simple.

If you have any questions or comments post them below, I am also interested to hear what other people use an how they go about processing their photos.


  1. Interesting insight into the way you work, Cristi. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for your comment Calvin!

    Thought some people might like to know how I work and that there is not much one needs to do to process RAW files.