MY WORKFLOW ON LOCATION
I am a PC user at my home with a heavy duty Quad Core tower as my main Workstation.
Nevertheless, in the summer of 2007, I made the decision to purchase a Macbook as my laptop to take with me on jobs for downloading my images during a job. I also made use of it on a few commercial jobs I had where my Nikon D200 was tethered to it providing real time control and download from the desktop with each shot.
MY research led me to the conclusion that I would be totally satisfied with the plain jane basic White Macbook - and that there was little difference in processing power between that model and the much more expensive Macbook Pro. My son had just purchased a Macbook Pro - and except for the fact that he wanted to do some heavy duty gaming which would require a separate graphics card (as opposed to the macbook dedicated one) - - - there was in fact little if any difference with the applications that I would be using.
So I made the choice to go with the basic Macbook - and have never regretted it. My program of choice on the Macbook, is Lightroom (I have version 1.1). While Lightroom was very limiting when it came to it's manipulation abilities (I use Photoshop CS2 on my workstation), I found it to be superior when it came to organization of my files when importing - - - along with the quick display of thumnails compared to the extremely slow display in PS Bridge (it is designed for a different purpose). Another thing that pleased me about using Lightroom, is that my markers that I apply when editing - transfered in tact to my PC workstation.
So while on location - at the end of each day, I download my cards from the day to my Macbook. I have a very nice Verbatim 15 in 1 card reader where the USB connection is flexible and fits into the back of the reader. I like having the versatility of a card reader such as this, because I do have instruments that I use that use SD cards, my wife has an Olympus weatherproof P&S camera that takes XD cards, and a buddy of mine who sometimes travels to Toronto for a day with me uses a Sony camera with the Stick cards. All of my MiniDV video is captured on the Mac using the Firewire port and IMovie and saved to a 160 Portable self powered Hard Drive that I carry with me.
With Lightroom open, and the Verbatim Card Reader plugged into the side of the Macbook - I "Import Photos from Disk" and in the "Import Photos" Dialogue Box, I select "Copy Photos to a New Location and Import" - - - with the location being a dedicated folder that I have on my computer desktop. I use the original filename at this time and do not apply any Develop settings. What I do apply is my custom Meta Data which includes copyright info. That could be done later, but I just prefer to do it at Import on all files.
Once the files are downloaded to the computer, Lightroom has the folders perfectly organized by date in the left side panel - also showing me how many shots I took that day. Once everything is downloaded, I select "Loup View" so that there is only one image showing at a time (default is "Grid View"). Starting from the beginning, I go through each image and any that I will be keeping, I hit the number "6" to mark it with a Red Label (any color could be used, but I have always use red in Bridge and so find that familiar to me).
Once I have gone through all images and "Labeled" them, I can now enter the "Develop" module and by clicking on the "Red" square at the bottom beside the word "Filters", I am able to narrow the selection down the edited ones that I have previously chosen. Most of my images are cropped and so that is the first step that I proceed with. by clicking on the "Crop Overlay" button. For my documentary work, the first manipulation step that I do with most images is in the "presence" section where I slide the "Clarity" setting to the right most of the way - which defines the images and appears to sharpen them somewhat. For impactful colour, I may also move the Vibrance slider and only the odd time the Saturation slider to the right some. The next most commonly used tools are in the Tone Curve Section - where I adjust the Highlights, Lights, Darks, and Shadows, to taste for each image. Lastly, I like to vignette many edges of images to draw attention and focus to the center, and so do that with the "Lens Vignetting" sliders.
Now that I have my editing and processing completed, it is time to output a usable file for my web display and printing on site. Using the "Export" dialogue box, I output to a "Final Images" folder within my downloads folder on my desktop. At this time I want the unique file names so that files with the same name don't get overwritten. With such an extended job as I have when say in Costa Rica, I use the date at the start of the file name to keep track of my files. The date is followed by the real file name. I save the files as a JPEG at 100% quality. The files are then ready for conversion for my websites and forums, or for printing on site when that is needed.
While there nothing quite like Porta on a PC to convert files for web use, the software tool that I have made good use of with my Macbook is called "ImageWell. While it doesn't have the nice sharpening features of Porta - it does allow bulk resizing and uploading via FTP right to the specific folders on my server (or desktop) where I want them for display. Once I get back home, on my PC workstation I open any files that I want the ultimate post processing quality from and do that in Photoshop. This allows for selective dodging and burning and exact sharpening and printing to a high standard when needed. I will have several of my images from Costa Rica on display this coming May 2009 at the Chapters book store in North London (Fanshaw Park Road) Ontario Canada, so have been working on some from this year already.