Workflow

Bye Bye 2017 - Letting go in 2018

OLNEY-byebye-2017.jpg

Bye Bye à une bizarre d'année pour moi.

Alors que 2017 fut l'année la plus productive depuis que je me consacre exclusivement à la photographie, c'est aussi l'année où j'ai publié le moins de photos sur ce site et sur les différentes plateformes où je les publie.

Je n'ai jamais pris autant de photos, eu autant de mandats et shooté des sujets aussi diversifiés qu'au cours de 2017. Malgré cela, je suis resté relativement silencieux. C'est en partie parce que ça demande énormément de travail et de temps d'assurer une présence régulière sur les médias sociaux (temps que j'ai largement consacré à l'édition), et en partie parce que je n'étais pas entièrement satisfait des résultats que j'obtenais sur mes propres projets personnels. Sur ce point, je n'ai d'autre choix que de m'en prendre à moi-même. Comme on dirait en chinois traditionnel: "shame on me".

C'est que voyez-vous, j'ai consacré une bonne partie de l'année à raffiner mon workflow d'édition et à expérimenter différents outils, avec l'objectif de me libérer complètement de Lightroom et du modèle de souscription d'Adobe. Au menu de cette longue expérimentation; Luminar 2018 de Macphun/Skylum, ON1 Photo RAW, Darktable, Iridient Developer, Exposure X3 de Alien Skin, de même que Capture One Pro (avec lequel j'entretiens une relation d'amour/haine depuis 3 ans) et, pour faire bonne mesure, les toutes dernières versions de Lightroom (baptisée Lightroom Classic) et Lightroom CC, au cas où Adobe aurait enfin mis ses ressources à profit pour améliorer sensiblement ses produits et son traitement des fichiers RAW de Fujifilm.

Au final, un constat; il n'y a rien de tel pour foutre en l'air mon workflow et bousiller ma capacité à apprécier correctement mes photos que de tester autant de produits!

Bien sûr, les principes sont toujours les mêmes; balance des blancs, correction de l'exposition, correction des hautes lumières, travail des ombres, contrastes, ajustement de la netteté des fichiers raw, et, à l'occasion, ajustement des couleurs. Cependant, bien que chacun de ces outils permette de réaliser l'ensemble de ces tâches, ils ne le font pas tous avec autant de bonheur ni, surtout, avec la même aisance. Bref, une année de tâtonnements, d'essais et d'erreurs, de photos éditées et rééditées à de nombreuses reprises, avec de nombreux logiciels différents pour des résultats rarement satisfaisants au final. Je me suis donc retenu toute l'année de publier, jamais content de ce que j'obtenais, frileux de partager des photos qui, par ailleurs, ne sont pas totalement dénuées de qualités.

Tout ça pour en arriver à une résolution pour 2018, une seule... LÂCHER PRISE !

Je vous laisse avec quelques photos des vacances des Fêtes dans les Laurentides.



Farewell to a weird year for me.

While 2017 was the most productive year since I devote myself exclusively to photography, it is also the year when I published the fewest photos on this site and on the various platforms where I publish them.

I never took as many photos, had as many gigs and shot as many diverse subjects as I did in 2017. Despite this, I remained relatively silent. This is partly because it takes a lot of work and time to maintain a regular presence on social media (time I've largely spent on editing), and partly because I was not entirely satisfied with the results I got on my own personal projects. I have no choice but to blame myself. As one would say in traditional Chinese: "shame on me".

You see, I spent a good part of the year refining my editing workflow and experimenting with different tools, with the goal of freeing myself from Lightroom and Adobe's subscription model. On the menu of this long experiment; Luminar 2018 from Macphun / Skylum, ON1 Photo RAW, Darktable, Iridient Developer, Exposure X3 from Alien Skin, as well as Capture One Pro (with which I have had a love/hate relationship for the past 3 years) and, for good measure, the latest versions of Lightroom (Lightroom Classic) and Lightroom CC, in the event that Adobe has finally used its resources to significantly improve its products and the processing of Fujifilm RAW files.

In the end, an observation; there is nothing to screw up my workflow and my ability to properly appreciate my photos than to test as many products!

Of course, the principles are always the same; adjusting white balance, perform exposure correction, controlling the highlights and shadows, contrast, sharpness of raw files and performing the occasional color adjustment. However, although each of these tools can accomplish these tasks, they do not perform the same or achieve the same results, nor with the same ease. In short, it's been a year of trial and errors, photos edited and reprocessed many times, with different software, for results that rarely satisfied me in the end. So I held back from publishing all year long, never happy with what I got, unwilling to share photos that, after all, are not completely devoid of qualities.

All this to arrive at a resolution for 2018, only one ... JUST LET GO!

Here are some photos from my Christmas vacations in the Laurentians.

