MrLeica Digital Photography Workflow
People have asked me several times on Flickr what is my digital photography workflow. Here it is but I think you might be disappointed as there is no magic bullet answer! I split my digital workflow process into 2 steps –
- Step 1: Adobe Lightroom workflow
- Step 2: Adobe Photoshop workflow
The process applies to any digital camera. I have used the following digital cameras: Leica M8, Leica M9, Leica M Typ 240, Leica CL, Hasselblad H3D-31, Lumix LX100, Nikon D800.
Digital Workflow (Step By Step Guide)
Step 1: Adobe Lightroom Workflow
- Firstly, capture photos in RAW format in camera
- Remove SD card from camera and copy images to external hard drive via the PC
- Import all RAW images into Adobe Lightroom
- Apply a MrLeica Lightroom presets to all photos – usually a colour preset first
- If a series of photos would then look better in monochrome I apply a MrLeica B&W LR preset developed for that camera (I have multiple presets made for each digital camera I use)
- If I don’t like the look I apply a MrLeica B&W LR preset developed for a different Leica camera (I have multiple presets made for each digital camera I use. For example, I use Leica CL Lightroom presets for Leica CL photos and M240 presets for M240 photos etc).
- When editing a batch of photos (by applying say a B&W LR preset) I apply the Lightroom preset to a single photo
- Then highlight all photos that I want with a similar look and select synchronize settings to copy preset to all highlighted images
- Once all photos have a LR preset applied to them I then review all the images again
- Check each image for the correct exposure and adjust as needed
- The Lightroom histogram can be used to check for clipped highlights and shadows but don’t worry too much
- When I review each image if I see one of particular interest to me I will apply a colour or a star rating (see below)
- Once each photo is the correct exposure, and has a suitable preset I can export
- Select all images
- Click export
- When sending photos to models and clients I export all images reduced size
- For images I want to share on social media I filter all photos by the colour filter or star rating setting
- Of every 100 photos I might mark 1-2 images with a colour or a star
- Once all photos are filtered by the colour/ star I export these as full size JPEGs
Step 2: Adobe Photoshop Workflow
- Open image of interest that was exported full size from Lightroom (step 1)
- Duplicate the image layer
- Add a curve adjustment layers to change contrast to taste
- Dodge and burn parts of the image if needed such as the eyes
- Clone out any obvious pimples or blemish if required with the clone tool
- Apply localised sharpening if needed
- Add border to taste
- Export JPEG image full size upload to Flickr
That is my usual process for 95% of the images I take. I don’t use presets, plugins or apply excessive airbrushing or smoothing.
Wedding Photography vs Model Photography
For wedding photography editing I upload all the images to Lightroom as described but then I only select the images I want to keep before I start editing. Documentary style (“photojournalism”) wedding photography happens with minimal interuption in an fluid and often uncontrolled environment. As such so not every image is a keeper so it takes times to go through all the photos.
My model photography editing is the opposite and much faster. I control every last detail; the pose, the lighting, the timing, the location, the clothing, the makeup, the expression and even the model selection. I don’t press the shutter until I am happy with the photo and as such I don’t have to delete many images. Some photographers only give models a hand full of images for their time. If models receive all the photos they can select their favourites rather than just the ones I like.
Sorry if you expected something more complicated!