Photo Editing Workflow
(of the 2 dozen or so photographs I took of this bird, I kept 3)
(Key Words: FL Locations | Lake Lotus Park | and | Birds | Flycatcher | Eastern Phoebe)
- I load my photographs onto my computer. This takes a little bit of time, so if I'm busy, I'll walk away and do something else for a while and come back.
- I scroll through every photograph and rate it. I have a flexible scale for rating photographs between 0 and 5 stars. A 0 means I won't keep it. A 1 or 2 means I'm not likely to, but I want to come back to them to be sure. A 3 means I expect to keep it. A 4 means I will definitely keep it and expect to display it somewhere on line. A 5 means I will definitely keep it and definitely display it, maybe even print it.
- I add keywords to label each photograph I rated. I give each a keyword for the location and subject. Since many of my photographs are of birds, I have a hierarchical system. For instance, under the category "Bird" I have categories for groups of birds, like "Shorebirds." And inside of that category, I have a keyword for each species, like "Dunlin."
- I review/edit photographs rated between 4 and 5. I want to make these photographs as presentable as possible. Occasionally, I'll think better of my original rating, some 4's may be upgraded to 5 and or demoted to 3.
- I review/edit photographs rated between 1 and 3. Here I'm interested in seeing if there's anything salvageable in these photos. Some may be upgraded to a 4 so that I'll keep them. On occasion, I'll also decide to keep a poor photograph simply because it's my first of a particular species, and I'll rate it a 3.
- I delete all photographs rated between 0 and 2, and many rated 3. My goal is to get down to just the photos I intend to use either artistically or for eBird documentation.
- I convert all the remaining photographs to DNG files. These take up less space, and Lightroom can store the edits in the EXIF data of the file.
- I move the photos to a portable hard drive and back it up to another drive. I learned this lesson the hard way.
(I gave the first photo a 5 rating, and the second two a 4 rating)