I shoot JPEG and RAW on my 5D Mark II. For the newspaper, JPEG is smaller, faster, and (usually) doesn’t make much difference on newsprint. I switch to RAW when there are different color temperatures in the shot, large dynamic range (or any difficult exposure), or anytime if I know I’ll want more flexibility in post. One could argue (and quite well) that I should shoot exclusively in RAW. Maybe I should. A lot of newspapers and newspaper photogs shoot work only in JPEG for size and speed. For now, it’s still a mix between the two.
I’ve got a Lexar Firewire 800 reader. It’s awesome. I usually use Photo Mechanic’s “Ingest” tool to do batch metadata-ing on the fly.
Photo Mechanic is incredibly good at doing the edit — it’s very fast and has very good keyword support. I use a folder- and filename-based organization system. Folders are named YYMMDD.initials.slug (July 19, 2010 is 100719, for example). This makes them sort correctly in the file system, removing dependence on catalogs and file locking.
Initials maintain easy photog-identification when dealing with multiple photographers (such as at the Emerald).
If I tag images at all in camera, I’ll pull those out first, then go through the rest and tag everything that’s useable. Finally, I’ll sort into three bins. If they’re for the paper, I’ll write cutlines for the ones I’m going to file (this is usually the top color class).
If I shot in JPEG, I’ll copy (never edit the originals!) these selects to a new “edits” folder to do basic adjustments in Camera Raw / Bridge / Photoshop. They then get exported to another subfolder with the edits applied. Those files are then delivered via FTP, email, SmugMug, etc.
If I shot in RAW, I’ll put the edit through Adobe DNG Converter and save them in a subfolder and continue with the above workflow (ACR, Br, Ps) and export to full-quality JPEG or TIFF. After I’m done, I usually delete the DNGs for space, rather than the RAWs, so I always have the pristine originals.
I have two 1 TB LaCie eSATA drives. One is Calvin, one is Hobbes. Calvin is the working copy of the archives. When I write a project off of my laptop to Calvin, I then run the following script. It syncs any changes across the two drives in both directions.
Here’s the little BASH script that syncs the two drives together:
#!/bin/bash echo "Syncing Calvin to Hobbes..." rsync --progress -av --exclude=".*/" /Volumes/Calvin/ /Volumes/Hobbes/ echo "Syncing Hobbes to Calving..." rsync --progress -av --exclude=".*/" /Volumes/Hobbes/ /Volumes/Calvin/
It functions similarly to a mirrored drive setup, except each drive exists perfectly happily by itself. For this reason, I can take Calvin with me into the field or the office, work on the drive, copy files, then come home and sync everything up. This allows physical separation of the drives for additional safety and two copies of the images at all times, except when I’m shooting.
Here’s the order, with where the images are stored during each step:
Shoot. (Images on CF)
Transfer to Macbook Pro. (Images on CF, MBP)
Edit, file, then copy shoot to Calvin (Images on CF, MBP, Calvin)
Sync Calvin and Hobbes (Images on CF, MBP, Calvin, Hobbes)
Format CF. (Images on MBP, Calvin, Hobbes)
Delete from MBP (Images on Calvin, Hobbes)
The images that were uploaded provide another layer of backup, whether an FTP server, email, or SmugMug, but I hesitate to put my full trust in them.
For me, the takeaway is: keep at least two copies at all times. Think about what would happen if right now, your hard drive died forever. It would be sad, but it shouldn’t be tragic. Plan for it. It happens, but that’s not a good excuse for losing important data.