Much of my consulting and training work with clients results in a faster, more consistent workflow and more time in my clients’ days. Below is a list of seven things you can do to speed up your image processing and take control of your workflow.
1) Actions: If you perform a step more than twice, automate it. Actions are simple to learn, quick to create and highly efficient. I frequently make job-specific actions to ensure consistency from file to file or job to job. Even small tasks like flattening layers or opening specific dialog boxes is faster when you assign a function key to an action. There’s nothing like processing an entire job by pressing a few keys and having Photoshop do the work for you.
2) A graphics tablet for retouching: If you perform your own retouching you owe it to yourself to invest in a graphics tablet. Not only will your retouching be more accurate, but you’ll save boatloads of time on your retouching.
3) Camera Raw Presets: Many photographers perform the same set of corrections for every camera raw file. Add five points of contrast, seven points of saturation and so forth. Save this information as either a preset or the default for each of your cameras. Better still is to create a DNG profile for your camera. These steps will apply a series of baseline changes to each raw file as they’re loaded into Adobe Camera Raw. You will likely need to perform shoot-or-scene specific corrections on top of the baseline correction, but you’re starting from a better baseline than the default settings in ACR.
4) Metadata templates: With the specter of Orphan Works legislation perpetually looming over the horizon, it pays to make sure your copyright information is stored in the metadata of every photograph in your collection. The best strategy is to enter this information early and do it automatically. Whether you use PhotoMechanic, Bridge or Lightroom for your initial edit, be sure to build, and apply, a metadata template to insert your contact and copyright photo in every image as it is downloaded to your computer.
5) Productivity plug-ins: Plug-ins can be a productivity black hole. “Hmm, should I use the mossy rock or brilliant sunrise filter on this image?” That said, productivity plugins can often remove noise, improve sharpness, enlarge images or eliminate backgrounds faster, and with better quality than doing it by hand. Here are a few of my favorites:
– Noise Ninja
– Fluid Mask
– Sharpener Pro
– Photo Kit Sharpener