Im looking to expand on my workflow after a shoot. Today my workflow consists of moving images from my SD card to my computer, using Picasa in a very basic d way... (Crop, im feeling lucky and maybe warily to make people not look so pale, and the occasional BW or focused BW)

Upload to my Google web album and share with friends/ family.

Copy my folder to an external drive.

Now take into account I’ll be shooting with my d7000 now mostly and not my point and shoot so i may (after i learn how) use RAW files. I want to keep the time down in post-production to as little as possible. And my workflow now is really fast, but then again i dotn really do much.

what should i use, and what should i do and what tools do i need to have a fluid workflow that results in fast cleanup of images that get them looking their best, also i want to tag them for sorting as i want to see what focal length i use most to get a 2nd lenses more specialized for what i actually use. (I take shots of my wife, kids, pets, and friends all the time) but what concrete evidence about lens details before i drop serious cash on new hardware.

Any help as far as giving me steps to follow or a workflow suited for DSLR images and step me up from Picasa monkeying around to the next level would be perfect. Tips, tricks, advice is always welcome.

Thanks all

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate: photo.stackexchange.com/q/2181/21 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 20:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Google "exif statistics" (without the quotes) and you should find at least two different photo metadata statistics packages. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note: don't tag your posts with "nikon" unless they're really nikon-focused. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 12:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree that this is a duplicate. The differences between lightroom and picasa is not the same thing as how to get a speedy workflow. Related? yes. Duplicate? no. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tom
    Commented Jan 5, 2011 at 2:21

4 Answers 4


I use Lightroom for my entire workflow now. One of the keys to remember about Lightroom (LR) is that it is more than just processing it is also a management program. So that not only does it allow you to process your images, it allows you to search your images later quickly and easily based on various criteria. I have been tweaking my workflow over the past few years and have come to a solution, especially with the new Publish feature in LR that seems to make this very quick and easy.

A point to remember is that this workflow applies whether JPG or RAW as LR can handle both easily.

Below is an edit from my blog post about my workflow

  1. Go out and take pictures.
Sometimes I use multiple cameras at the same location, a point and shoot, a DSLR, and even heavens no – a cellphone camera
  2. Return to the computer with flash cards full of images.
  3. Load images into Adobe Lightroom, keeping the same file names the camera assigned.
However the images are grouped into directories by year – month – day. More about that later.
  4. Take the original JPG files and upload them to my SmugMug account in a non-public area of my site for backup/safety purposes.
  5. Convert RAW images to JPG with no processing and upload to SmugMug at high resolution for backup/safety purposes.
  6. Go through and start culling images in Lightroom. Do any needed processing, captioning, and keywording.
  7. The keeper JPG images get published to SmugMug in the appropriate location using the service built into Lightroom typically.
  8. The keeper RAW images are exported to SmugMug in the appropriate location using the service built into Lightroom typically.

The culling process is very quick as is the keywording. For that what I do is use the X key to mark something as a reject, P for a pick, U for unmarked and have LR set to advance after assigning a flag. This advancing can be done through a menu option or having the caps lock engaged.

For keywording, I use two approaches. If all the images are from the same event, I will have that keyword added during the import. If I want to tag people (you mentioned taking pictures of family and friends) I will then use the Paint Keyword tool in the Library module of LR to assign the keywords. This step while seemingly small means that in three years when I am looking for a picture I can use the search tools to find an image based on data, event, person, or other keyword.

Lightroom will also display the camera information that is stored within the image, so you can search by that such as looking for all images taken in January 2009 of Chloe (our dog) with a PowerShot at the Dog park. Lightroom can then return that. In addition LR can print this information out on contact sheets or other prints if configured as such.

Now in terms of processing there are some powerful features in there for assigning the same processing quickly to multiple images. The example I use is shooting something under fluorescent lights and not setting the WB correctly. In LightRoom I can adjust WB of a RAW image. I can then take that one image and apply the corrections I made to it to selected images. So if the entire batch of photos I just imported need the same correction I can do it once and apply across the batch.

