Magazine Article


Digital Focus



Katie, bar the doors, digital is here to stay! But what about the changes in workflow, presentation tools, and archiving images? Digital workflow doesn't have to be work, as its name implies. It simply means being well organized, having a workflow plan, and following it through.

A Plan of Attack

Most larger businesses have an S.O.P.standard operating procedureyet many small studio owners neglect to write or follow such a plan, opting instead to wing it. It doesn't take much time to sit down and put in writing all your processes and then follow them for greater productivity. Here's a look at our studio procedures:

1. The first thing our studio does is create a directory on our main computer's hard drive with the client's name. In that directory we create two more: "High Res" and "Titles." In the "High Res" folder we create one named "Low Res."

2. Then we download our CompactFlash cards to the High Res folder and open Breeze Browsera great little utility program geared mainly toward Canon digital shooterswith the capability of converting the Canon Raw file format into Tiff files. (We shoot in high-res JPG format instead of RAW, but that's another discussion.) Here we can rotate images, delete duplicate or unfavorable shots, and edit a few images by directly launching Photoshop.

3. We'll edit down to 600 or more images and create a few duplicates with subtle effects like sepia tone or selective tinting. Next, we do a batch rename starting with the number 1001, which typically takes three to four hours.

4. We generally shoot a roll of 35mm film in our Canon EOS-1N to take advantage of the 15mm fisheye's barrel distortion, and send that roll out to a local lab for processing and scanning. Then it's copied into the Titles folder in the client's directory. Again we use Breeze Browser to rotate and batch rename, starting with 4001, our code for film capture. This step takes five minutes.

5. We add our title slides2000-2004for our logo, music credit, starting slide, beginning and ending leadersto the Titles folder for the slide show; import the digital files into ProShots from the client's High Res folder, create the proof images, then put them into the Low-Res folder, and add the files from the Titles folder as title slides.

6. We load the light table, move all images into the "All" group, and sort in the order we want for the presentation, which takes two to three hours. We burn two copies of the High Res files to CDs while we work on the album design in ProShots, storing one at the studio for convenience, the other offsite for security. It can take three to four hours to do a layout and print up a storyboard for our clients.

7. We spend a couple of hours with our clients reviewing the images, then give them the album printout and a CD to take home and make any changes they want. Once we make those changes, we order the prints from Miller's Professional Imaging and the album from Art Leather. It takes us two hours to assemble and ship.

8. When an order's complete, we delete it from our PC's hard drive to free up space for the next event.

It's truly a great time to be in the photo industry, if we're willing to make the necessary changes to take full advantage of all the new opportunities.

Grant and Linda Oakes operate a portrait/ wedding studio in Aurora, Colorado, and conduct workshops to help photographers make the transition to digital. For further information, visit