Texte et photos © 2018 OLNEY

Damned DAM - Going for the Flow

I’m somewhat cured of GAS. Oh I do enjoy a little gearporn session once in a while but, as money goes, I have to refrain a bit on the acquisition part of the acronym. « You can look… but you cannot touch ». That’s my motto for the time being. Although I would probably fall for a 24 mpx X-Pro 2 or X-T2.

One thing is always itching me though; workflow.

I’m pretty sure that I’m not as efficient as I could be. I always wonder if I’m making the best choices for image quality, assets management and security of my data. I’ve looked at a number of articles depicting one’s process of managing images, and versions, but somehow I stay unsure if what I’m doing is the right thing.

So I’ve tried a couple of things in the past one and a half year, from simply organizing my files manually in the finder and processing them in CameraRAW/Photoshop or Pixelmator, to using a full blown DAM and RAW converter like Lightroom, Aperture or Capture one… and yes, everything in between, DAM or RAW converter; Photo Ninja, Iridient Developper, SilkyPix, Photo Mechanics, Perfect Photo Suite, On one, and others I don’t even care to remember… the latest being Mac Affinity Pro and Supreme Photo.

I had not looked at another piece of software than Aperture as long as I shot Nikon. But you know what, I committed to Fuji and everything changed. X-Trans files are special you know. Everyone has an opinion on the rendering of X-Trans files and I got caught in the debate. So I wanted better images AND better worflow.

But, believe it or not, I’m longing for the leanest process possible. If I could use just one application that would be perfect! It is supposed to be quite simple after all; import, manage, cull, develop, output, upload, archive, retrieve. That’s it! Simple. Linear. Like in Lightroom linear.

Sickening… don’t you think? Doctor, am I normal? Ain’t I the worst case you had?

 

The thing is that, by trying all those apps and constantly changing my worflow (including file naming conventions, output formats, metadata presets, keywording, etc.), I finally got results... RESULTS!

  1. Got everything messed up

  2. Spent a lot of time managing files, creating presets while not shooting

  3. Ruin my eyes comparing images on the computer screen

  4. Lost confidence in my abilities to render images the way I want

  5. Lost all pleasure I had in doing post related things

I somehow stopped being an artist and became an application tester. BETA… throw it this way!

That’s when it hit me. « Build it and they will come »

 

DAM Flow olney photographe sherbrooke

It’s not that I’m waiting for baseball legends of the past but, what this quote means to me is « COMMIT and they will come back », meaning the pleasure, the confidence, the awareness, the abilities… more of the FLOW and less of the WORK.

Just like I committed fully to the Fujifilm system and look, I needed to commit to a certain set of tools that I feel comfortable with, that gets good results and that, most of all, allows me to express myself, tools I can use to make my images look the way they should, the way I saw them or imagine them at the moment I pressed the shutter.

So I did. Got rid of every application except Lightroom and Capture One, and I got back to the very simple workflow I had established years before. I even got rid of my once beloved Nik Efex Pro and ditched every presets I had ever downloaded. Down the drain. Everything except the VSCO sets, that I kept just in case or for comparison purposes, as I use my own presets 95% of the time, on RAF files as well as on the superb Fuji JPEGs. And you know what? I feel lighter, clean, honest. By committing to those tools I committed to myself; to the artist and to my peace of mind.

So, here it goes. Simply put:

  1. I shoot RAW+Large JPEG

  2. Import the files in Lightroom (in folders by date and custom name, with generic keywords and copyright info)

  3. Culling using the picked, unpicked and rejected flags (I do this on the JPEG files as they give a better idea of what the photo could look like)

  4. Throw away the obviously scrapped files, RAF and JPEG (yes I do that)

  5. Add relevant keywords to every file that are left, even the unpicked. That little interval soothes my eyes for the next part

  6. Filter the picked files

  7. Assign a star rating to picked files that will only serve as a priority reminder. The more stars the more I want to develop the file

  8. Backup every file on a external HD

  9. Develop files on a virtual copie

  10. Export a MASTER file that I will never tweek again in a MASTERS subfolder, add an « M » to the file name and assign the yellow label

  11. Export a 1200px on the longest side file for WEB publishing in a WEB subfolder, rename accordingly and assign the blue label

  12. Go back and assign the red label to the original file I just develop. This means « as been edited »

  13. When, and only when I decide to print a file I will export with specifics settings in a PRINTS folder, add a « P » to the file name and assign the green label.

I publish to Flickr and 500px using the Lightroom plugins. I use Collections to gather only four types of files : Polychromes, Monochromes, Photos published in my blog posts, Photos delivered to clients.

Lightroom backs up the catalog every day. Time Machine backs up the whole system once a week and Smart Backups backs up everything that is Lightroom related and all my photos and file structure once a week on another HD.

Simple, no?

Texte et photos © 2015 OLNEY