P[hotographic w]ork flow

So, why the hog of a workflow?

Needs are tagging, editing, pixel pushing, publishing and archiving. Some kind of database to keep track of it all.

My problem is that I seem to be using a raft of applications to achieve this, applications that do not seamlessly integrate with each other or meet all my needs. I find I’m fighting the software and repeating myself.

Adobe’s Lightroom seems to be the best contender and can do most of this*. Along my path to digital photo nirvana I have met many software applications. Some have become firm friends. Others; well, I’ve followed the Yellow Brick Road and met a couple of wicked witches too. Problem is these witches don’t look like witches – they (usually) look lovely but cast a strong frustration spell (Extensis Portfolio ≤v.8 – I’m talking to you. Roundtrip Metadata. My arse.) .

I currently use Adobe’s Bridge, Photoshop, Apple’s iPhoto and Flickr. Occasionally I’ll use Graphic Converter because I love the ease of Geotagging therein.
Bridge is the daddy for tagging, rating and adding metadata. It provides hooks into the most useful Photoshop batch processing options – particularly the Image Processor. Keywording could have an easier interface – lists of Keywords and keyword sets quickly become unwieldy – but there’s always the File/File Info… menu to add keywords by hand to any selected files.
Photoshop – the only tool allows masking and selective edits the only serious image editing software I’ve ever used.
iPhoto – for want of a better DAM – it’s free easy to use and useful for minor edits. Anything I want to keep on my laptop lives in my iPhoto library.
Flickr – Flickr is fun – you know – relatively cheap online storage and publishing if you like. I wish it would allow me to restrict access to high res version of my photos – and allow me to offer photos for sale on-line. But it doesn’t. So while it’s fun – it’s of limited use.

Recently I’ve been giving Lightroom another go. At work on a quad core G5 it’s great. Here on my 12″ PowerBook it runs like an old dog. An old dog with three legs. And two of those have arthritis. I’d love to try Aperture – but my PowerBook doesn’t make the minimum requirements.

I guess the most important feature of all is the publishing. I’ve only just realised this. The rest well – the rest just helps. I used to publish to .mac with iPhoto. But was getting unwieldy with limited options re controlling the look of it all. I figured damn the control and moved to Flickr. With Flickr I conceded control over the look of the all important first page. I loved the Flickr community – but sitting behind a firewall or being away from an internet connection several days per week has taken the social network shine off it and my Flickr pages’ interestingness is suffering. I suppose we’re supposed to suffer for our art. Now I’m back with the presentation problem. It really is important to me and Flickr doesn’t let me present images. With Flickr you upload and that’s it. A bucket of photos. Perhaps I should acknowledge I’m not taking enough interesting photos!

*It doesn’t do geotagging or masking (a vital part of any virtual darkroom).