If you want to do more retouching, such as cropping, red eye correction, spot healing ... etc. there are tools in there for that, as well as lens correction.

Coupling that with the Publish features it has become almost transparent all the things that are actually happening. I don't have to think about publishing or deleting or updating photos on my SmugMug site, LR takes care of it when I say sync.

The biggest single suggestion I have is try the 30 day free trial and look at Adobe's online help and video tutorials.


Lightroom or Aperture

I left Picasa for Lightroom a couple of years ago, and I haven't looked back.

If you're on windows then I can pretty much guarantee that you will love Lightroom. It just brings loads of possibilities beyond Picasa, and all the editing is non-destructive, so you can always undo edits all the way back to the original RAW file (or JPEG).

If you're on mac, then you could also go for Aperture. I'm told that there isn't much to choose between Lightroom and Aperture - it's a matter of taste.

Both products have a free 30 day demo.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for Lightroom, for tinkering with RAW's it's fantastic \$\endgroup\$
    – David Yell
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 16:09

The benefit of Lightroom is very good, easy-to-use processing in a straightforward workflow environment with the ability to organize your photos in an intuitive way. Photoshop is a useful supplement to Lightroom for more complex, localized fixes, as Lightroom mostly works on the whole image at once (except for simple spot fixes).

But Lightroom may not be for you. It sounds like you really don't want to do much processing, and you are happy with your current workflow. I assume you are also able to organize your photos adequately in Picasa. While I prefer Lightroom to Picasa, it also costs 250 dollars, vs free. Also, Lightroom can be much slower.

I would advise you to try out the demo for Lightroom. My guess is you won't immediately get as much out of it as most of its users. That said, I believe processing is an important step in photography, and something simple like Picasa may be holding you back in this regard; maybe you don't like processing because you don't have the right software.


From your question, I am guessing that you and I have some similarities on workflow, so this may work for you as well. The basic assumptions is that I do as much photography as I can and I do as little as possible of everything else. Case in point, I crop less than 1% of the time and that is the most common adjustment I do. My gallery only has 2 cropped pictures (one shot from a moving vehicle, the other required 0.5 degree of rotation) and a few panos (autostich, I would never deal with control-points or the like :) that did not some out straight out of my camera.

Turns out the best applications are on Windows, so I run them in a VM through Parallels under OpenSUSE. The workflow goes something like this:

  1. Copy from memory card to a hard-drive using the operating system.
  2. Use PMView Pro to go through all the pictures extremely quickly and delete the ones that are not good. This is described in much more details on my blog.
  3. Go to Lightroom and Import IN-PLACE (Not moving or copying files) all the images that are left. On import, have Lightroom automatically put copywrite and author information.
  4. Rate the imported images in Lightroom. Add a color label for images that I wish to share (green = Flikr, Blue = Neoluminance). Then add keywords to those that need them.
  5. Select all files to be modified and go to develop module with only those in the filmstrip.
  6. Use Lightroom publish to Flickr. For publishing to Neoluminance, I export locally and have a plugin which lists the files that Lightroom exported, then a script reads that file and sends those after watermarking.

Silly stuff:

  • Speed is the most important to me, that's why I use PMView Pro. It's blazingly fast. Geegie is very close, it is free and with some custom configuration (binding keys to external utils, etc) can be almost as good.
  • I came extremly close to choosing Bibble Pro over Lightroom. Bibble is MUCH faster and extremely powerful. The ultimate reason why I did NOT choose it was that the version I evaluated (5) refuses to automatically import large panoramas AND contacting support multiple times did not get ANY response.
  • Backups are extremely important to me and my file organization is designed to allow quick, efficient and incremental backups to DVDs which are then distributed in various locations include one in a safe at the bank. As soon as it is no longer possible to buy a computer WIHOUT a Blu-Ray, I will probably go to Blu-Ray.

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