I like to read a lot about how other photographers go about post-processing their work. So I thought I’d share my post-processing workflow with you guys.
After having spend a couple of hours taking photos, I’ll import them to my computer. I don’t have any special requirements for importing photos, other than that I want to import the originals from the camera without any tampering by the import software. Since I’m using a Mac, I use the software that comes bundled with every Mac: Image Capture. It doesn’t do anything other than importing photos which is the way I like it. No bells, no whistles. It just works.
I just plug in my SD-card into my Mac and Image Capture will import them for me to my Imports-folder.
The first thing I do after import is renaming all the filenames of the photos. For that I use the batch rename function of XnView. The new filenames will contain the following information:
- The date and time the photo was taken in the following format: YYYY-mm-dd H.M.S, taken from the exif-data
- The name of the location or event
- My own name (so much for modesty… 😎 )
- The original filename from the camera.
I always retain the original filename set by the camera. Once in a while knowing the original filename comes in very handy. Typically when I’ve done something very, very stupid. 😳
Delete, delete, delete…
Next is the hardest part of the process: deleting all of the bad and mediocre photos. This typically leaves me with 1 or 2 keepers. The rest goes directly to the trash 🚮. Again, XnView comes in very handy. It lets you assess your photos by displaying them nice and big on your screen.
Sometimes I wait a couple of days before I begin deleting photos. I often have good memories tied to a photo that’s only so-so. Waiting a couple of days helps seeing things in perspective.
Convert to DNG
The remaining photos I then convert to DNG (digital negative) with Adobe DNG Converter, a free application.
As you might know, there is a lot of disagreement between photographers about whether or not one should convert RAW-files to DNG. There are good arguments in favor of both sides, but for me the the most important reason is that converting to DNG assures me that I will be able to use my files well into the future. I have RAW-files from Nikon, Canon and Olympus cameras and in the future I might buy a camera from a lesser known brand. While RAW-file support for Nikon and Canon will likely be available for a long time, I’m not so sure about the support for Olympus and – for example – Ricoh* cameras.
So for me converting to DNG is all about being future proof and apart from that, I have good experiences with using DNG.
I do keep the original RAW-files, though.
I then organize my photos by moving the files to my photography folder and placing them in sub-folders organized by location. When the photos are shot in The Netherlands, I file them by town or city, but when the photos are taken abroad, I file them by country.
Finally it’s time for the real fun stuff: post-processing. For post-processing I use RawTherapee. I did use Lightroom in the past, but I got fed up by its sluggishness.
I don’t own the newest computer, but it’s still pretty fast compared to what’s put on the market today. Lightroom is too slow for my taste and it has always been slow for me, even when my computer was one of the fastest around.
Apart from the sluggishness, I really didn’t like Lightroom’s cataloging system. I really like to handle my files myself.
RawTherapee is a very, very powerful RAW-image processing application and it’s completely free to use. You can install it on your computer whether you’re using Windows, MacOS, or Linux.