Photo Workflow 2017

Well I haven’t been doing much camera work in 2017 and I’m probably 80% iPhone (thank you X!) and 20% Canon 5D Mark II (yes I know I need to upgrade but with the iPhone being such a big part of it all, I’m confused as to whether to move all the way to medium format and just stop at the Sony A7RIII, talk about first world problems!).

Anyway, the big changes in workflow are:

  1. Move to using Apple iCloud storage. Since they switched to $15/month for an entire family to share 2TB, it is much easier to have (finally!) a photo backup for all our picture takers than to worry about uploading to a Mac every two years or so. This has had a big change in workflow because I now longer need to constantly sync from the iPhone and in many ways, it is easier to sync things into iPhoto.
  2. The Canon 5D Mark II of course has neither location nor accurate time, so I have to correct those and I’m shooting in RAW so it has to happen early in the process.
  3. Lightroom now had HDR and Panoramic modes, but I rarely shoot those anymore since most of the HDR and Panoramas are much more easily done with the iPhone. I don’t really bring the tripod for panoramas at 25MP, so that’s gone.
  4. 99% of the photo consumption is now via phone for the family, so the workflow is optimized for this.

So here is the latest workflow:

  1. Make sure that iCloud Photo Storage is turned on for all the iPhones.
  2. Because iCloud Sharing limits the size of pictures to 4MP, if I need photos from other cameras, I have to Airdrop them. This is actually really fast thanks to Wifi Direct and it incorporates all the photos directly into my Photos timeline which is super convenient.
  3. If I have taken any Canon photos, I now need to integrate them into the timeline, so I pull the RAW and edit them in DxO (now called DxO Photo Lab), I still like the automatic corrections is applies way more than Lightroom. I use these to discards baed shots so I end up with a directory of RAW photos. Now generate JPGs for regular viewing. I normally turn up the JPEG conversion pretty high to 97/100 because disk is basically free.
  4. Now I crank up Lightroom and open it up. I need to do this because I need to make sure the dates and times are correct. Since most of these photos are taken overseas, I’m always forgetting to set the date and time correctly. You fix this in the Library mode choosing Metadata/Capture Time
  5. Now go to the Maps tab and put the photos in the right places in the world.
  6. Finally write the time changes with Metadata/Save Metadata to File

The biggest change then is in organizing things. I haven’t yet committed to iCloud for all photo storage mainly because 2TB isn’t actually enough storage for all my photos and I’ve had crashes in the past with 50K+ photos, so at least for this year I’m still maintaining a disk store. What I will probably do is run this in parallel for a year because I still want the RAW files maintained. So from here it gets a little clunky, but the goal is to publish nice shots to iPhone users with iCloud Photo Sharing.

I don’t have good solution for Android users right now because by default Google Photos doesn’t seem to be installed or enabled on those devices, so right now it is mainly sending them WhatsApp message (which seems to be the most common messaging platform for my friends and family on Android):

  1. Export the iCloud Library photos and the Canon photos put them into a file store using focused jpg/year/year-month/year-month-date hierarchy. I put the raws in a parallel system in raw
  2. Now create a photo album on the hard disk in album/year/year-month-event label. This is work but it means that everything else is an export from here.
  3. For really beautiful photos that are not specific or personal, create a scenes/year directory
  4. These are then manually copied onto the Synology NAS (running right now with RAID10) and then there is GoodSync backup to another Synology NAS running SHR2 (RAID6). Finally there is an offsite backup that runs nightly to Google Drive via the Synology to Google Drive tool. I also manual backup the photos every so often to the tongfamily.com hosting as a final cloud backup.

Now to export into iCloud,

  1. Import the Canon photos into Photos. Then create a shared album and stick them all in there. Someday, if I trust Photos enough, I might just drop the file based storage, but that’s the experiment for 2018.
  2. WhatsApp the other photos to android users.
  3. Take the scenes and publish them on Instagram (which seems to be the photographers medium of choice now). I also usually cross post on Facebook because what the heck might as well give it all to them.