I have been asked by several newbie press photographers in the last few weeks and months about post capture work flow and compression of images, in readiness for wiring. Whilst Image Compression is dealt with elsewhere in this blog, I shall cover some of my practices for image processing.
I have in several other places on this web site addressed the sizing issues and compression however it would appear that a number of visitors are unable to grasp the basics with having it illustrated with pictures, so here it is, the idiots guide to post capture processing, resizing and compression. It is important to note that my workflow is geared to getting images moving fast, from the CF card to the newspaper’s picture desks. If you are dealing with commercial work, or production of huge high quality prints, you will almost certainly want to introduce additional steps, to deal with noise reduction etc.
I have outlined the way that I work, using the products that I use, if you use something different then you will have to adapt it.
Firstly I use Photoshop CS, for almost everything (except for wiring obviously) whereas a few years ago, I had to use Photoshop for Image treatment and Photo Mechanic for browsing and captioning. However the new browser in CS is very good, and it supports the Canon RAW format (as well as the Nikon NEF format).
I nearly always shoot RAW, with the possible exception being when I know I am going to shoot several hundred frames in a single job. One of the biggest complaints about the Canon browser software (other than it was a bit Fisher Price toy-like) was that it was very slow. The Photoshop CS browser is a substantial improvement and makes to viable to shoot RAW for almost every job.
In fact there are a number of Nikon snappers out there (now) that use CS’ browser and shoot NEF files, and have noticed a massive jump in image quality, and they had the advantage of using Fotostation (which was better than the Canon software). I too have noticed that there is far less degradation of th eimage quality since shooting in RAW and converting, rather than shooting jpeg (which has already been compressed, sometimes substantially, by the camera before you have even seen the image).