View Full Version : advice needed re Workflow

28-04-2009, 12:56pm
hi guys

i've recently got into photography seriously and i need some advice on how to setup my workflow as i'm getting quite confused...

To give you some info about me, i travel quite extensively (3-4 times a year, 2-4 weeks per trip) so usually hv lots and lots of photos. I've traditionally used a bridge camera and shot only in JPG with no PP work. Usually average around 1000-1500 photos per trip. Also tend to use a camera at family events etc.

I got into DSLR's around the beginning of this year and hv decided to shoot RAW when i travel (to give me the greatest amount of latitude in making corrections)...

I'm very competent with a computer, and i'v got a iMac 24" and a 17" Macbook Pro.

Until now, i've always used iPhoto and basically imported the photos from my camera to iphoto and thats it.

I've also recently acquired Photoshop CS4, and will be purchasing a full copy of Capture NX2, and perhaps Aperture.

The thing that frustrates me about iphoto and Aperture (from what i can tell using the trial version) is that they copy the files to their own library file. I'd prefer a program such as View NX which i can just point to one of my own directories and it'll edit the pictures from my own directories.

that aside, can ppl give me an indication of what their workflow is like? Does using ViewNX make Aperture and/or iphoto redundant?

My two main photo editors will be Capture NX2 and Photoshop for more difficult tasks only. How do ppl duplicate/backup their photos? Do you make double copies of the original RAW files and work on the duplicate...do you make keep copies of the files that you dont want/havent worked on?

any feedback on your entire process from copying to the comp onwards would be great!

thanks in advance..


28-04-2009, 1:05pm
Do you need to process heaps of images at once, or do you selectively edit a few at a time?

28-04-2009, 1:10pm
Maybe "just" Adobe Bridge will work for you ?

I @ M
28-04-2009, 2:45pm
I haven't used aperture ( no mac ) and rely on the 2 freebie programs from Nikon, transfer and view + Capture NX for editing.

Nikon transfer allows you to select or create folders within your preferred directory for the initial transfer from the camera / card and has a fairly extensive set of naming conventions available in the preferences section.

View NX works well for me for initial reviewing and flagging of photos for future processing and has quite a well featured set of adjustments available to edit files that don't need much in the way of processing.

Capture NX keeps me happy with it's abilities for editing with the ability to save NEF files with fully reversible edits.

Typically I will transfer files from the card and assign a new folder or folders based on the date the pictures were taken, review them in View and mark those that I want to edit with a ratings number and then perform the edits in NX.

All NEF files are backed up to DVD whether they are edited or not and finished edited files are stored as Tiffs or Jpegs for printing or web use.

People swear by Lightroom as a management tool and from what I have seen it is a very powerful program that certainly flies through tasks and I have heard similar about aperture.
If you are addicted to speed, all 3 of Nikon's programs will probably frustrate you, they ARE NOT blindingly fast by any stretch of the imagination but I can live with the slowness as it is more than compensated by the fact that 2 of the programs are free and the other is priced reasonably which means money saved to spend on gear. :D

Both Transfer and View NX are free downloads, try them and see how you go, nothing spent, nothing lost as they say.

Both available here (http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nikonasia_en.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=162&p_created=1098298111&p_sid=ZEHxorwj&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_lva=&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0xNDEsMTQxJnBfcHJvZHM9MCZwX2NhdHM9MjI0JnBfcHY9JnBfY3Y9MS4yMjQmcF9zZWFyY2hfdHlwZT1hbnN3ZXJzLnNlYXJjaF9 ubCZwX3BhZ2U9MQ**&p_li=&p_topview=1)

28-04-2009, 3:20pm
Do you need to process heaps of images at once, or do you selectively edit a few at a time?

not really sure at this stage. Certainly until now, i've not done much pp work at all....shot JPGS and left them in iphoto.

I'm only just starting to shoot raw so i wanted an idea of what other ppl's workflow was like...

