Shooting RAW… ugh…

Home Forums Photography Q&A Shooting RAW… ugh…

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  • #42040
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    Okay, I’m shooting RAW, but I’m finding it’s not working for me. I love the increased control over the file, but I’m finding I’m not having time/energy to cull and edit! I’d like to blame my editor, Luminar 3, which unfortunately isn’t giving me what I really want when it comes to efficiency (developing is fantastic, though!). Culling and organizing my RAW files, though, feels very hard.

    Two questions then:

    How long does it take the typical photographer to come back from an afternoon with 200 pics, narrow them down to 20, and then edit them?
    What Digital Asset Manager (i.e. Library, cataloguing system, etc.) does this photographer use?

    Thanks!

    @loganlamar

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by Logan Lamar.
    #42042
    John M.
    Participant

    Hey @loganlamar
    I know the feeling!! Before I made the switch to Lightroom, it was hard keeping all my pictures organized and I didn’t have a fast post-processing system going. RAW format is a larger file and uses more space, but the editing control and photo quality make it worth it to me.

    I use Lightroom Classic CC. It was hard for me to switch at first, but I’m glad I did. I only dislike the subscription method of payment and I wish Adobe would offer it as a standalone product. Other than that, I love it. LR has a good built-in Library and importing/exporting is pretty easy.

    How long does it take the typical photographer to come back from an afternoon with 200 pics, narrow them down to 20, and then edit them?

    I don’t know if I’m a typical photographer… always wondered 😉 I’d guess 15 mins to go through and flag the best 20 of 200 pics. I’m not the fastest editor, so it depends on what kind of deadline I’m on. But with presets and ease of use, you could turn out 20 pictures pretty fast.

    I’d recommend trying the free trial of Lightroom and see if you like it.

    #42043
    Austin Vinar
    Participant

    Just so you know, you don’t have to shoot raw. I don’t and know of another professional who doesn’t. With jpeg you need to nail your exposure, but shouldn’t we anyway? And honestly, I like the way my jpegs turn out better. I may shoot a RAW or two under certain circumstances, but that is it.

    I would think I could edit 200 in 30 minutes. But I don’t process every photo I keep. Just the best that I plan on using in the near future. I use faststone to edit and rename, Windows Explorer to tag, and Lightroom to process.

    #42044
    David Frazer
    Participant

    What is your current process for culling and organizing?

    I don’t know Luminar, but It is surely one of two kinds of photo editing programs: the Photoshop-type (Photoshop, GIMP, Affinity Photo) or the Lightroom-type (Lightroom, Darktable, RAWTherapee). You definitely want a Lightroom-type for most of your photo editing and your organising. Use the Photoshop-type only when you need that additional control, such as merging multiple photos into one. Most of the Lightroom-type have most or all of the following organizing tools:

    – Pick/reject/favourite flags
    – Star Rating
    – Colour labels
    – Tags

    I know each photographer has a different system, and what works for some doesn’t for others, but I thought I could share my method:

    I start by putting each set of photos into folders labeled by date and subject. Note – it is important to make the date year-month-day because of the way computers sort folders. So my folders would look like this:
    2019-07-07 135 Main Street Brisbane – John Agent
    2019-07-07 45 Crossbury Norfolk – Alice Broker
    2019-07-08 1 Any Street Anytown #14 – Master Seller
    etc.

    For sorting I personally use a combination of stars and colour labels. First, I go through quickly and 2-star the ones I could possibly use, and reject/delete the ones I definitely will never use. This could be done with pick/reject flags.

    I then go through all the 2-star photos (or the “picked” photos) more slowly and decide which are the best. These get 3 stars. I normally end up with between 10% and 20% of the original number of photos taken marked 3-stars for my personal photos (I am really bad at taking people photos, especially children…) and between 60% and 90% being 3 stars for my paid shoots. (Where I take more time to think before taking the picture, and I already know the purpose of the photo.)

    I then use a yellow colour label to identify the ones to be edited. This is a good stopping place. At this point I can come back at any time to do the editing. Even if it is months from now, I know which ones I am going to edit.

    Finally, I (should) tag the photos to make them easier to find what I am looking for months or years down the road – tags such as “baby”, “landscape”, “lighthouse”, “snowflakes”, “animals”, etc.

    Once the photo is edited I add a green label and remove the yellow label.

    #42070
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Hey @loganlamar, I really don’t have much experience with shooting RAW or editing, but I do use a really good editor that some people like better than Photoshop that I would recommend. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before but it’s called Affinity photo.
    Affinity is good for someone that doesn’t do too much editing but still needs all those great photo editing tools without paying a fortune.
    Here is a link to Affinity photo
    I paid $50 for it.
    Hope this helps!
    -Ernest

    #42087
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    @hayhand02

    I know the feeling!! Before I made the switch to Lightroom, it was hard keeping all my pictures organized and I didn’t have a fast post-processing system going. RAW format is a larger file and uses more space, but the editing control and photo quality make it worth it to me.
    I use Lightroom Classic CC.

