Shave Hours From Your Digital Workload Using These Methods
Batch processing photos – It’s a love/hate thing.
Ever since I learned about batch processing and what it did, I have had mixed feelings about it. Whereas I understand the time-saving benefits that batch processing offers, there have only been a few areas in which I find it most useful until recently.
I have always been a stickler for tweaking, poking and prodding each image to the max which, becomes mighty tedious when processing up to 1,000 images from a wedding, but it is worth it for me.
The reason I do this is because no matter how pushed I am for time, I find it very difficult to “wash over” each image with the same process. Sure, there are times when a batch of 5 or 6 can be automated, but the whole lot? Never!
For me, each photo I take may have minor and barely noticeable differences in white balance, light, shade, colour etc, and needs that personal touch to get it just right.
There may be items or artifacts that I want to remove or clone out, or slight changes made to the alignment that simply cannot be done via the batch processing “process”.
Each image is unique to me and batch processing them may alter some aspects beyond what I am trying to achieve.
Even batch processing a bunch of images to black and white needs to be done separately in my opinion. Each one will have differing tonalities and shades and you run the risk of blowing out the whites or darkening too much in some images if you are not careful.
Also, unlike some photographers, even if I am just giving out proofs to someone, they have to be fully processed. I can’t bear the thought of giving a client sub-standard, batch-processed images and explaining that the final photos will be “much nicer”.
However, there are some times when batch processing can save me so much time without using up too much PC power. These are a few programs I use to speed up my workflow when batch processing certain requirements.
NOTE: If you already know how to do batch processing using these software titles, please spare yourself by not watching and listening to my dulcet, cold-ridden tones : (
I use batch processing in DPP for setting the WB, sharpness, levels and curves for a number of very similar images and converting RAW to JPEG. You can also resize and rename the RAW files whilst converting to JPEGs saving even more time.
This short video below outlines the benefits of batch processing photos within DPP (Canon’s Digital Photo Professional) for the 4 most used actions for my personal workflow:
- General levels, curves, contrast etc
- Convert to JPEG
Batch Processing Photos
ACDSee is a great program for viewing and managing your images. It does have RAW functionality as well as other manipulation functions but I generally leave that to Photoshop and Lightroom.
Any time I open an image for viewing, ACDSee is the default viewer I use and like the ease and speed in which I can scroll through my photos. This next short video simply shows how to rename and resize images quickly…please excuse my poor narration, stuttering and mumbling…I have a bad cold!
Batch Processing Photos
Adobe Photoshop is great for other batch processes that I use for large tasks. I just happen to use it for the following but obviously the possibilities are huge with such a powerful program:
- Adding a watermark to hundreds of web ready images
- Resizing even smaller for fast loading web images
- I once had my screen calibration go completely off-set (possibly due to “little fingers” getting hold of my monitor?) and processed 300 images with very low, washed out contrast and poor colour saturation. A simple action in Photoshop allowed me to sort it out quickly and effectively
You can also use the Actions in Photoshop to batch process special effects, colour conversions and just about anything you wish to do to your images. The following video shows you how to batch resize for web and add a watermark to the resized images.
Batch Processing Photos
Beware: Whilst batch processing can be time saving, it can also have the opposite effect with dire consequences.
I once “batch processed” around 500 original images incorrectly by mis-naming them during a moment of temporary lack of concentration. Without going into too much detail, it meant I had to go back to the original RAW files and rename each one individually to match the images I had already given to a client.
It took a good 4 hours to get back to where I was so I recommend using due care and attention when batch processing original files.
So, I have learned to live with batch processing and am continuously learning new ways in which it can help speed up my workflow. The only way to discover how to batch process is by learning, reading and testing to see what works for you.
One product I simply cannot do without when processing images through Photoshop is MikeD’s Autoloader…you have to check this out!