Simon Griffee
Design consulting, art direction, photography.

Digital Photography Workflow

Published 2017 October 13 ❧ Edited 2023 July 10

Here is my digital photography workflow written quickly in response to a question by a curious person:

  1. Download and install Lightroom or your preferred software on your computer.

  2. Create a Lightroom catalogue on an external drive (or array of drives) that you will hopefully make regular, tested backup copies of. Here is one possible folder structure that along with the file naming below has the benefit of being automatically sorted by date in your native computer file system so you don’t go nuts should Adobe/Lightroom go out of business:

    Archive > Place Name > YYYY > MM-DDtoDD Brief Event Keywords


    Archive > Italy > 2017 > 10-11to13 Rome Street

  3. Configure Lightroom import settings to rename your image files in the following way (and convert them to an open source lossless file format like DNG): FirstTwoLettersOfSurnamePlusFirstLetterOfName-YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS Example: GRS-20171013-135901.dng

  4. Import pictures to the relevant folders you manually create. For example, I imported my street photographs from the other day into Archive > USA > 2017 > 10-03to09 NYC Street Metropolitan

  5. Once you import them, you need to choose the best ones. This is the hard part! I like to mark mine with a combination of stars (most everything gets 0 to 3 stars with a few 4s and the incredibly rare 5s) and colors (yellow for ‘okay’ and ‘stock’, red for ‘good’ and ‘great’, blue for ‘person I know personally or person who I promised to send the picture to’, green or purple for ‘published’). ¶ Then you write keywords, usually at least the first two that come to mind, in the keyword field, and should the picture be a good one, write a title and caption, usually for me the name of the place or person (if a portrait) and the month and year it was taken.

Finally, pick a size to export to for either printing or publishing online and export the file. You can set up different sizes in Lightroom so they are a click away. I have sizes for exporting high resolution print images such as the ones in my book, for Instagram (currently 2048px longest side), and for my notebook (960px).

If you are using a static site generator like Hugo for your photo blog this may be useful.