    Hm… 200 to 20 in 15 minutes, that’s not bad! I am considering Lightroom, but as I don’t have any regular income coming in for my photography, I hate having to pay for a regular expense… but then again, Lightroom is the industry standard that most everyone loves (except for the subscription). I’m considering ON1 as an alternative to Lightroom.
    It is nice to know that I’m not the only one to get burnt out on swimming in unedited and unculled RAW files!

    @austinvinar

    Just so you know, you don’t have to shoot raw. I don’t and know of another professional who doesn’t. With jpeg you need to nail your exposure, but shouldn’t we anyway? And honestly, I like the way my jpegs turn out better. I may shoot a RAW or two under certain circumstances, but that is it.

    I shoot RAW+JPEG, and I am finding myself using my JPEGs more than my RAWs—especially because most of my pictures are of my little siblings and I don’t really need to edit each one to look amazing when my parents are content with their smartphones.
    Maybe that’s my solution: to be okay with using JPEGs. When I shoot landscape or macros, though, I do want the capability to do a heavy edit—or when I do screw up an exposure, it’s nice to be able to do some rescue work. I use Apple Photos to hold onto my JPEGs; it’s fast, and I can do some basic edits in a clean, fast, intuitive workspace. It will work with RAWs, but I found myself unsatisfied when I did work with them (not enough advanced control—but maybe I need to give it another go. It could have been just me, and maybe I don’t need everything).

    I’m thinking a fast RAW previewer like FastStone is a missing link in my workflow; but FastStone doesn’t work on my Mac. I’m trying FastRawViewer, but it’d be great if I could keep all of my organizing and processing in one program.

    @dfrazer

    What is your current process for culling and organizing?

    I take my photos in RAW+JPEG, and when I import my photos from the card, I put all of my JPEGs on my boot drive to live in the Apple Photos catalog. The interface is very simple to use and works like any Apple product—clean, but maybe a little oversimplified. My RAWs live on a cloned pair of external hard drives in a folder structure nearly identical to what you described.
    Luminar 3 is a relatively new Lightroom alternative that links its catalog to an existing folder structure. I just point it to the external hard drive, and it pulls all the image information from that so I can cull and edit. I think Luminar may be one of the best RAW processors, but I’m finding its catalog is a bit clunky and immature. It takes four to five seconds for it to render a sharp preview of a RAW image, and that’s not conducive to fast sorting and culling.
    Again, maybe I just need to learn to use it, but it’s pretty frustrating for me to try to organize anything (putting my photos on my internal 3TB Fusion Drive instead of my external HDDs didn’t seem to make too much of a difference).

    @ernestf-lloyd

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of it before but it’s called Affinity photo.
    Affinity is good for someone that doesn’t do too much editing but still needs all those great photo editing tools without paying a fortune.

    YES!!! I do use Affinity, and that is my wonderful Photoshop alternative. It does a TON of editing for what it costs—and I believe it is closely on par with Photoshop. I am completely satisfied, and have very little reason to consider acquiring Photoshop in light of what Affinity Photo can do.

    However, I’m still in need of a way to organize my RAW files… (if Serif—the company that makes Affinity Photo—comes out with something as close to Lightroom as Affinity Photo is to Photoshop, I think Adobe might have serious problems on their hands!).

    Thanks everyone for your help so far! Any further discussion/ideas/answers would be very helpful.
    @loganlamar

    #42090
    Austin Vinar
    Participant

    Lightroom was one of the best photographic purchases I made. I got v6 stand alone.

    #42099
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    @austinvinar, yeah I would go with Lightroom (as that’s what everyone uses), but I hate subscriptions, and I don’t want to be tied to old software, either.

    I’m thinking about going with ON1… I’m giving it a thirty day trial run right now.

    #42100
    Eliana Franzenburg
    Participant

    I’ve started shooting in RAW recently just as it seems to produce more detailed/sharper photos. I have a Mac so I mainly use the “Photos” app (which works extremely well for what I do) and Photoshop Elements for any in depth editing. The only problem I have when editing is that my laptop is quite old so it can be slow processing the larger files. (I have a Canon 80d so the file size is around 18-24 MG I know that different cameras have different RAW file sizes)

    On the topic of narrowing photos down I always wait till the next day after shooting so I have a fresh mindset and mark my favorites then just slowly narrow them down depending on how they look after any editing is done.

    Hope that helps!

    #42587
    Logan Lamar
    Participant

    @elianafranzenburg

    On the topic of narrowing photos down I always wait till the next day after shooting so I have a fresh mindset and mark my favorites then just slowly narrow them down depending on how they look after any editing is done.

    Good idea! Sometimes I have emotional attachments to images that don’t allow me to objectively ask myself if something is a good image or not. Waiting allows that emotional attachment to go away.

    As far as software I am deciding to try for now, I’m giving ON1 a go. I was able to get it for a very nice discount, and I’m hoping the faster browsing speed will be more appealing to sifting through a bunch of images. 🙂

    Thanks for your help everyone!

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