The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Digital workflow

I love digital it is fast and adaptable.

I love film it is dependable and subtle

I am tired it is 2am (though this is due to it being Christmas and the kids are home so that is my working time) and I am processing files. I have Tiffs coming out my ears, and RAW files too. I`m making jpegs for agencies and flipping and switching thumbnails for website galleries. I haven`t quite got my digital workflow sorted yet, I`m sure there is a less time consuming way to do this. But when I say time consuming…well…I have just processed about eighty digital pics in the time it would take me to scan, clean and save 2 or 3 slides!

But I`m sure I can get it faster than that. If anyone has ideas on the best way to do all this drop me a line. Not that I`m begging like the priest above just the learning curve is giving me vertigo. The view from up here is amazing however.

Later Damon


6 responses

  1. Takuya

    Happy New Year. Thank you for your e-mail. I want to take this occasion to thank you. I’m gonna leave Japan tomorrow. I’m really exciting but a little nervous about going to Canada. I’m a little sad about a rare English English teacher is going to go away. However, I don’t know when, but am sure to go back to England again. So, at that time, take good care of me ha ha.

    By the way, about your blog. I heard an innovated technology that photo shops can scan films and then, burn them onto a CD. Isn’t it cool? Did you know that? If you like, give it a try.

    I hope this year will be a good year for you and your family.
    See you. Keep in touch!


    January 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm

  2. Cheers Takuya. Have a good trip. Enjoy the bars and Coors.

    January 4, 2008 at 1:08 am

  3. How much Photoshop’ing do you do? I can get pretty usable images straight out of Lightroom, but I’m still doing some tweaking in Photoshop. That’s the most time consuming part. My best solution is batch processing.

    The WORST part, for me, is creating JPEGs from Raw for use on the web (quicker to work with) and then TIFs (and redoing the work) for sending to the stock agency.

    I think I’d be better off a) creating all TIF files to start with, b) creating files for stock and web simultaneously, and c) erasing all those TIF files once I’m done with them.

    BTW, I have automated processes to resize and prep photos for web, print, and stock (once the basic corrections are done).

    January 10, 2008 at 6:24 am

  4. Oh, and this is a GREAT shot.

    January 10, 2008 at 6:25 am

  5. Lightroom seems to be, in general opinion, the best software available for working RAW files. I will work around to getting it soon. I save all scanned slides as TIFFs but talking to those in the know the original RAWs are needed for most competitions and better publications. Most agencies like jpegs but some like TIFFs. Is that confusing or what?
    What work do you do in Photoshop? I know of one snapper who just does everything in Lightroom. Can you crop, dodge and burn in Lightroom and if you can can you save the adjusted RAW file?
    I don`t do a lot in Photoshop myself other than levels and some removal of unwanted mess: the shot above, for example, had a woman in the shadow to the right who I cloned and burnt out. She is still on the RAW (she just wouldn`t move!!!!)
    I like this shot as it stands but for a competition I would need to send the RAW which is not as good because of the woman. Not sure if there is a way around that other than being more patient, but then again maybe there is and I just don`t know it yet. I am still a “try to get it right in camera” sort of man but as I look around the work on the web it seems that post-processing is where good pictures can be made into amazing pictures and I want me some of that knowledge.

    January 10, 2008 at 3:53 pm

  6. You can’t dodge and burn, clone, use filters, or correct lens distortion in Lightroom (hmm, I just found out it has a healing brush, which I need to learn how to use!). You can apply sharpening, saturation, and other color adjustments — but I don’t know how those features compare in terms of quality with doing the same in Photoshop.

    Levels – Lightroom lets you increase exposure and you can see the histogram while you’re doing it, but I use that mildly and sparingly. If a photo is slightly underexposed, I feel better about using Photoshop levels to fix it.

    Shadow-Highlight Tool – Lightroom has tools that are similar, but I don’t think they work nearly as well as the Photoshop tool. (An online review that I just read verifies that Lightroom’s highlight feature is not very good.)

    Also, when they say Lightroom is slow they really mean it. (BUT I just learned that Version 1.3 should fix this problem for me, so I’m going to download it now!) Typically I upload photos and then go have dinner. When I come back at least thirty minutes later I can usually work on them with minimal delays (and my computer has s a fast AMD dual processor with 2GB of memory). Anyway, don’t let the slowness ruin the deal (DxO is reportedly much, much slower).

    On the plus side, Lightroom DOES let you manage thousands of images. Once you figure out how it works, you can process lots of photos quickly. And the colors and details it produces are great (I’ve done some comparisons and seen reviews online).

    When I started to write this comment, I was half in mind to consider an alternative. But some quick research has convinced me that Lightroom is the best, I need to upgrade to 1.3, and it can do even more than I realized. (Though I still need Photoshop when it falls short.)

    You also asked about processing in Photoshop. The main thing I’m kind of addicted to at the moment is the Exposure plug-in (mainly the Astia-like and black and white film effects). These take some time to render, but I like what they do. I have hot keys set up (F1, F2, etc) to automatically do things like: resize, color profile, and sharpen for the web, the same for print or stock, and to apply an Astia or Black and White effect.

    I could batch process photos for stock or the web, but I don’t because a) I don’t always like the Astia effect, b) some photos still need Level or Shadow/Highlight adjustments, and c) RARELY I might adjust saturation or color balance.

    Hope this very long comment is useful.

    On Monday I’m thinking of going to Kamakura to photograph Seijin No Hi. Let me know if you’d like to meet up there or somewhere else. I’m not 100 percent sure I’ll be able to go, but about 80 percent.

    January 11, 2008 at 6:15 am

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