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Veit's personal Lightroom Workflow Experience: Part 1

 


by Veit Irtenkauf

Manage the Digital Workflow

 

Rarely have I looked forward more to the release of a new imaging software product than I did to Lightroom. Not only did I have my hopes up based on what I saw in the various beta releases, but I also knew I had to adjust my own workflow anyway since Adobe had bought Pixmantec and thus RawShooter Premium became an unsupported product. While not in the short term, at the latest a purchase of a new DSLR would force me to switch to a different raw converter. And since we all hate revisiting our trued and tried workflows, Lightroom will certainly have the staying power, so I’d expect that it would become my main workflow management tool. Thus the heightened anticipation.

The following article series tries to provide some insights into certain aspects of my workflow and how they will be impacted by my switch to Lightroom. This series is not intended as a review of Lightroom or as a step-by-step tutorial on how to use Lightroom and its myriad of different functions. Instead, it examines the challenges that I face in my different workflows and outlines possible solutions to my workflow problems, with the focus on the following four workflow challenges:

- Part 1: Stitching panoramas
- Part 2: Traveling the world
- Part 3: Photo-blogging
- Part 4: Publishing on the web

Before starting with the first challenge, let’s look at my basic workflow first:

Basic workflow

While it took me quite a while to tweak my workflow to where it is today, it is not that special or different from what many other photographers are doing. Therefore, I expected Lightroom to cover all of my basics and so far, it is living up to my lofty expectations. The following diagram outlines how easy and straight-forward it was to move my existing workflow to Lightroom.

 


My basic workflow matches Lightroom’s quite nicely!

But as we all know, the devil is always in the details. Thus, let’s examine some of the peculiarities of my workflow and how Lightroom is coping with them.

Stitching Panoramas

I shoot quite a lot of panoramic images. Therefore, it is essential to me that my workflow allows me to go through the additional step of stitching a panorama (currently done with PTgui or other panorama tools, including Photoshop) as well as copying EXIF data from the original images into the newly stitched image (via Perl and ExifTool), so meta data such as ISO and Aperture get retained in the stitched image.




Stitching a panorama is very easy to do in a Lightroom workflow

Fortunately, this is very easy to achieve in Lightroom. Just use Lightroom’s Export function to export all the images you want to stitch. Similar to Adobe Camera RAW or any of your other RAW processors, Lightroom “develops’ the selected images and stores them in the format you specified (I always choose TIFF, typically 16-bit, non-compressed, 300 ppi). You can even save the initial export format as a preset for future use, which makes future exports much easier to set up.


Exporting images from Lightroom is a quick one-step process

Once exported, all I have to do is to fire up my favorite panorama stitcher (typically PTgui), stitch my panorama and then copy my metadata (not a necessary step, but I’d like to retain some of my EXIF data in the stitched panorama, so I copy the data over). Once done, just import the panorama back into Lightroom via the “Import Photos…” function. Very easy!

Part 2 (The world traveler) will examine how to synchronize Images between Lightroom installations on two different machines.

 

Manage the Digital Workflow

   

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