I know that I said I would be looking at RAW next, but as we already have our first exercise to conduct, and wanting to keep in the flow of my thoughts, I am going to dig a little deeper into the concept of Digital Workflow.

I have written down the workflow that I currently follow when planning a photo shoot, although I have had very little experience in doing this and those photo shoots I have conducted have been very informal affairs.  Looking at this information, I have concluded that the workflow I follow is very basic.

The term Workflow refers to the way that you work with your images, the order in which you perform certain operations and therefore the path that the image takes through the imaging chain.  Your workflow will be partially determined by the devices you use, but as important is the use of software at each stage.  The choices you make will also depend upon a number of other factors, such as the type of output, necessary image quality and image storage requirements.  (Langford, et al 2008, p.229).

From my previous post “A Sequence of Actions” you can see that a photographer’s workflow can be quiet extensive, but as I dig into this further, I find that my original findings are just the icing on the cake and procedures can evolve to become a very complex series of actions and tasks.  For example, my current workflow is as follows:

  1. Pre-check equipment to make sure that everything is clean, charged and included in my bag.
  2. Take my photos.
  3. Return and upload everything into iPhoto.
  4. Back up my images to a Hard Drive, giving the file a name that I find appropriate to the days photographs.
  5. Pick the images I like, discard those I do not.
  6. Tweak those I feel need tweaking.
  7. Print or post online.

And that is it.  Seven points to think about and nothing too fancy or time consuming to play around with!

Now, looking at Freeman’s ‘Planning a workflow, “From Capture to Print”’ (2011, p110) or Steinmueller & Gulbins ‘The Five Phases of the Workflow’, (2010, p.38) each workflow has sixteen and twenty-seven points respectively, although I find Steinmueller & Gulbins’ list is very detailed and if we broke Freeman’s list down further it would probably have the same number of points contained within.  A comparison is below:

pt1 copypt2 copypt3 copy

pt4 copy


* Denotes professional Assignments

The colour system breaks down the five main phases of the digital workflow according to Steinmueler & Bulbins

WOW, this is very detailed, intense stuff!

A visual representation of a workflow, very similar to Freeman’s can be seen below:


Wild, A.  (2012) The digital workflow [Online Image].  Available at: [Accessed 21 January 2013].

In his Advanced Photography handbook, Langford’s workflow has been represented in the form of a flow chart.  It also differs as it includes the use of a flat bed scanner as the primary source of acquiring images, but when it comes down to the bare bones of the detail, the initial workflow is the same as both Freeman and Steinmueller & Gulbins, and can be seen below.

Langfords Workflow

Digital image workflow.  This diagram illustrates some of the different stages that may be included in a workflow.  The options available will depend on software, hardware and imaging application (Langford, et al, 2008).

Of course, like with everything else, over time, as the medium has grown, the Digital Workflow has developed and in some instances become quiet complex, but back in the beginning, when digital photography was becoming popular, a workflow, very similar to my own was classed as the norm and called a closed loop imaging system, although this was more because there were few high-end systems to help process digital imagery.

From the four examples mentioned above, we can see that different photographers see the practice of a digital workflow very differently.  Although, it must be considered that a digital workflow should be governed by the situation we find ourselves in, and from time to time, there will be factors that change our procedures and processes.  However, from the research I have conducted, there will always be the fundamentals to consider:

  1. Capture the image(s)
  2. Upload the image(s)
  3. Save the image(s)
  4. Edit the image(s)
  5. Archive the image(s)



Freeman, M.  (2011) The Digital SLR Handbook.  Revised 3rd Edition.  East Sussex: The Ilex Press Limited. 

Langford, M., et al.  (2008) Langford’s Advanced Photography.  7th Edition.  Oxford: London.

Langford, M., et al.  (2008) ‘Digital imaging workflow, 2008’.  [Table] In  Langford’s Advanced Photography.  7th Edition.  Oxford: London, p.230.

Steinmueller, U., Gulbins, J.  (2010) The Digital Photography Workflow Handbook – From Import to Output.  Heidelberg: Steinmueller Photo.

Wild, A.  (2012) The digital workflow [Online Image].  Available at: [Accessed 21 January 2013].

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