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Suggestions for Handling 1500 RAW Images per Month

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by hunyuan7, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Please suggest some ideas on how you would process 1,500 RAW images per month. Also, how did you learn how to work with a large number of RAW images?

    I am new to this RAW process and I have started shooting RAW as of late with the intention of learning how to work with RAW images. I have tried fiddling with the bundled Silkypix 3.1 SE and the free download software RAWTherapee, but I am at a lost on how to work with them, especially since I take on average 1,500 RAW images per month.
  2. MikeB

    MikeB Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm also new to RAW, though I am more likely to have a couple hundred shots from a weekend hike, not 1500 a month.

    But based on advice from here and elsewhere, I went with Adobe Lightroom. It's got a number of features designed for professional photographers, and much of the focus is on managing large libraries of photos. There's a nice Library module with tools for sorting and organizing your images. You can quickly do a pass through your shots and flag the keepers and the rejects. You then do another pass and pick out the best of the best, making a collection of the ones that deserve attention. And there's a nice database function, so you can assign keywords for later searching, or even do searches based on metadata (so I could find all waterfalls taken with my Pana 20mm lens over the last year, as an example)

    The develop module then has tools for processing an image, but those processing steps can very easily be applied to a whole series of images. So if you carefully correct the white balance in a single photo, you can quickly apply that same white balance to an entire group that was shot at the same location with the same lighting. There's good management of presets, where a set of settings is saved and applied with very few clicks, which becomes very powerful with you have lots of images.

    And after you've reduced your 1500 images to a processed subset that you're happy with, it's got tools to publish them in a variety of formats. The fact that the images were RAW is mostly hidden from you, the software handles the conversions to other formats only at the end, when you push the images to another medium.

    I'd never really paid attention to this type of software before, but having gotten it, I can see the power in it. I'm a software engineer myself, and I'm rather impressed with the design and functions. Based on my experience with it over the last month or so, it's the type of tool you are probably looking for.

    So I'd say grab the 30 day trial, check out some of the tutorials that show you how to use it, and see if it'll work for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I second that, it doesn't matter if you have 100 or 10,000. LR is quite good at maintaining a catalog. I'm not a pro, but I'm sure pros will also tell you to include relevant keywords as much as you can. And of course the 1-5 ratings, which help you find the photos you want to process more.

    I use a rather basic structure. My root photos folder, then a folder for each project with subfolders for different locations or events. LR can be configured to show you photos in the child folder or not. You can create collections and smart collections, I'm just getting into that.

    It's easy to sort photos by ISO and apply a certain level of NR to that batch, for example. The same works by keyword (or other sorting) to apply any other processing or metadata to a batch.

    Even though Lightroom isn't free or very cheap, sooner or later you'll find the need to switch to it, it'll be easier if you're starting properly.

    All you need to get started is to watch these videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/AdobeLightroom
    • Like Like x 1
  4. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I manually 'sort' photos in folders by year, month and event. If I shot 1500 per month at a constant rate, I'd probably use Lightroom more as it has very good management features, but I prefer the images DxO Optics Pro gives me.

    however, I tend to do an initial 'quick and dirty' sort by simply previewing the files as thumbnails in finder (I'm on a Mac) and deleting obvious OOF shots. Duplicates I check in Lightroom or DxO at 100% to see which is sharpest/has most detail if all else is equal.
  5. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Adobe Lightroom and pressing delete key frequently would help you much :wink: Honestly I don't believe that mentioned thousands of your pictures are good enough for archiving.
  6. Tincam

    Tincam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    Lightroom is awesome, and so easy to use. It's worth the money. The batch processing feature can save you lots of time if you have large groups of identical shots.
  7. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    As suggested, Lightroom is a good place to start.

    My wife and I will easily generate a few thousand raw files in a weekend for a wedding or when shooting wildlife. Most of it is archived after culling, so we tend to keep about 50% of our files.

    We used Irfanview for review and culling, it's very fast and efficient and I can send the good ones directly over to PSE.

    For processing a large number of RAW files to jpeg, most of my raw files are from my Canon DSLR's, so I just use Canon's DPP, but I've also used CaptureOne in the past.
  8. billgreen

    billgreen Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 4, 2012
    Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
    Bill Green
  9. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    If you are using a PC... then Lightroom is your best choice... if you have a Mac you should also consider Aperture.

    I use aperture, and often shoot several hundred shots at a single event. I reckon it takes me less than a leisurely hour to import, cull, select and process my final shots.

    Using LR or Aperture makes working with RAW completley transparent and not complicated at all.

  10. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
  11. TDP

    TDP Guest

    In LR after an import I quickly go through each photo and mark the ones I want to delete then do a group delete.

    Then what is left over I go through and pick the best ones (p key), sort by picks, edit and process. At the end the ones not picked in the second draft get deleted as well.
  12. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Thank you, all.
    It seems Lightroom is unanimous. I use Windows 7.

    Now, for the next question, which Lightroom version? Is 3.x enough or should I get 4.x just because it is the later version?
  13. TDP

    TDP Guest

    I think 4 is the only one you can buy these days.
  14. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Lightroom 4.x is actually cheaper than 3.x, Adobe cut the price by about $100-
  15. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US
    I shoot RAW+

    i try to trash as much as I can.

    if it is not going into my portfolio. or has personal value it is trash.
  16. hunyuan7

    hunyuan7 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
  17. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    Not in features. If you're a student / teacher, eligible for this you can activate it. Otherwise not so much...
  18. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    Workflow is the key. I import the photos when I get home, then delete the awful ones and rank the rest. If it's not too late I'll process the best ones right then, while my I still have the "mind's eye" version of the images still in my head. I usually only process less than 20 per outing.
  19. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Another vote for Lightroom, just imported ~1400 photos from the Olympics (*must* break that motor drive habit at sports events!).

    Having just upgraded to LR4 I'd thoroughly recommend it over LR3, the highlight processing now involves witchcraft! For some reason I'm finding it quicker to get to a pleasing image with 4.
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