My Fuji Processing Workflow update for May 2018
Over the years I’ve covered a lot of different applications and ways of working with Fuji raw files. During the time I’ve been shooting Fuji cameras, I’ve changed and honed the way I edit and process images, and while I continue to do so, I’ve started simplifying things considerably. Whereas before I worked with many different applications, I’m now pretty much just using a few.
So, what am I using now, and what has changed since I last posted this?
For 90 percent of what I do now, I just use Lightroom and Iridient X-Transformer. I now process my images straight off the card in X-Transformer into a folder on my computer, and then import those straight into Lightroom. I don’t really use Capture One that much anymore for Fuji files, although every now and then I will still try something in it if I want to see if I can get different results. I do still use Capture One for other purposes and when working with other cameras, I just don't use it as my primary Fujifilm raw file converter.
The reason for this is simplicity. I was fed up with trying to manage multiple sources and multiple applications. Having everything in Lightroom is just easier, and despite all the complaints people have (including myself) against Lightroom, it still works really well as a hub for both other applications and online services. Nothing else really works the same way as Lightroom’s publishing services.
Another factor has been the improvements in recent versions of Lightroom. Adobe really has addressed a lot of the issues that I was having with performance on my Mac Pro. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that there is a lot of room for improvement, and a lot of what Lightroom does annoys the life out of me. However, in many ways, it’s still easier to put up with its idiosyncrasies than try to use multiple applications and manage the files across different platforms. I found that I was spending more time figuring out how to work with applications and how to organise my files than I was shooting and actually editing, and I had to make a change or I’d go mad.
I find that I’m using Photoshop a lot more too. The fact that the presets and profiles are now unified across the applications is extremely useful, and I don’t mind jumping back and forward between the two. I still use Luminar a lot for additional effects too. Previously I only used it for processing flattened files from Lightroom or Photoshop, but now that the RAW support has improved significantly, I will now often send the RAW file over. I still mostly use it as a plug-in for Lightroom though. I’m still curious to see where the application is heading, and I’ll be interested to try the asset management features that were previously promised if they ever make it into the software.
Incidentally, I personally think that pre-announcing that was a mistake, as they raised expectations very high, and now every release that they put out that doesn’t feature the asset management side upsets a number of people. Many of said people decide to send me hate mail, even though I don’t actually work for Skylum or have any idea as to what they’re doing.
I don’t use Iridient developer anymore at all. In fact, I haven’t even upgraded it to the latest version. I just don’t see the need when x-transformer does the core of what I wanted to do with that software anyway. And while you can probably get better details from Iridient Developer, for me, x-transformer is good enough in this regard. I also always found that it was more difficult to get accurate colours and recover highlights in Developer. The pros of having the flexibility of Lightroom editing outweigh the benefits of using the separate application, for me right now.
As for Affinity Photo, I still use that now and then too, usually when I want to do something quickly, but I don’t really use it for RAW processing. The main reason is that there is no way that I’m aware of to use the develop persona non-destructively. Once you click develop, your edits are baked in. I do still use it for additional processing or for graphics though.
So what does this mean for the blog here going forward? I realise that a lot of people come here because I’ve covered various applications, and I’m still a bit of a computer nerd, so I’ll still cover those things. Unless something new comes out, I’m sticking to Lightroom and X-Transformer for the most part for the bulk of my core Fuji processing, with applications like Luminar and others for additional editing. I will still keep an eye on developments in other applications too. I am working on a guide for using Luminar with Fuji raw files. I’ll also be starting to cover processing Fuji files (and other cameras raw files) on an iPad.
My next Fuji related eBook will be a second edition of the Lightroom guide. Well, sort of. It’s actually going to be a new book with a new title, and it will combine what I’ve previously covered working with Lightroom, as well as the topics from my x-transformer guide and additional content covering the shooting side too. It will also cover Photoshop. It’s being rewritten and reorganised from the ground up so it will be mostly new writing (although some of my older content may get reused - I’m only human) and it will be a larger volume too. It will be more like a full book than the short guides I’ve been recently publishing. It will be a good few months away though, and maybe not until next year. It’s a lot of work writing a book, and I can only do it in downtime because unlike working with a publisher, you don’t get an advance or paid to write while actually writing something when you self-publish.
I'm currently working on a Street Photography book, which isn't strictly Fuji related, and Patreon members are getting to see snippets of that as I write it, and also comment on and give feedback on the project. I'll be getting into the new Fuji book there too, once I have started it (which should be soon).
Anyway, that’s just a quick update. I may well change my mind about everything I’ve just written in the next few months if something else comes out, so in which case you can probably just forget everything I just said! I do try to keep adapting and keep learning, and I try my best to pass that on in whatever way I can but I really do want to try and write more about the art and creativity side of photography too.
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