photography workflow thumbnail

Establishing a photography workflow for myself both came naturally and is completely vital. It helps me to not feel overwhelmed, miss things out and produce consistently up to standard work.

This is the photography workflow I would use for portrait, commercial, family or just a generally photo day such as this. Fine art images is a bit different, but we will come to that. So where do we start?

1. Planning Photos

Planning a photo shoot is not always necessary but I always notice a huge difference when I sort out most of the details beforehand. If you are doing work for a client, then planning is completely essential in order to make sure you are following the brief they have given.

I often do a quick sketch of how I want the image to look visually, and a few notes about theme / lighting and colour. After watching Brooke Shaden’s fine art photography course, I have created me own printable shoot planner (that you can get here!) and it’s going to be such a big help in getting the best out of my photo sessions.

SEE: Printable Shoot Planner Download

At the very least – know what you are shooting and why you are shooting it.

2. Shooting

Generally, this part comes quite naturally – you can plan all you like but until you get there on the shoot you don’t know what to expect.

Still from Filming 'Whatever After'
Still from Filming ‘Whatever After’

3. Transferring

The essentials for after a shoot is transferring my images onto my external hard drive and backing them up on a different drive or on a cloud-based server.

4. Lightroom

It’s usually now that I hop into Lightroom. I generally create a new Lightroom catalogue for each photoshoot I do but if one client campaign goes on for more than one shoot I will generally use one catalogue and separate the different shoots into folders.

5. Culling Images

I never delete images if I feel like they are not good enough – I use Lightroom’s starring system instead. I usually view the images one by one in Lightroom and give them a 5 star if I definitely want to use them or 4 stars if I’m not sure and want to revisit them later. After this is done, I set a filter on Lightroom to only show me starred images and voila, the first culling process is done.

family photo by jas poole of a newborn

6. Editing Images

It depends on what kind of shoot I’m doing as to how I will edit the images. For a lot of fine art shoots I am only looking for one image to work on. Therefore I will select that image, make some basic adjustments and then take it into Photoshop to start the magic.

In general for a portrait, family or book cover session it’s different. I will find an image which is fairly representative and apply my own preset I made for my work – from here I will make lighting and colour tweaks until I find a way of editing I am happy with. I will then copy the ‘Develop Settings’ and apply those settings as a base to all the other images in the set. This saves SO much time, and I love that I can do this.

Each image will then get individually tweaked with Lightroom, but generally, the groundwork has all been set. If I have exposed correctly in camera, then this part is fun and easy.

7. Exporting

It’s usually now that I export all my images at 300dpi.

editing before and after photography workflow

8. Photoshop / Retouching

I’m planning to do a whole blog post on my retouching policy – but in general, I don’t do a lot of ‘beauty’ retouching. Within photoshop I may correct lighting, brighten eyes and take care of stray hairs if I feel like it’s important to the image. Personally, I will never change someone’s body shape or make them look like they are not themselves. I save these files directly over themselves. This is also where I might save some for the web – generally at 1200px longest side and 72dpi.

Again, I feel like fine art editing is different as you are mostly creating an artwork rather than taking someone’s portrait of them.

Create Your Own Photography Workflow

And soooo there we have it! I would really like to hear if your photography workflow is different to mine or even if it’s exactly the same.

You are most definitely invited to follow me on Instagram or Twitter to keep in touch and follow me day to day.

Thank you so much for reading,

Jasmine Aurora x