Top 5 Reasons to Use On1 Photo Raw 2018 in Your Wedding Workflow with Dustin Lucas
During wedding season, I need to feel good about my post-production workflow. That starts with ingesting the files from the memory cards stacked on my desk. Then adding keywords and metadata, culling and sorting images, renaming and tagging images, editing, posting to social media, etc. Revitalizing your workflow is a necessary part of being a photographer. This industry is all about adapt or die. You are probably thinking, OK, tell me something I don’t already know. I am here to get you back on track for the year.
Those who long for Lightroom like myself but have been looking for a better all-in-one solution need to add ON1 Photo RAW 2018 to their arsenal. Why should you switch this close to wedding season? My answer always comes down to time: the time it takes to finish shooting a job, time to fully process edits, time the client wants their images, time I get with my family, time to sleep. I want to keep my processing time at a minimum without my clients seeing a drop in quality.
It all starts with gaining back time because I can access my images immediately with ON1 Photo RAW’s Browse module.
1. Immediate Access to Your Images With Browse
Forget about catalogs, sessions or any other file management or Raw processing software that makes you wait for images to import and build previews. ON1 Photo RAW gives you instant access to your files through the Browse module. For those of you who use Photo Mechanic to cull out images, this feature will come in handy. You want to see the image, zoom in, tag with five stars and move on.
This Browse module removes the lag with large Raw files loading and wait times for previews to render like in Lightroom. One drawback is the ability to prebuild large previews for selecting; this feature in Lightroom would be a much-needed upgrade for a future ON1 Photo RAW version. Not to worry: You can cycle image to image instantly, and a 100% preview loads in less than half a second, even on my laptop.
The Browse module makes your photography ready to preview and edit faster than ever before. If you need support for a complete file management workflow and ingesting directly from your memory cards, check out ON1 Photo RAW 2018.1.1.
2. Better Management for Your Files With Smart Import
Now with ON1 Photo RAW 2018.1.1, you can import files directly from your memory cards or hard drives into a catalog folder or subfolders to better manage your files. While in the Browse module, you can navigate to the menu bar to File < Import to open the Smart Import dialog box. All the right tools are at your fingertips, customizable to fit your needs. When it comes to importing files, you must set a working and backup destination separately. This is key to a failsafe file management workflow. All the essential options to do this are listed under the Destination panel at the top where file handling should live.
Along with designating where your files save, you can choose to Rename, Add Metadata, Apply Develop Presets or Edit Capture Time. Renaming is something I typically do after culling, but here is an option to quickly ingest and rename all in one fell swoop. As many of you have grown accustomed to adding metadata to your images like copyright, keywords, tags and personal info, you can quickly fill in the fields you always use and save a preset for later use. I find this very useful for shooting the same locations or types of events to quickly apply a metadata preset to all images when importing. Along with metadata presets, you can choose develop presets from the Photo Settings panel.
I can also change the Capture Time immediately to get my images properly ordered during import. This option allows you to set a specific date, adjust for time zone changes and set creation date. Much like renaming, this feature becomes useful while culling images between multiple cameras. Being able to sort by Capture Time while browsing images is crucial to choosing the best shot between all cameras through the entire wedding day.
Another massive time saver is the Import Preset option at the bottom of the Import module. This allows you to globally apply all your latest settings for destination, backup, renaming protocol, metadata, develop presets and edit capture time. Once you set universal metadata and settings for every photo you take, this can be a game changer for you. This feature will make things even easier when you enter Browse and Develop later.
3. Simplify Your Editing With Develop and Effects Presets
Like many Lightroom users, I rely heavily on presets to squeeze out as much efficiency as possible for thousands of images. Custom building a develop preset is a great way to do this because you can apply starting settings to all images to begin editing them to a more color-corrected proof level. You can also apply more creative toning effects by saving Develop and Effects. Unlike auto features, which I steer away from because they tend to edit for the histogram, presets can start your images on the right path.
