I don't have to do high speed editing like a sports photographer might. I generally don't import thousands of images at a time, but I might do a couple of hundred. This is just a quick overview of my process and I've highlighted a few of the things I think about. This is not a detailed explanation, it takes too long to write that and I don't want to put anyone to sleep. Just some things to think about.
I put the memory card in the reader and I have the computer set up to automatically open Lightroom. The import dialog appears, and I've written a preset called "D800 import" that automatically sets up some parameters: where the images are saved, where the second copy (backup) is saved (on a different drive), it adds my copyright info in the metadata, and some really basic settings like sharpening, clarity, vibrance, camera profile, lens correction, etc. I can always change those but most RAW files need something to make them look ok on import. Click "Go" and depending how many images, get a coffee.
2. Flag Status
The D800 gives you huge files. I don't necessarily want to keep them all and some of them are certainly worth prioritizing for the next step in the editing cycle. I blow them up to full size on the big monitor and go through the whole batch, hitting "X" for reject, "P" for pick or just skipping them if I'm not sure. Pictures I want to work on first, I'll hit "6" (puts an "Edit Now" flag on them) and really good ones I'll mark with a 3- or 4- or very rarely a 5-star rating. I also use "7" on series' of bracketed pictures I will want to merge to HDR.
Next step is the hard-hearted click on ctrl-backspace to permanently delete all the rejected photos from disk. These are pictures you're NEVER EVER going to want to see again.
This whole thing is really a quick process, assuming I've taken that few minutes to let Lightroom generate the previews before I start. 200 images, maybe 10 minutes.
This is a good time to do it. These are all potential keepers, and if you ever want to find them again... you can do them quickly in batches and add more later.
I'm not going into detail here. Each picture needs a different treatment. Sometimes you want to do some common edits, especially if a number of pictures are going to be merged together, as an HDR for instance, or all themed to work together for some other reason. Lightroom lets you sync edits across a number of images.
Step 1 once an image is imported to Photoshop: Ctrl-J duplicates the layer so I have the original to fall back on any time I want to. Step 2 is usually a hi-pass sharpening layer (blend mode to overlay, radius 4px is my go-to setting). The rest varies from image to image. Step 3: Blow the image up onscreen to at least 100% and go around it to find whatever else needs fixing. There's always something!
Once I get back to Lightroom, that's when I crop and straighten (I may have done a preliminary crop before exporting to Photoshop). Final touchup, and as Ansel Adams used to say, a picture isn't finished until the edges are darkened a bit. A really useful tool is the new radial filter in Lightroom that you can use to really make the subject pop.
For display on my blog or on Social Media, I often like to build a shadow frame like the one below. I created an action to do that in Photoshop with one click, then I enter the caption, my signature and tweak it as I see fit before saving it as a separate file. I don't want to overwrite my original. Contact me if you want a copy of the action (works in CC or CS6)
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