Tatsuhiko Miyagawa's Blog

Photo management madness

August 31, 2012

tl;dr — my photo management workflow is kind of a mess. Need a better way to do this.

I have a following photo shooting gears:

  • Panasonic DMC-GX1 + Leica Summilux f/1.4 25mm. Shoot with RAW
  • Eye-Fi SD card X2
  • For travels, geo tag the photos with gps4cam (optional)
  • For pre-processing the RAW files with DxO Optics Pro
  • Adobe Lightroom 4 to batch edit and publish photos You might have noticed there’s a lot of overwrap that these tools provide me. There are multiple RAW converters, multiple tools that provide wireless sync and geo tagging, etc. And that’s probably what brings some mess in the flow, but anyway, my workflow till very recently has been like this:

  • Take photos. (Of course)
  • Back home. Insert SD card to the computer. Let Eye-Fi synchronize RAW to the Mac mini (1TB external drive)
  • Mount the RAW files drive, run through DxO to produce DNG files in the subfolder
  • Import DNG to Lightroom with “Add” command (do not copy files).
  • Publish to Flickr and Facebook It produces great quality of photos, and this flow leaves me with one canonical place to save RAW file (Mac mini’s external disk) and Lightroom can manage whole lot of images without actually copying them locally (I use Air 13” with 250GB disk, which is not big enough to copy all photos locally) I’ve had a few problems with this setup however:

  • When I’m on a travel for a week or more, I can’t import and publish photos till I get home, because I can’t access the harddrive
  • Editing through Lightroom is a little slow because of downloading DNGs from the network drive. It’s not as painfully slow but there’s certainly a lag
  • DxO produces DNG files with 3 times as big as original. Disk is cheap these days but this leaves 300GB files per year. This has frustrated me enough so that I recently switched to the current workflow:

  • Import photos from Eye-Fi to a local drive (~/Pictures), although keep letting Eye-Fi backup to the Mac mini via Eye-Fi center
  • Run through DxO against local RAW files
  • Import DNG files to Lightroom. Use “Move” command to manage in the local drive
  • Publish all photos to Adobe Revel in addition to hard drive This solves the problem that I can’t import photos on a travel, and Lightroom editing is now much faster because it’s all local. However the DxO file size issue still exists (60MB per file), and I have only partial library inside lightroom, not all of them. Eye-Fi backs up RAW files on Mac mini drive, but the lightroom library have a processed version of DNG files, so these are not identical.

My ideal flow would be:

  • All import/editing is done locally, because of mobility and performance
  • At some point (a few months maybe), I could be able to relocate photos to an archived network drive to save SSD space
  • But without big “Missing files” warnings on Lightroom. Maybe i could do this with:

  • Import photos into Lightroom directly from SD card, with “Copy RAW” options
  • Select photos I want to apply DxO on Lightroom (just to save some time and space), drop them to DxO projects, publish DNG into a sub folder
  • Synchronize folder on Lightroom. I will get duplicate RW2 and DNG for the processed photos
  • Stack these photos with shoot date or manually
  • Publish picked photos to FB/Flickr, and all photos to Revel so that I’ll get everything in Lightroom, including original and edited DNG, and yet I could archive files over the network once the local SSD gets less space. It’s still a lot of work but i will try it.