Creating presets could not be easier to set up than applying a few tonal filters like curves, contrast, black-and-white point and structure, tweaking the settings to a medium amount and clicking the save preset button. You can choose to keep Develop and Effects adjustments depending on what settings you’ve applied. These presets can range from simple basic import settings to images that push the envelope. It’s all up to your taste and style.
What I really like about ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is its ability to incorporate the Effects filters because there is so much you can do with any image. For example, I create a simple Matte Warm filter by applying these filters. In the Develop module, I like to add +10 to black point and –10 to whites to flatten the image a touch. Occasionally I drop the contrast slider 10 or 15 points to even out the tonality of the image. For images where the subject is full body or farther from the camera, I throw in some structure for some bite. Turning on some sharpening and lens correction adds a light touch for a more polished image. Now we can dive into some useful Effects filters.
I tend to use the Vintage filter to apply a color tone to the image while simultaneously desaturating and adding grain if I feel the need to push a gritty style. Then I add another Sharpening filter to push the High Pass look to bring attention to the details. With Tone Enhancer, I can control the heavy tonal range, incorporating the basic develop module settings along with a curves option. This becomes increasingly useful for a standardized level of matte tone and adjusting the specific image in Develop. Now we have a nice warming matte-toned preset ready to save.
It’s simple to build off of this and make a black-and-white preset. Add a black-and-white Effects filter and toggle through the different prebuilt options. I love ON1 Photo RAW’s ability to see these options in real time on my image before I click to choose. This saves me time choosing the right fit. Another toning trick is to apply a black-and-white filter and change the blending mode to Luminosity, which can add a simple shift in the image. The time you take to experiment and build presets, the better off you’ll be when it comes to editing large batches of images efficiently.
4. It’s All in the Details With Masking
Whether you are working with Develop local adjustments or Effects filters, you will want to use masking to your advantage. With Local Adjustments, you can easily push the vibrance and details of the sky, and mask out the person and ground even easier than with the Adjustable Gradient tool. Using the gradient requires you to paint out the subject from the mask. Instead, we can double-click the mask to see the different options below.
Color Range is the perfect option for this because the sky is typically blue, so we can select this color to determine our mask’s range. You’ll notice the ground is picking up these blue tones as well, and if your subject is wearing something with a similar color, you’ll have to manually paint them out. Now we can click the View Mask button to see how to eliminate the unwanted areas. Use the Color Range slider first; it has the greatest control, and when we slide it to the left, you’ll see more of the image fall into black, meaning it will be masked out. As we settle with 20, you’ll notice a very distracting halo where the sky and mountains meet.
It’s helpful to understand the Mask tools when we need to feather our mask to remove harsh edges. We can pull out the darker tones by sliding the farthest to the left under levels. This tool allows you to limit the shadows and midtones and highlight tonal ranges in the mask. Now we are ready to apply a prebuild setting like detail, HDR or even a customized preset.
The same goes for Effects filters. You can dial in the details and keep the skin tones smooth. I like to add the Skin Retouching effect and use a combination of Skin Color Range and Mask Color Range to quickly isolate the skin tones. Of course, you will get only so far with the sliders and need to paint out the other areas. Take some time to learn the masking tools so you can quickly navigate to the best tool for the job.
5. Constant Access to Your Images With ON1 Photo for Mobile
I am not a versatile photographer in the mobile market, nor am I overly proficient with social media marketing. The lack of social media postings and mobility is tied to imagery or a lack thereof. If you have content you love, nothing’s stopping you from posting highlights from every event you shoot as a teaser for your client, or just getting new portfolio shots on your website, blog and Instagram.
ON1 Photo for Mobile gives you full syncability with your images on your computer and mobile devices. This allows you to rate, tag and edit photos in real time whenever and wherever you want. For many of us, life gets in the way of work, and that’s OK because you can cull on your iPad. These tags and ratings will sync to your ON1 account. I can’t do that; I have to edit with headphones on and stick to the script.
When it’s wedding season, you’ve got to deliver images to your clients as quickly as possible. Saving a fraction of a second per image could mean the difference between wrapping up a wedding in two hours rather than four. That is huge.