Workflow for Bird Photography
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Old 10-08-2010   #1
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Default Workflow for Bird Photography

Iíve been asked to start a sticky thread that will help members with their workflow and to encourage others to post their workflows and tips for processing the images from the camera. This is just my workflow, itís not perfect and many will think itís too much effort, but each to their own. It takes me less than 30 seconds to process for the web after I generated the action so I personally think itís very little effort. If anyone has any suggestions for improving it or even totally changing it for the better, then please do so. I have started from the point where the images are downloaded from the camera. I will think about starting another sticky thread for the actual capturing of the shots, camera settings, composition, cropping etc, if members want it. So...........
Import images directly from the camera using Lightroom 2.6
I do this in preference to removing the card and placing the card in a card reader. Donít see it makes a lot of difference.
As I shoot exclusively in RAW I import into a specific location using the following syntax
D:/MyPictures/2010/02 February/28 Fairburn Ings/28 Fairburn Ings_RAW
All My Documents are on a 1TByte RAID which is a separate disk to the system disk. They are also automatically copied to a 2TByte network drive for further redundancy and I copy to DVD once a month. I still need to think about off site storage incase my house burns down.
Once in Lightroom I then go through all images and tag them as rejected or picked. I donít delete the rejected yet. All images are given keywords which are usually Ė birds, type of bird, where taken. These Tags can be used to generate different collections in Lightroom.
I also put the bird name into the Caption field as it is used on my web site.


I now work on individual images
1.Crop Ė I like to keep the same aspect ration as comes out of the camera, namely 3x2. This is just a personal preference as I think 3X2 is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
2.Basic adjustments. Ė
I will try the Auto button to see what it gives but will normally reset and do things my way
I try to get as much as possible out of the image, which is why I shoot RAW. I use the histogram and switch on the clipping indicators.
I donít do any sharpening or noise reduction in LR.
I generally do Vibrance 32 and Saturation 1, or sometime Saturation 10, as there is nothing done in camera, depending on what Iíve taken a picture of.

All picked images are now exported as jpg into the folder above the RAW files. I donít bother with tiff as I have the RAW files if needed.
So D:/MyPictures/2010/02 February/28 Fairburn Ings/28 Fairburn Ings_RAW
will be put into folder D:/MyPictures/2010/02 February/28 Fairburn Ings
These photos are there so my wife can look through them all on the netdrive otherwise she feels neglected.

Still in Lightroom I decide which shots Iím going to put on the web and from here I import them into Photoshop CS5 and do all of the following in an action. This is one click and takes less than 30 seconds to run.
1.Run the image through neatimage to remove the noise Ė I use profiles for my camera from the neatimage website most of the time.
2.Add a curves adjustment layer and change the curve to an S shape. Set the blending mode to Luminosity
3. Add another curves adjustment layer and change the bottom of the curve to input 10 output 0 and top of the curve to input 245 output 255. Set the blending mode to Colour.
4. Flatten the image.
5. Resized the image to 1667 pixels on the long side and restrained proportions
Unsharp mask 300, 0.6, 0
6. Duplicate the layer
Unsharp mask 200, 0.4, 0 The image will look completely wrong and very oversharpened but donít worry.
7. Set the opacity of the top layer that has been sharpened twice to 60%
8. Resized the image to 1000 pixels on the long side and restrained proportions
9. Smart sharpen 80, 0.2, 0 remove gausian blur selected
10. Flatten image
11. Save as and change the quality so that the size is acceptable to photocamel. I do it this way in preference to Save for Web because it keeps the exif information intact. I will probable add to this post and hopefully others will put in their $0.02 worth.
So here are the results.
1. Straight from the camera
2. Cropped and Lightroom adjustments of #1
3. Web action for noise reduction, improved contrast and sharpening of #2
4. Another run of noise reduction of #3
5. Straight from Camera
6. Final Image of #5

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Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1 Straight from 50D resized IMG_6186.jpg (135.7 KB, 910 views)
File Type: jpg 2 Cropped LR adj resized IMG_6186.jpg (150.4 KB, 902 views)
File Type: jpg 3 LR to Web Port II IMG_6186.jpg (166.2 KB, 904 views)
File Type: jpg 4 LR to Web Port II +NI IMG_6186.jpg (169.4 KB, 904 views)
File Type: jpg Straight from camera.jpg (157.8 KB, 903 views)
File Type: jpg Sharpen for web.jpg (169.0 KB, 902 views)

Last edited by Frogstar; 11-26-2013 at 05:13 AM.. Reason: Font too small
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Old 10-08-2010   #2
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Excellent Kevin!, plenty of information to keep everyone happy, but expect quite a few queries and questions from the members.
This tutorial is certainly worth while reading for both the experienced and beginners alike.


Best regards Paul
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Old 10-08-2010   #3
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Thanks for this Kevin and making it a sticky.. I think it's way overdue. I would like to request (on approval of our wonderful moderators ) That this thread be kept clean from too much "side conversation" but be a place where others can post their workflow with examples. As many of us use different file formats, editing programs, etc, there can be a wealth of info out there to be had.
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Old 10-08-2010   #4
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Great Sticky. Thanks for the detailed workflow.
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Old 10-09-2010   #5
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

good work kevin though i have a slight different storage system on my pc / laptops/ soon nas .

i sort my raw files per camera brand and these raw files go straight on to a secondary hard drive , with the camera and model type i make folders of places where the rawfiles are shot and by year (if i visit one place more often)

but that is just my workflow i like to do minimum tweaking with eiter photoshop elements 5 or picacsa 3.6
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Old 10-10-2010   #6
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

any chance of posting the action for download?
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Old 10-22-2010   #7
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Thanks Kevin.
This is great information.

Regards,
Fonsy
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Old 10-23-2010   #8
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naz View Post
any chance of posting the action for download?
If anyone wants the action then just send me a PM and I'll let you have it.
Kevin
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Old 11-06-2010   #9
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Thanks Kevin, Lots of information.
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Old 11-27-2010   #10
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Default Re: Workflow for Bird Photography

Thanks Kevin, great tut for someone just starting out with birds (and photography in general).

Judging from your PS5 workflow the end results are much much better then the minimal pp that I have done. Would dearly love to have the action file to play around with if that is ok with you.

Thanks,


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