I like sharing some of my workflow with people, because when I was coming up I liked to read all the different types of workflow people used, and I still do. I think everyone needs to find their own process, I know I went through a thousand different processes before I became comfortable with my workflow to the point I knew what I was doing without having to think about it, or worry that something was going to get lost.

Here is my workflow:

1. Copy files to hard drive and backup drive in the appropriate folder. (I have two: Freelance Work and Photo. These folders are separated further into folders like family, vacation in Photo and Newspaper Names in Freelance)

2. I name the folder with a shorthand of my own personal naming convention which was born from the naming conventions of several newspapers with my own personal twist. It starts with the date: YMD-SLUG. The RAW files are then saved in the RAW file in this folder, the other two folders in this folder are EDIT and EMAIL.

3. I organize the images by date/time then rename the images with my extended personal convention: YMD-SLUG-JKL-001. I can’t even begin to talk about how important your naming convention is. It should have an easily remembered and usefully searchable slug, as well as the date and your initials.

4. I process my images, according to what they are to be used for. This is a variation of the basics: file info including general captions, tags, RAW processing, photoshop processing including detailed captions, file size, Save to EDIT.

5. When the EDIT is saved I process the entire folder as a batch, adding my watermark and © info for the EMAIL set.

6. Copy entire folder to backup, burn multiple disks depending on size of shoot.

7. Upload to Photoshelter and notify clients of availability of their images.

Let me talk a little bit about Photoshelter. I have been a member of Photoshelter for almost two years, I think. Maybe longer. I started with the free account, now I have a low tier account because at this point it is really all I need. I use it for transferring files to newspapers and other editorial clients, as well as having private viewing galleries for commercial clients and personal work.

The best part about Photoshelter is the variety. I like that I don’t have to have a big full-blown web presence through Photoshelter, but that in the future, should I need it, it is available to me. When I started freelancing for local papers I needed a reliable way to transfer files, email was not reliable. Photoshelter is reliable, not only that but the caption information is readily available on the screen with the image. When you freelance for community newspapers the pay is not good, this is a huge factor in everything you do, and Photoshelter has an account that fits into that.

The image security is fantastic, and the different types of galleries you can use are great. I have multiple galleries nobody would ever know exist because they are invite only, you must click a link through an emailed invitation in order to see it. Perfect for editorial clients as well as commercial clients and my personal projects.

I can upload images to my archive then split them up in different types of galleries, some public, others password protected and invite only. They offer a perfect range of services, including watermarking and downloading. All completely under my control. So while a watermarked image is displayed on the website, if I release the image for download to someone, the same image is downloaded without that watermark. I do not have to upload two separate images to Photoshelter. Simple. I can control who is allowed to download, how many files and how many times. I can set expiration dates on the galleries, and see who has been downloading the images and when.

I ask my editorial clients to only download the images they will use, as I will bill them for every image downloaded. It makes billing out freelance much easier than getting the newspaper clips and counting images, possibly missing some, and billing that way. I know what they have, and bill accordingly.

Another use for Photoshelter is transferring large files to my commercial photoshop guru’s when I am unable to do the work myself. They can download the original file to work on directly from the site, just like my editorial clients can download their files.

I tell everyone about Photoshelter for all the available options. At the very least you should follow them on twitter: @photoshelter @heygrover and @allen3m or keep an eye on the blog which has phenomenal advice and tips for photogs: Photoshelter Blog. By far Photoshelter is an extremely user-friendly website, with the interests of photographers at heart. They provide (FOR FREE) stellar advice and business tips, and their SEO grading and information is extremely useful for any online photo business.

There’s my advice for workflow and file transfer. Love Photoshelter. I expect my account to grow with my business and look forward to using more and more of the features they have developed.

I have probably forgotten something, as I do when writing about things instead of doing them. This post may get edited, hopefully it is all here.

And an image:

From the house in Conifer where I am living this March:

©2010 Jenn LeBlanc

©2010 Jenn LeBlanc

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