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Pure Actions for Photographers

A blog of pure awesomeness

Good, Better, Best--The Most Effective Workflow

Good, Better, Best--The Most Effective Workflow

To be a successful photographer you need to create great images.

...

Ok, duh.  Right?

But really.  You DO need to create stunning, timeless images that resonate with your audience.

However, you also need to have an effective workflow.  You need to be able to handle enough clients to pay the bills and you need to be able to deliver your product quickly enough that people will be happy with the speed of delivery.

Well, that is one reason we sell our actions and presets.  We believe that we can help photographers with getting clean, classic, stylish, timeless edits more quickly.  Which we feel pretty good about.

But there is a nagging question that lots of people ask us.  Heck, WE asked ourselves this question for months.  WHAT is the place of Lightroom in an effective workflow?  What is the place of Photoshop?  What about Adobe Camera RAW (ACR)?

Here's what we've come up with as we continue to tweak and refine our own personal workflows.  See, we're not just action vendors.  We're wedding and portrait photographers with a full plate.  We have lots of kids and a home life too, so getting a workflow that was fast was important to us.  We'll go over the minutiae of our workflows in a later post, but we wanted people to start thinking about how different programs can work together.

We feel like Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW/Bridge serve a very similar function for the end user.  We don't advocate one over the other, because we understand that their use is really personal preference.  In fact, to highlight this, Rachel prefers to use Lightroom and Crystal swears by using Adobe Camera RAW/Bridge.  So, even amongst Pure, there is no consensus as to which holds the crown.

What we DO agree on is that getting as MUCH of your editing done in your RAW editor (ACR or Lightroom) is critical to speed.  This is where we come in and apply our workflow presets and white balance, etc.  We get a very good, clean image.  In Lightroom or ACR you can easily apply full edits from one image to the next.  It cuts down your time from days or hours on a session to often under an hour.  (I can usually get a full portrait session out of Lightroom in under 30 minutes.)

I will actually deliver a wedding/reception straight out of Lightroom.  That is how nice the edit is...but for the album??

Lightroom/ACR are incredibly fast, and I want them to be the full answer to editing, but I am going to admit something.  I don't think Lightroom can give that final OOMPH that adding just that last polish in Photoshop can.  So, after I get all of my RAW tweaks, I will upload the images to Photoshop to give that last polish.  I feel that Lightroom/ACR can get an image to about 90%, but there is a reason Photoshop costs more.  It is more targeted.  I can clean up an image better.  Healing and cloning are much better in Photoshop.  Targeting specific colors and styles is better and more effective in Photoshop.  I feel that last 10% of style and nuance can come in Photoshop.  So for any items going to print or for display on the web or in ads, I will make sure it gets the once-over in Photoshop.

Again, using our actions, I can give my images that final Pure polish, but do so efficiently.  Because with out both style and efficiency, I feel that our business would not succeed.

Above is a clean SOOC.  Middle image is a color corrected edit from Lightroom using Basic Warm Workflow 2 from Pure Presets 1. (Not bad, and done in one click.)  Bottom is polished with Defined Matte in PS and fixed with the Healing Brush tool.  

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