Photography Workflow 2020

Photography Workflow 2020


In 2018, a little more than 2 years and a completely different world ago, I wrote down my photo workflow for the sake of documenting.

The secondary purpose was to have it as a reference that I could go back to at some point with the goal of making it even simpler, if possible.

That said, with enough minor changes and improvements implemented, I wanted to capture this workflow again with the same goals in mind.

My process at present is:

  1. Transfer images
    • JPGs to “/JPG/” on Desktop
    • RAWs to dated folder, ex: “/2020-10-12/”
  2. Backup/Import
    • JPGs –> Google Photos (1 gallery for each camera type)
    • RAWs –> NAS (which backs up to Google Drive; folders organized by format and camera type)
    • Pause Lightroom CC syncing and import RAWs
  3. Cull
    • Review all shots and remove/delete any that aren’t selected for editing
    • Resume Lightroom CC syncing
  4. Edit
  5. Export

The one part I’m still working through is the culling/review process. Even with a 5K iMac display, I still feel like the nicest screen I have at present is on an iPhone XS Max.

Depending on the situation, sometimes I will let the entire shoot sync to Lightroom just so that I can review and cull on my phone.

There are rumors of a Mini-LED iPad Pro coming in early 2021; with that, there’s a good chance this whole workflow will need to be adapted, especially given that direct import from the camera is posssible, but for now, this is my preferred workflow.

Catalog Bloat

A few weeks ago I realized, in addition to paying Adobe $30/month for 2TB of cloud storage with a creative cloud membership, my catalog was full of shots that I would never touch again.

For the majority of the 15 years I have been shooting, only recently have I followed a strict photo cull.

Applying the current workflow to my entire catalog, which took the majority of a full weekend, resulted in the removal of over 2/3’s of what I had been saving previously.

There’s something so nice about being able to scroll through years of photo selects so much faster. Being able to downgrade to a $15/month plan is pretty awesome as well.

I thought it would be a lot tougher to get rid of that many images, but knowing they’re all backed up as well as easily viewable on Google Photos if I need to find something made the process much easier.

Asking the same question, “honestly, will we ever edit this shot?” of so many photos from the past 15 years has also helped me review more recent shoots with a critical eye - mostly because I don’t want to have to do this again 15 years from now either.

New Hardware

The one new piece of hardware that has really helped me speed things up is also somewhat ridiculous.

An Apple 2 meter Thunderbolt 3 Pro Cable with a top transfer speed of 40Gb/s costs $129; that is insane (which is verbatim what I said when I first saw it). That said, it is also now an indispensable part of my arsenal.

Transfers from my camera used to take 10, 20, even 30 minutes depending on how many shots I took on the card.

With this insanely expensive cable, I don’t think I’ve waited longer than a minute for a transfer to complete - usually just a matter of seconds.

The amount of time this saves ultimately justifies the price in my opinion, but it was a hard pill to swallow initially.