In order to produce the highest quality images it is essential to establish a professional workflow through the complete imaging process from download, through organisation, editing, manipulation and saving the files.
Some downloading software now provides image editing functions through the downloading process, however this is generally less than the best optimised results possible. It is not the best idea to provide image enhancement operations during the download process if quality results are desired.
This has been discussed in our article on organising images. It is recommended that the different versions of the image be saved at various times during the post processing stages.
It is important that the original raw file be archived. This non manipulated file is the original and you may need to return to it at some future point in time.
Working File Format
When converting the original raw file to a working file it is critical to ensure that you do not loose quality through this process. It is essentiol to convert to a non lossy format such as PSD (Photoshop document ) of TIFF format. This is the only way to stop the ongoing destructive process of information within the file. If the file is converted to a JPEG format, each time the file is saved there will be some loss of detail.
If processing the raw files with Photoshop, it is best to make the initial changes through Adobe Camera Raw and then work on the files in 16 bit per channel mode as this will be less destructive to the image.
Edit your images in high bit mode as long as possible to avoid any destructive process to the image. Always use non destructive editing options such as using adjustment layers when you can.
After making all changes to the image in 16 bit per channel non destructive mode, save the image as a base image.
To make specific changes to the image to suit the output cvonvert to 8 bit per channel mode and proceed to make the changes. These will be changes such as color, brightness, contrast and sharpness changes.
When saving this file ensure that you do not save it over any previously saved file.