Post Processing Lightroom Workflows
Over recent weeks, I've received a number of requests for information on how I post process my wildlife images. I'm of course very flattered that you all like my work.
The whole topic of post production, as with all forms of artwork, is very subjective with no truly incorrect method. But there are certain rules and behaviours which, in an ideal world should be adhered to, to help you achieve the best results from your images.
I want to start off by saying that I'm not a fan of huge photoshop work in post processing so I personally always aim to get the images as correct in camera as I can. My images tend to be less impulsive, but more planned. I tend to have a vision of the image I would like to capture, whether that be a Barn Owl in flight or a duck on the water. I'm always planning up front on the angle of the shot, the background, light direction etc in order to achieve my results. It's also important to spend time with your subject, getting to know their behavioural patterns, when they fly, habits etc, and over time you soon get to know the individual characters of each of the subjects.
What I am going to do in this series of guides is take you through step by step on my personal workflow and techniques with a hope that you may take something from it. I don't claim to be an expert, so please see this as perhaps useful additions to your current methods.
I am a Canon user through and through and although I'm a huge fan of their own Digital Photo Professional software for colour accuracy, and image quality, I will keep these guides strictly based on using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, as I'm sure most of you are using these software packages, given their popularity.
Finally, I'm certainly not used to writing in depth blogs and tutorials so please be patient if there are glaring errors in terms of blog formats and expectations, I'm sure they will improve as I work through this series.
So, lets jump right in !!
Chapter 1.Lightroom - Importing and File Organisation
I have to hold my hands up and say that one of my biggest past failings was my image organisation. On numerous occasions, I'd receive an enquiry about my images, asking whether they could be purchased or used for a publication, only for me to spend literally hours trawling through all my hard drives, trying to find that much needed RAW or high res file. Not only was this very frustrating, but it often resulted in me having to apologise to the potential client because I couldn't find that much needed file. This is embarrassing, and poor PR when you're trying to establish yourself as a photographer.
What I now use is a method which I came across a few years ago and is what I believe to be one of the industry standard methods used amongst a lot of the top professionals and studios.
The first step I would recommend is creating a folder and file structure on you computer. As an example for my owl images, mine is - Pictures - 2018 - Wildlife - Birds - Owls
Next, within Lightroom, import your photos. I change the default import settings and check the box " Into Subfolder " and change the organise drop down menu to ensure it reads " Into one Folder ". This is personal choice but I prefer to keep my RAW images folders that I determine. I tend to name that folder **** - Date so in the example below it's Barn Owls - 2018-03-23( See Image Below )
Once your photos have been imported, you will then see the folder you created within your Lightroom catalog.
The next step I do is within the new folder containing your files, I create 4 folders within it. These are called:
Capture - Master - Output - Selects
The function of these subfolders are as follows:
Capture ( RAW Files )
Master ( Final edited TIF file )
Output ( Output JPG files for website, social media )
Selects ( Initial Lightroom edited TIF file )
To achieve this, Right Click on the folder created during import and select " Create Folder Inside " and create your first folder. Repeat these steps for the rest of the folders as shown in the screen shots below.
Repeat these steps for the rest of the folders as shown in the screen shots below.
If you've done everything correctly then your final file structure should like the image below.
One final clean up step for this guide. You now need to move all your RAW files which are currently sitting in the main folder ( in this case - Barn Owls - 2018-03-23 ) to the subfolder " Capture ".
To do this, select all the RAW files and drag them onto the Capture folder which will then move them across as shown in the screen shot below.
Thats it for this guide... In chapter 2 which I will release soon, I will take you through my basic Lightroom processing and demonstrate how the file structure I demonstrated during this guides comes into effect.
Until next time - I hope you have found this guide useful.
I really do appreciate comments so please feel free to give me feedback.