My New Photo Workflow

07 October 2008

I've been tuning my workflow a bit -- the process of pulling images from the camera, processing, editing, and getting them posted. I still do everything on Linux.

Downloading Images

To start, gthumb started out very helpful -- the first time I plugged in the Nikon D40, it popped right up and offered to pull the images for me. I had been using that for months, but eventually, the whole thumbnailing processing got too slow on particularly large downloads. I didn't need to view the thumbs first, I just need the images, so I wrote my own script to do about the same thing, only faster:


cd ~/photos
DATE=$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S)
mkdir $DATE
cd $DATE
LAST=$(gphoto2 -L | tail -1 | cut -d' ' -f1 | sed 's/#//')
gphoto2 --get-raw-data 2-$LAST --filename %f.%C
ONDISK_COUNT=$(ls | wc -l)
if [ "$ONDISK_COUNT" -eq "$EXPECTED_COUNT" ]; then
    gphoto2 --delete-file 2-$LAST --recurse

This downloads the images to a timestamped directory, and clears the camera for me.

RAW Processing

I open the directory of images in Rawstudio, and quickly rate the images. I mostly just mark the keepers as '1' and occasionally rate higher for images I want to get processing first. I delete anything unrated (discarding 90% of my RAW images).

I make a second pass over the keepers to look for potential deletes, then I get to work processing each image in Rawstudio. I've not figured out an appropriate way to batch my images through RAW processing yet, so I do each individually. I straighten, crop, adjust contrast, exposure, and saturation. After all the images are done, I batch export the JPEGs to another directory.

Rawstudio 1.1 added the ability to automatically copy the RAW metadata to the JPEG EXIF data, so that saves me an entire script which I would often forget to run.

Final Editing

I fire up Gimp on each image, and often apply a GREYCstoration to smooth image noise and almost always apply a small-radius (0.9) unsharp mask (at about 1.10 or so).

I found this great guide to using the tunable parameters of GREYCstoration. Read this, and you'll figure out how it's affecting your image. I play mostly with the Strength, Anisotropy (amount of structure in the image), and sometimes the Noise Scale and Iterations.

I occasionally get into cloning and healing in Gimp.


I shuffle the finished images into a few directories by trips or themes, and upload each directory to my Gallery 2 install using the (From Server) upload. Then I push 1 or 2 of the best images up to Flickr via the basic uploader on the website.


The RAWs remaining RAWS go to the NAS for backup, and I'm usually done with my processing within a few hours of plugging in the camera.

On a gear note, I am starting to think about purchasing a Wacom tablet for editing -- a basic tablet is relatively cheap, and could make some work a lot easier. It's been a while since I've purchased anything.

Filed Under: Photography Computers Linux