DIGITAL WORKFLOW -best practices
1. shoot – using at least two sets of memory cards and a reliable brand. Always insert the cards in the right way.
2. transfer images to the computer using a card reader and not though your camera. While the images are being transferred you can continue with your shoot.
3. Name the images and the folder as per the shoot details. This will keep things organised to begin with. Use the camera software (preffered) or any independent software to transfer the images and don’t just copy and paste from the card to the hard disc.
4. Don’t keep your data in the same partition which has your operating system. Saving it in folders that contain your most commonly used programs and applications (MS Word, free bingo apps, movie players are samples of this) should be avoided too. Still better to keep it on the other physical drive if you have more than one hard discs on your computer. Make sure you have enough space in your computer as per the size of the data expected from your shoot.
5. Once the images are transferred after confirming on the computer delete the images from the card through the computer rather than deleting in the camera. This way you will be sure that you are not accidentally deleting the images without having transferred them.
6. Don't fill up your card to the maximum capacity just as you shouldn’t your hard disk. The card will get slower as it gets filled up.
7. once the shoot is over, you may delete the images which are blank, when the flash did not trigger. You’ll be able to notice such shots easily in the lot. Record a dvd or dvds of all the raw data which you have shot. It is faster to record everything rather than segregating the good and the bad ones first. Moreover, you have a backup now of original the shooting data.
8. since you already have the backup you can delete the images not required from your computer and keep only the good ones. As per your priority you may convert them to 16bit TIFF using a RAW convertor. Some of these RAW convertors are- canon’s zoom browser (Image browser for mac), canon Digital photo professional- which makes changes to the RAW file itself, Nikon’s picture project and capture NX, adobe’s Lightroom, Phase one’s capture one pro (supposed to be one of the best softwares) and capture one 4, apple’s aperture and so on.
9. In the RAW convertor itself do the fine tuning of your RAW files before they are converted. Adjust the following parameters if they are off- white balance, sharpness, contrast, saturation. It is better to adjust the RAW file than to adjust the TIFF file.
10. Don’t convert to JPEG. Saving in jpeg means compressing the file and every time you save a jpeg file you loose on the quality. Even if need a jpeg file in the end still convert to Tiff and after all your photoshop work convert to jpeg as the last step, keeping the TIFF file as an archive. However, if you don’t need to make any changes in photoshop, you may convert directly to JPEG in the Raw convertor itself.
11. Adobe photoshop has always been the best software for making the fine enhancements in the pictures. For certain steps / tools you need to repeat in all the images, you may use the “action”option to do so. I wonder if there is any other software as good as photoshop.
12. As mentioned earlier work on large 16bit TIFF files and reduce size or change format only as a last step. Before doing so to avoid any mistake, it is a good idea to make a copy of the whole folder. Sometimes, you may accidentally change the original files. Again use “batch conversion” option on a software of your choice to convert the final tiff files you have worked on to JPEGs.
13. Once again take a back up. This time of your Tiff worked files and/or jpegs. Store your dvds vertically and not horizontally to avoid moisture if they are in the “non stick able” plastic pouches or paper envelopes. Keeping in Dvd cases takes a lot of space as you can keep only one dvd in one case. Also it will be more expensive. Catalogue them properly.
14. before you delete data from your computer make sure that the dvd was written properly without any error. To ensure, copy the data back on to a “checking” folder on your computer. If the data can be copied, you will be able to copy it later as well. Write only about 4.20 Gb on one dvd although the claimed capacity is more. With less data chances of error are much lower that filling it to capacity. “verify data” after recording is not a foolproof option as the software may give a wrong report.
16. Important data could also be stored on a huge external hard disc besides on dvds. Also you could upload data on an external server as a backup.
While there used to be only one negative in the film era, good thing is that you can keep multiple copies of your digital negatives and “worked” end results safely and securely with a number of solutions for years to come!