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Your Workflow Won’t Last Forever

I frequently encounter photographers wanting to create a workflow they can use for many years to come. This desire, though understandable, is unrealistic. We live in a time of tremendous change and innovation. New camera models supplant the old within a matter of months, not years. Our favorite software applications are on 18-month product cycles and technologies which exist in labs today will revolutionize photography as we know it. (Earlier this week, I tweeted about a sophisticated fiber that can be used as a lensless camera).

The best advice I can give is to concentrate on which workflow tools and applications best fit your needs right now and in the foreseeable future.

Installed on my computer are specialized applications for merging HDR images or creating color profiles for my monitor and printer. These are used alongside broader-use applications like Lightroom and Photoshop, which I use on a daily basis. Depending upon the needs of a given photo, or project, I’ll select the tool that best serves my needs at the time. I’m certain that the applications I use today, will be very different than the ones I use three or four years from now.

When building your workflow, the most important questions to ask are “does this application fit my needs right now?” And, “If I change my mind, can I migrate my work to my new system?” Ensuring you aren’t locked into a specific image-databasing system, or camera raw vendor is one of the best ways you can avoid getting trapped down the road as the workflow landscape changes.

This way, you can always choose the tools you need for the job at hand, and be able to adapt your workflow as digital photography continues to evolve.


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