As it stands, i dont anticipate doing mass changes to images - i'll probably end up picking a select few images from my trips to edit and make changes to...Save all of them as NEF's onto a CD for backup...

What im not sure about is this..

1) i pull files across from the camera onto my computer. I then make a copy of the NEF's on a CD to save for future use/backup. Also leave a copy of the NEF's on the computer.

2) from the computer, i select the NEF files that i want to work with and edit them and then convert them to
JPG's once i'm done.

3) i convert all the other NEF's straight to jpgs a) to reduce space and b) for easier viewing with friends/family....

4) i can use the "edited" jpgs ie the best shots (as per point 2) in albums etc....

So the end result is that i'll end up with an album (on my computer) full of jpgs, but with some jpgs that i've picked out as better than others and edited, and i'll hv a CD with all my original NEF's on it

does this sound about right or does it sound like a lot of piss farting around? (pardon the french).

can someone suggest something better?

RE software, i havent looked at Bridge - i thought if i initially stick with ViewNX and Capture NX2, it might work better as ViewNX is programed to open Capture NX2 for more serious editing anyway whereas Bridge tends to open Photoshop....

i havent used Transfer at all to be honest, just done with MAc's Image Capture device. I'll try and install Transfer NX and see how it goes...


28-04-2009, 3:26pm
Short answer - you probably have too many applications in the mix.

I use a 24" iMac and Aperture, plus occasional further editing in PSE6. Depending on your choice, Aperture will either suck all your photos into its library (managed), or leave them where they are on the hard disk (referenced). Ditto for iPhoto - it's just that not many people RTFM and know about such options.

Aperture makes viewNX redundant, not the other way around. IF you don't have Aperture and don't want to pay the $$ for Aperture, viewNX is very good at basic adjustment and RAW conversion, but it sucks for keywording and managing a large collection of photos. I rarely touch view NX now. My collection is managed by Aperture using referenced mode.

Capture NX fulfills the same purpose as Photoshop, so that too could be made redundant. People tend to use either Capture NX2 or Photoshop in the routine workflow - rarely both.

The OSX raw conversion (used by both Aperture and iPhoto) is pretty good. viewNX raw conversion does, however, preserve the in-camera secret sauce settings so is closer to your intent straight off the camera BUT I've found it to be noisier for conversions at higher ISO for my D40. The Adobe conversion for me comes 3rd.


28-04-2009, 3:35pm
Hi Jeelan
I have been throught this as I changed to Mac about 12 months ago.

First up Aperture is a very good program but its NOT an image processing application - its actually a Digital Asset Manager (an app to locate and store your images for retrevial and printing etc). Yes it does have a some manipulation tools built in but they arent worth a crumpet when compared to most of the other systems available.

Some things to understand about aperture:

Toss out your old PC concepts about file and folder naming - you dont really need them any more - providing you tag your images and make you folders something simple.

Yes Aperture does store all your images in one large compressed file but you can export the original file or the modified file (called a version) if you really want to. You can also print directly from aperture as well but for me I'm using a 15" MBP with a Cinema screen which interferes with the image brightness so I dial up the image brightness in CS3 for my Epson printer so that it looks like I see it.

If you use Aperture you only get to use one image processor application outside of the Aperure included tools. I have most of the apps that you spoke of but use them differently which can change the work flow from time to time. First dont have Aperture import your images directly from the camera to the Aperture Library - use a temporary directory. Us the Nikon transfer app to download your camera to the temp folder and to also store a backup file just in case. Once you import to Aperture you can throw out the backup. This allows you to use your other apps first and you can also archive your images to DVD as well.

Say for instance you have a card full of images that all need to have their image sharpness and white balance changed and that the images are worthless without this being done - then do this prior to importing to Aperture by using NX2 or what ever app you like. Remember also that only Nikon software will really work properly with RAW images and save them as raw images. Most other apps want to change the saved file to a TIFF or something else. I personally change all my images from RAW to TIFF before I import into Aperture. Yes big file sizes but Aperture doesnt keep multiple image files - it keeps the original image and side car files to tell it what the changes are but not applied.

