Monthly Archives: January 2017

A Photo Processing Workflow

Dear Reader,

In response to a conversation or two, I have been thinking about my photo processing workflow.  The current process is divided into 5 major steps, the details of which are expanded upon below. What do you think? As always, I invite your comments.

1 – Transfer
2 – Check for Bones and Banality
3 – Adjust
4 – Remove Spots
5 – Remove Clutter

Assumptions and Principles

  • Photos are Captured as Raw
  • Tool set is Adobe Photography CC (Lightroom and Photoshop Subscription)
  • Within my photo folder structure I have one called “Exercises and Ideas” for photos that have within them the seed of an idea, and are therefore worth keeping.
  • Don’t spend time on photos that are without merit.
  • Star Rating – This is my interpretation of the 5 star rating scale that can be set within Lightroom’s Library module.
    1 – Delete
    2 – Idea – Execution is poor but there’s a seed of an idea  – destined for “Exercises and Ideas”
    3 – OK – Execution is fine – could be destined for “Exercises and Ideas” or could be shared
    4 – Yes –  It’s a good photo but it’s missing special sauce
    5 – Oooh

1 – Step Transfer
Tool (s): Windows Explorer & Lightroom -> Library Module

  1. Create Folder based on location/topic and date
  2. Transfer photographs from camera to folder
  3. Reformat Memory Card in Camera using camera’s menu item
  4. Add Folder to Lightroom
  5. Assign all photos a star rating of 1

2 – Check For Bones and Banality
I often take a number of photos of the same subject with minor differences in composition, exposure, or lighting.
Tool: Lightroom -> Library Module

  1. Go through folder keeping only those images where the lighting, focus, and framing are acceptable.  Sometimes, unacceptable photos contain a seed of an idea.
  2. Assign where appropriate a star rating of 2 – 5
  3. Make sure that all 1 star photos have been deleted
  4. The result of these 4 steps is a much smaller set of photos that inevitably require some adjustment. As an example, on a recent day trip to Johnson Canyon, 98  images made it back to the car.  Of those 98 images, 86 were deleted leaving 12 images (1 –  2 star, 4  – 3 star, 7  – 4 star,  0 – 5 star).

3 – Adjust
Tool (s): Lightroom -> Develop Module

  1. Crop and straighten: If desired, required, or warranted
  2. Lens Corrections: “Enable Profile Corrections” – I am currently not using this setting
  3. Camera Calibration.Process: Ensure it is the current one
  4. Profile.Process: Choose the appropriate one.  For me it is “Camera Landscape” or “Camera Standard”.  I just started using this setting and it makes a noticeable and positive difference.
  5. Effects.Dehaze: (optional) Anything above 10 seems to start shifting the image towards the un-natural.  My most common adjustment is to 5 or 10
  6. Basic.Exposure: Lighten the the exposure by 1/4 stop or so depending on the dehaze adjustment as a positive dehaze adjustment cools and darkens the image.
  7. Detail.Sharpen: I try to keep things natural looking or “how I  remember the scene”
  8. Basic For a little bit I was making minor adjustments to Colour Temperature (usually to the warm side by 100-200 degrees K), but no more. The remaining collection of Tone and Presence adjustments are done in no particular order. Same comments hold true for the Presence adjustments as for the Detail ones.
  9. Adjust Star Rating: Sometimes the above adjustments reveal strengths and weaknesses

4 – Remove Spots
Tool: Lightroom -> Develop Module
Using the spot removal brush, remove spots from images that are going to be shown, shared, displayed.  These are images with star ratings of 4, 5, and possibly 3.

5 – Remove Image Clutter (optional)
Tool: Photoshop
Sometimes there are 4 star images that can be improved through the removal of such things as power lines. It is not worth the effort for 3 star images, and the rare 5 star images don’t require this.

Cheers, spd

Aside – Usability Change

Dear Reader,

I have nothing new today, except some small modifications to how this site is structured.  The visitor counters suggested that visitors were not going beyond the Welcome page.   Those same counters also suggested that I should not introduce new photographs to the gallery page.   With those 2 findings in mind, the photography blog is now the site landing page.  As well, I have placed the photos you may have missed from yesterday into today’s gallery.

Cheers, spd

A Return To Roots

Dear Reader,

Yesterday, a friend (Keith C – see Blog Roll) and I walked the 12k Johnston Canyon Trail up to the ink pots and back, with tripod and cameras.  The temperature hovered around 0 degrees, and the metal cleats that attached to my boots were both necessary and superb.  It was a good day.

The outcome of that trip was the gallery below, an update to the Book of Skies gallery, and a new collection also on the gallery page called “A Return To Roots”.

Cheers, spd

Sometimes The Parrot is Dead

Dear Reader,

I am beginning to learn Adobe Photoshop.  I now know how to remove some extraneous items. Last week I took a  photo on a walk in False Creek (South end of Calgary).  The day was so cold that my phone, sitting in the outside pocket of my pants, froze and stopped working.  The resulting photo appeared to have merit.  I began simplifying the image by removing branches. I like the result but the focus is flawed, and therefore the underlying bones of the photo could not be salvaged.  And so we come to the moral of the story, nailing the parrot to the perch does not hide the fact that the parrot was dead.

Fish Creek

Above – As Taken 

Fish Creek

Simplied But Nailed to the Perch

Cheers, spd


Time Lapse Experiment 01

Dear Reader,

This past Wednesday, I rose bright and early intending to take a photograph at dawn. Instead of a single photo, I ended up with the following very short experiment in time lapse photography.  As in so many things the process was not as simple as the headline.  But once I had gone through the process (some number of hours), it was not too daunting either.

Software Used
-> Lightroom CC
-> LRTimelapse 4.7.4 is a brilliant Lightroom add-on available at

Cheers, spd

Comments Welcome

Years ago I studied photography as an art form.  My medium of the time was primarily black and white film, which I developed and printed myself.  Since that time, my interest in fine art and a love of museums never wavered.  My participation, behind the lens, was at times non-existent.

For many years I only used simple digital point and shoot cameras.  The results were akin to visual note taking for some vaguely defined purpose.  I enjoyed that laissez-faire and nonchalant approach.  I started though to  desire sharper and crisper (in many senses of the word) images.

Now, after a long absence from photography I am slowly remembering what I once thought I knew, and learning new skills in a medium that has gone digital. This blog I hope will become a slowly mutating collection of ideas and works in progress.   Presentable photos can be found in the gallery.

comments welcome – spd