Workflow: Working on Images

When you start working on an image you should always keep the original camera file unaltered. Then, if you want to go back to the original to produce a different version, you will be able to. To manage this, I have a separate set of folders for images being worked on, with a folder for each project, and create a copy of the original image in the location where I am going to work on it, leaving the original intact.

When I start working on an image I also rename the file. The camera will have called the image something like P0900123.JPG, which is not a very informative name. Instead I pick a descriptive name, such as Mask (see the example here). Once the image is being worked on in an application, the type of the image will change. Each application has its own format: Photoshop files are .psd, GIMP files are .xcf – it is necessary to save the image in the application's own format because the photo processing application needs to keep track of extra information such as layers, which cannot be stored in the JPEG or RAW formats.

I may have more than one version of the working file as I try different techniques. Again, I use the file name to help – for example, the name Mask-ColourAdjust-01.psd makes it clear what has been done in a particular file and makes it easy to keep track of different versions as the work progresses.

The next stage of the workflow is exporting images next

Back back to the workflow overview