I don't think many photographers understand the importance of having a proper workflow as wildlife and landscape photographers. Just think about it.. I have mentioned only wildlife and landscape photography, as a wildlife photographer you will most likely shoot 6 to 36 frames per second every day during just one trip. To keep record and backups is a huge challenge and I can vouch for that. Rather start your photography career with a proper workflow to avoid later setback's.
My Own Story – 24 external hard drives later!!
I can still remember my own beginner’s class with Danie many moons ago. Danie always ended his classes off, explaining the importance of having a proper workflow and back-up system.
Like many students, I was only interested in getting the shots, and my next trip was always just a few days later. I had time for the back-up part, but never for the workflow part. Lightroom was a scary word and in my mind, my time was always limited. One excuse after another and 24 hard drives later, work from 2008 to 2018, I found myself in a situation where I could no longer find my images; this includes work I have done for clients. I was totally out of control and I waited days looking for images captured during the various trips I have done over the years.
Although I had everything backed up twice on different hard drives, to find an image, I had to go through 24 hard drives first. My time is money and wasted time is entirely unproductive. A day to select a photo, a day to edit, many hours to find a suitable title, and only then could I post it. Not only did this have an impact on my clients, I could also not enter or post pictures on platforms or social media quick enough. It was overwhelming, and I became extremely frustrated. I was out of control!!
A Phone Call From Danie - Changed My Photography World
One morning early last year in November, I received a call from Danie, he asked me to bring my desktop as well as all my hard drives to his office. I don't think I have to explain his reaction to this mess I got myself into! What he had to say, made me realise that I was in BIG trouble.
My desktop and I had to travel to Pretoria every day for weeks on end, through heavy traffic every morning and back home again late afternoons. I had to cancel my December trip, pay Shawn to spend weekends at my place, working until 2:00 to 3:00 every morning, importing 91,089 images into Lightroom. We had to delete duplications, as every trip was backed-up twice on various external hard-drives. This exercise took us a month to import all my images into Lightroom; a further two months for me to star rate the images, (1 star) photos with potential and (X) for the once not working. I had to go through 91,089 images one by one, day by day. I also had to make a promise to Danie, that I will not press my shutter again, until my workflow was sorted out. This took me out of my comfort zone and I really pushed Danie’s patience to its limits.
Although my workflow is finally sorted out, my work is still not done, I still have to tag images, add captions, create folders and select for editing. This means I have to go through every selected image once again.
Correct Titles and Lightroom workflow
- For the first time, I understand the importance of appropriate titles and a proper workflow. Here area few pointers:
- Import all your images by year-month-date, by doing this, you will have access to every trip with a press of a button.
- Title | by naming your image “Leopard” for example and then the appropriateTitle afterwards, you will have access to all images containing the word “Leopard” with a press of a button – this can also be achievedby adding captions, titles and folders.
- Using the correct captions in Lightroom | You will have access to all your images captured in various locations, National parks, specific year and dates of any animal or bird species in your entire workflow - with a press of a button!! How cool is that.
- Tagging | you can share your work on social media instantly, without having to go back to the image again.
- Folders | by keeping animal, bird species, landscapes, travel, or what ever it is you are photographing together in separate folders, will make your life so much easier and it will give you more time to do what you love most! pressing the shutter button of your camera!!
- Presets | you can create a suitable preset and import all your images into Lightroom with all the basic editing already done for you. (eg. exposure, contrast and colour).
It became obvious to me during this exercise, by not starting your photography journey with a good workflow in place....will cost you dearly later on. Unproductive time spend could also stop you from growing as a photographer.
- I would like to make use of this opportunity to once again thank Danie Bester, founder of DPC (digital photography courses) for his patience, time and effort, helping me to sort my workflow out. I really appreciate the fact that you gave up your own time during your own busy schedule, just to help me. I will forever be grateful for your guidance and I owe you big time. Danie once said to me.. At DPC we don't take, we give!! I salute you, Danie! I am proud and Honored to be associated with you and DPC.
- Thank you so much Shawn for your time, patience and assistance in making all of this work! your skills and technical knowledge is remarkable!! YOU ARE A STAR!!