Develop Your Own Approach to the Workflow

The five phases we listed at the beginning of this chapter are sure to become part of your personal workflow, although the order you address them in will depend on your aims, your personal style, and the tools you use. There will always be differences in the details of every person's approach to the workflow and your own workflow will develop as your experience increases.

The main differences in approach depend on whether you are working with RAW or TIFF/JPEG images and whether you use all-in-one workflow software or a collection of software tools.

If you shoot RAW images and use specialized data management software such as Microsoft's Expression Media or Extensis Portfolio, with their less powerful image processing tools, you will probably resort to using a conventional RAW editor to process and batch-convert your images.

Adapt your workflow to suit not only the tools you use, but also your personal style and knowledge level. Your workflow will also develop with the introduction of software updates - not necessarily immediately, but over time as you discover how the new functionality can help you with your work.

Take time to learn new techniques. Slow down and allow yourself to experiment and, if necessary, to work less efficiently if you feel more comfortable that way. Check your own workflow every now and again, and keep an eye out for new tools and techniques. Every technique that saves time gives you more space to concentrate on your own creativity, be it in the form of image composition, shooting, processing, or printing.

Outsourcing is also permitted (e.g., for fine art printing), which will save you time but mean that you have less control of the overall creative process. Not every photographer makes his/her own prints, but we nevertheless recommend that you take the time to read chapter 11. The better you understand the processes involved in printing, the better you will be able to define the work you have done by whoever makes your prints.

Understanding printing is less important if you have your prints made in a mass-production lab (e.g., when you want to distribute a large number of prints of a family get-together quickly to various people). Here, too, the better you prepare your image data, the more predictable the results will be.

But above all, remember not to allow the technical aspects of the workflow to distract you from composing and shooting great, punchy images! Preserve a balance between creativity and technique. Good technique is the key to unfettered creativity, and creativity nurtures technique and technical prowess.

Learn Photoshop Now

Learn Photoshop Now

This first volume will guide you through the basics of Photoshop. Well start at the beginning and slowly be working our way through to the more advanced stuff but dont worry its all aimed at the total newbie.

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