Digital Workflow eBook Updated for Lightroom 4.1 and Photoshop CS6

Photographer Michael Clark ( is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel, and landscape photography. His editorial and corporate clients include National GeographicSports IllustratedOutsideMen's JournalOutdoor PhotographerDigital Photo ProClimbing, Nike, Nikon, Adobe, Patagonia, Pfizer and DuPont to name just a few. He has risked life and limb on a variety of assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, and mountain bikers pushing their sports to the limit in remote locations around the world. His updated eBook: "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: A Professional Photographer's Workflow" is now available, and he has allowed Pictureline to publish a few helpful excerpts from the 409-page eBook which currently sells for $24.99 and can be purchased here


"It is easy to overlook a critical setting. Hence, this section is one of the most important in the entire book. Below is a list of items I routinely check on my camera before heading out on a photo shoot:

  • Make sure image comment is active in the camera with "Copyright 2012" in the EXIF metadata.
  • Check the camera’s date and time—especially when shooting in other time zones and with multiple cameras.
  • Make sure that the camera is set to shoot in the Adobe RGB color space.
  • Make sure file numbering is set for continuous, which is very important to avoid overwriting files.
  • Format all memory cards in the camera so they are all clean and ready to go.
  • Clean the imaging sensor on all cameras to avoid hours on end removing dust spots in the post-processing.
  • Compare camera’s LCD histogram to Photoshop Histogram to establish exposure accuracy and to judge the amount of headroom in the highlights.
  • Test focusing accuracy of all lenses used for an assignment.
  • Set a custom or preset white balance color temperature.
  • Make sure Autofocus is set up correctly.
  • Set camera to shoot only RAW unless JPEG’s are needed, then shoot RAW+JPEG.
  • Double-check camera settings: ISO is at minimum setting for lighting, exposure compensation is at zero, High ISO noise reduction off, sharpening off, Long exposure noise reduction off (unless shooting below a shutter speed of 1⁄2 second), etc.


"In this day and age of eroding copyright status and ever increasing rights-grabbing efforts in the photo industry, protecting our copyright is a never-ending battle. To that end, I use the image comment field in the camera to insert a copyright notice into the metadata of each image. Because Nikon cameras do not have a copyright symbol, my copyright notice generally reads "copyright 2012". This will appear in the EXIF data and is not editable —this way my copyright notice is built into every image and appears in the user comment section of the EXIF data. This does not protect the image completely and it can be removed if one were to copy and paste the image into a new document but it will keep the honest people honest. Most camera manufacturers have a similar image comment section. Check your camera’s user manual to find out how you can embed your copyright information into your cameras EXIF data. For Nikon cameras you will find the Image Comment in the Set Up menu labeled 'Image Comment.'"


"The tendency when you first start to shoot digital is to underexpose to preserve highlights. You should avoid underexposing because of all the reasons we have laid out [in earlier chapters] and also because highlights can be recovered if you are shooting in raw and process your images with Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw or any of the top raw processing software options (except Nikon Capture NX2). If you are shooting in raw mode, overexposing the image or metering as your camera suggests on your subject will serve you much better. This concept is known as "Exposing to the Right" (ETTR), meaning that you shift the histogram as far to the right as possible without blowing out important highlights in the image. This is counterintuitive, and trust me it will take some time to get comfortable with. When using this technique, your images in Lightroom or ACR will look overexposed and washed out. In other words it will look like you really messed up but that is not the case because the contrast, saturation and brightness can be corrected in the raw processing software for optimum image quality. This discussion is why you really want to shoot in raw mode and why you need to understand the entire digital workflow while you are out shooting to obtain the best quality final image."


"The reality is the 'perfect' digital exposure has very tight tolerances, which re- quires that the exposure is accurate to within 1/3 of a stop. For the highest quality digital image in terms of noise and color rendition the exposure is paramount. Shooting raw images is fairly forgiving and you can pull a lot out of an image that was not exposed correctly, but if we are being anal here, getting a perfect exposure takes some serious experimentation and being tethered to a computer greatly aids in finding the correct exposure. Obviously that is not practical or possible all the time but it is something to be aware of. I would advise that you shoot a series of images—download them and process the raw images—then compare the histograms from those images on the back of your camera against those that represent the final worked up images. By doing this, you will get a better understanding of just how much highlight information you can recover—and where the line in the sand of overexposure really is or at least get a feel for it."


"For submitting images to clients, generally images are submitted in Adobe RGB or converted to a custom CMYK profile if the photographer and the printer are savvy with color management. If the images are for use on the Internet, then they should be delivered in sRGB. Sometimes images are also submitted for publication in the Colormatch RGB color space, which is a smaller color space than Adobe RGB but not as small as sRGB. The reason a photographer would submit images in Colormatch RGB is because the colors are a close match to the way they will appear in the CMYK color space. Hence, when the photo buyer views the original Colormatch RGB image file that was submitted next to the final CMYK reproduction they are not disappointed, as can be the case when images are submitted in the much larger Adobe RGB color space. For those of you that print your images in-house, on an inkjet printer, I recommend using the Adobe RGB color space to print your images as some printers can replicate the entire Adobe RGB color gamut."

You can purchase the entire eBook Adobe Lightroom Photoshop: A Professional Photographer's Workflow directly from Michael's website.


Michael Clark on "Defining Success"
Powering Up and Storing Images in the Backcountry
Michael Clark Talks Tahiti Surfing Photography

EbookJune 2012LearningLightroom 4.1Michael clarkPhotographyPhotoshop cs6PicturelineWorkflow