My Current Digital Photography Workflow

Rich summarized his “current photography workflow”:http://www.tongfamily.com/archives/2010/05/panoramas/, lots of good stuff here. My flow is different, it is interesting how much divergence there is between our solutions. We have similar camera gear and take similar numbers of photos I suspect, but the way we process is radically different. I bet our workflow for other digital tasks is not nearly as divergent; the photo software and storage market is very diverse.

* I also shoot in RAW and JPEG but I don’t do much with the RAW. It has been hard to find consistent RAW support in tools and so I have tended to ignore the RAW. Tho that may change…
* Aperture is the core of my process. I import all photos off my storage cards into Aperture, I manage everything as Aperture libraries. I organize libraries in a Year/Month/Event hierarchy which seems to work well. Aperture exposes this structure in the file system and thru the common dialogs on the Mac so I tend to be able to get at photos easily from any app.
* My first line of backup defense is BackBlaze. It trickle backups constantly in the background transparently and so if I fail to do more explicit backup operations, I have this protection.
* I also dump photo albums to smugmug using the aperture plugin on an irregular basis. This gives me another level of backup and a way to share with family.
* Finally I copy the aperture libraries to a usb drive every once in a while for additional protection.
* Aperture is pretty fast at previewing photos and has fine basic editing tools for cropping, touchup, color and exposure correction, etc. Good enough that I never feel the need for Photoshop or other expensive tools. And there are a ton of plugins available if I really felt like more photo munging.
* Aperture 3.0 also has RAW support which I have yet to play with but need to try.
* I don’t do any HDR or panorama or other deep processing today. No time.

That is pretty much it. My solution is a little more expensive than Rich’s, I pay for Aperture, Smugmug, and Backblaze. But I find it all to be pretty fast. It does demand a reasonable MacBook, I just updated to the new i7 Macbooks with 8M ram and the biggest hard disk I could get.