Create Checklists and Digital Workflow

The top photo is one of the laminated lists I was using in 2002.

When I mentioned in a recent post creating a Digital Workflow that you laminate, one person asked for that list.

To be honest I have been doing this so long I no longer need the list, but did come across one of my laminated lists in my van to help me be sure I had everything before I left the house for a photo shoot.

This list had 4 sides of two laminated cards held together with a clip.

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.”

John Ruskin

I was shooting a lot of college basketball games at the time and had to arrive early to put up remotes and turn on my strobes.

I also was doing a good number of headshots and couple shots for a missionary agency.

Each assignment I did was often so different that I would bring some gear I wouldn’t use for another assignment.

Today I still take the time to pack before I leave for a trip or photo shoot the day before.

Here are some of the things I am doing that impacts my Digital Workflow.

Day Before Photo Shoot Preparation
  • Charge all camera batteries and other batteries
  • Format all XQD Memory Cards for Cameras in Camera
  • Inspect all camera sensors with Sensor Loupe
  • Clean if necessary sensor with Cleaning Kit
  • Make list of gear needed for photo shoot
    • Do I need a studio?
    • Do I need tripod?
    • I am doing video?
    • Do I need microphones?
    • Do I need constant light source for video?
  • Pack the necessary gear into cases
    • If flying then I will weigh all the cases
    • Often this is rearranging items to stay within weight limit
    • If over weight I will arrive extra early to the airport to get the Media Baggage Rate This applies to only working media and not hobbyist
Day of Shoot
  • Check cameras one last time for battery power
  • Pack Van and leave
  • Meet contact and brief on expectations and any last minute changes
  • Scout location – Often with client
  • Take gear out and assemble what is necessary
  • Go to each location and do a custom white balance
  • Pick all settings for shoot
  • When changing locations pick the custom white balance [on Nikon I can store 6 different WB settings and just pick the one needed or do a new custom white balance]
  • Go to spots I identified during scouting that would be ideal locations to shoot from just before the best time to be in those locations.
  • Often if there is a long shot list I will pull this out and be sure I am on track and help remind me the next shot or place to be for the photo shoot
  • Shoot the event
  • Touch base with client before leaving
Post Processing
  1. Ingest to PhotoMechanic
  2. IPTC information is filled out and part of the ingesting process
  3. Select the keepers
  4. Delete all untagged images
  5. Import into Lightroom, because I am shooting RAW
  6. Using metadata I select all the photos with the same lens
  7. Select all with the same lens
  8. Go to Develop Module “D” shortcut
  9. On far right go to lens correction
  10. Go back to Library and pick another lens and do the same until all photos have been lens corrected
  11. Click on profile and enable profile for Adobe Color or select another more appropriate profile by using browsing in the menu
  12. Tip to select multiple images shot in the same scene and do correction to all at once
  13. Go to settings and then tell it to Match Exposure on all those selected
  14. ⌘D unselect
  15. Go one by one and check those correct. Repeat this step for different scenes
  16. Correct for blown out highlights
  17. Pull in blacks if necessary
  18. I am often using the Dehaze and Texture sliders
  19. For sharpening I use this technique
  20. Export all images to sRGB JPEGs Quality 80
  21. Open PhotoMechanic
  22. Upload to my PhotoShelter account for the client

I love the updated Adobe Lightroom. I am using three of the controls that if used properly can really help out some photos that in the past without these controls would have been so-so photos.

I love the Texture, Clarity and Dehaze sliders. I cannot recommend them enough.

For sharpening I hold the Option key on the Mac while sliding the Masking control. The masking is around 70 for my older cameras that were 12 megapixels or less. 80 for my Nikon D5 and closer to 90 for the higher resolution cameras. Once I can see that just the edges are white then I slide the amount of sharpening to 150.

When your quality isn’t up to standards it is often because you skipped a step in your Digital Workflow.

“The biggest cost of poor quality is when your customer buys it from someone else because they didn’t like yours.”

W. Edwards Deming