Nikon View is very good for geotagging your images as it can do multiple images quickly where as once you import into Aperture it becomes very tedious to Geotag an image as it has o be done one by one. With regard to tagging your images with various information - Aperture leaves Bridge for dead.

After you have made all your necessary changes and taken archival copies of the original files on DVDs then import the files as a folder using the Aperture import folder command. You can now use your chosen app - be it CS4 to Post Process your images with Aperture yet still retaining the original imported file (master file).

Once you start with Aperture you can forget about Bridge - Aperture does that for you.

I didn't like Aperture when I first used it (I too had purchased it as an image editor - not as an image management app) but a couple of members here said how good it was so I went back and re-studied how to get the best out of it and that changed my opinion of it. Its just a new and better way of thinking about managing all your images. It good and it works - you just need to throw out your old PC way of thinking.

I probably haven't spelt out how to work flow with this system very well so if you want to persevere with Aperture and need some more info - just ask.

28-04-2009, 5:58pm
Hi Jeelan
Yes Aperture does store all your images in one large compressed file but you can export the original file or the modified file (called a version) if you really want to. You can also print directly from aperture as well but for me I'm using a 15" MBP with a Cinema screen which interferes with the image brightness so I dial up the image brightness in CS3 for my Epson printer so that it looks like I see it.

Sigh..... this is ONE of the two options - it's called "managed". The other method of using Aperture, called "referenced" DOES NOT store all of your images in one compressed file.

This means you can access the images directly with other applications if you choose to do so (e.g. I created a whacking great panorama with PSE6 the other day using files catalogued in Aperture). It makes the limitation of one external editor to call from Aperture less of a hassle, as you can "open with.." from Finder, or any other application as well.

I suppose I should explain my workflow:

(1) Import using Aperture in referenced mode, nominating the destination folder on the disk, and the new project name that Aperture will manage them in. I apply a default copyright and attribution field to all imported images at this point

(2) Rate the images on completion of import (1-5 stars), or Reject
(3) Apply keywords - some combos of keywords for all images in a session, other images might get additional specific keywords
(4) Usually don't find myself applying the same set of adjustments to groups of photos, but if necessary change white balance etc and replicate for all the affected images
(5) Now review the images individually - crop, heal, clone, straighten, sharpen, saturate, desaturate, devignette, fix highlights and shadows, contrast etc etc within Aperture.
(6) Next step is variable - print, export to psd, tiff, jpeg or whatever with a range of options.
Sometimes I may work on it further in Photoshop (not often). Sometimes it's just close Aperture and do some other work....

Just for a party trick, I can show you the same NEF appearing open simultaneously in viewNX and Aperture and PSE6, if you like!


28-04-2009, 6:26pm
In your setup where does the sidecar files reside?

I chose my managed setup as I believed that the side car files would be retained with the actual images in the Aperture Library. All of my images are retained in a seperate drive which will be filed off as it fills up - I never store image data on my MBP.

29-04-2009, 7:08am
The Aperture library file containing the thumbnail and adjustments history for the images resides on the internal HDD and I keep a copy of it on the external. The referenced images themselves also live on the internal HDD with a mirrored copy on another external. Just for fun I've relocate some of the master images using Aperture and it finds them in the new location no problems - including external.

So, I'm set up as follows:

Internal - working Aperture library and the photos in referenced mode
Ext 1 - Time Machine backup 500GB for all data
Ext 2 - copy of the Aperture library file maintained via The Vault in Aperture plus a duplicate copy of all photos

I end up with 3 copies of all images. Ext 2 is effectively my insurance policy plus overflow. As my iMac isn't going anywhere, I'm not worried about keeping images there.

PS - there aren't individual sidecar files as such in Aperture, just in case that part wasn't clear....