Category Archives: Software


Capture One Workflow

I’ve been asked several times to share my Capture One workflow. Everyone has their way of working and mine is by no means a fit for all. Grab your pillow, this subject might just put you to sleep.

I use a tethered session rather than a catalog. The new session is named with the date, job number, and client name. In this case, the session name is Date-Job#-Client. The default location of the Session in Capture One is set in the Pictures folder but I locate the Sessions on the Desktop for quick access and organization. Capture One recommends locating all Sessions in the Shared folder to prevent any problems with permissions. I’ve yet to experience any issues locating files on the Desktop. Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx myself.


My workflow normally requires one computer for capturing and another for organizing and processing. This way I don’t have to wait for my assistant to finish naming and organizing before I can continue to the next shot. The most efficient way to move files between computers is to capture images as an EIP file. This is done in the Capture One Preferences, click the check box “Pack as EIP when capturing.” An EIP (Enhanced Image Package) file format bundles the original Raw file with the image settings like Color Tag, Rating, ICC profile, White Balance, Crop and other metadata. Transferring these EIP files from computer to computer will keep the settings intact and allows them to travel with the image.


Before shooting, I setup the appropriate naming convention. Other settings I use are Copy from Last in the “ICC Profile” and Copy from Clipboard in the “All Other” dialog boxes.


After the first image is captured, I apply my presets for metadata, sharpening, white balance, etc. I copy the image settings to the Clipboard. In the “Adjustment Clipboard” I select everything I want to copy. Now all the information will automatically transfer to the following captures. Each time I make a change as I’m shooting I will copy everything to the clipboard again so all further captures will reflect the new changes.


The next step is to process the files. Capture One has basic recipes but you can create your own according to your needs. Lifestyle shoots often have significantly higher shot count than a product shoot so I include quickly viewable jpgs to accompany the hi-res tifs in a secondary folder. This way, the client can view and select the jpgs and reference the corresponding tifs when they are ready. The Default setting outputs processed files to the root Output folder created at the beginning of the session. This can be customized so that the output files are designated to specific locations. My Recipes include subfolders within the Output folder. Subfolders are a great way to automatically separate the file types like tifs and jpgs or other ways the processed files are best differentiated. Congratulations you made it this far, I stopped for a donut break halfway through.




xScope by Iconfactory is a software tool I use on a daily basis at the studio. It is a gem that others might disregard but I feel is essential in my workflow. Xcope includes various tools that float on your desktop window. One of the key features are the guides. I use the guides to make sure things are squared, leveled, equidistant and parallel when positioning a shot. Above are three screen grabs floating xScope guides on my Capture One screen. The first two show the product off centered, indicated by the pixel numbers between the guides. The third shows the product being centered, proven by the equal pixel numbers.
I also like the ruler. Often, I have to match the position of a previous shot I did. I use the ruler as a free-flowing glorified guide since it can be rotated in any angle and placed anywhere on the screen. Below are two screen grabs to diagram my use. Let’s say the first image is a final shot. Next on the shot list will be the same product but rotated 90 degrees. The best way to match angles is to place the ruler on one side of the first image and then rotate the product accordingly to match the ruler for the second image. Make sure you do not move the ruler, instead move the product little by little until the side lines up with the ruler. The second screen grab below not only shows the ruler matching the side angle but I also brought back the guides to make sure it is centered. I like how all the tools can be used in conjunction with each other.

Aperture Smart Albums

People often ask about our Aperture workflow so I’ve decided to once in a while share little ways in which we work. You can see all my past Aperture posts by clicking on the Aperture category on the right side of the website.


For this post, I wanted talk about smart albums. We use smart albums to pull together images that are spread across different projects. For example, if I wanted to find all the Macworld covers I photographed during 2010 and 2011, I can create a smart album that searches only the years 2010 and 2011 for photos with the keywords “macworld” and “tearsheet-cover” since these assets where originally keyworded during import. We always tag each photo that is imported into the library. This makes it easy to search and separate certain assets.

Blog Now Powered by @posterous


I made the leap and migrated the blog to Posterous (a more robust blog platform). I know what you’re thinking, “it looks the same!” Thanks to Good Dog Design, the Posterous blog looks good and integrates well with my site.

My blog needed updating as it was starting to fall behind in this crazy world of social networking. Now I have a much tighter integration with Facebook and Twitter. My old blog was custom designed, which made it really hard to move my posts over to another blogging service. However, I was able to move over my posts with some tricks to get the photos added. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to transfer any of the comments.

I hope you enjoy the new blog and take advantage of the new features like subscribe and having posts emailed directly to your inbox. You can also follow the site and get notified of new posts.


iPhone book



I was recently interviewed for a book about iPhone photography by Allan Hoffman. When I received a copy of the printed version I was initially excited to flip to my page see how my interview and photos turned out, but I quickly became completely immersed with all the useful and interesting content in the book.

It’s a great resource for anyone interested in using their iPhone as a camera. What I appreciated is how the book covers everything from the creation to the sharing of your photos. One section reminded me about using Flickr, so I decided to try it out to share my iPhone photos:

You can buy the book on Amazon here: (FYI, I have no financial ties to this book.)





iPhone Photo Apps Revisited

If you’re like me, you can never have too many camera apps. I’m always asked what my favorite photo apps are. Here’s a run down on some of my favorite and some that I’m just trying out.


Picture show is my favorite photo app. If I could only have one photo app this would be it. It has so many great customizable effects from very basic to crazy. With PictureShow, you have total control of your the outcome of your image.




This is my seconded favorite app. It has really nice effect and borders. What I don’t like is you can’t import a photo into the app. I put up with this because the app is fast and processes in the background so you can keep taking photos. It also has some nice photo taking tools like a level.




This app excels at changing the color of your photo. It makes the photos look amazing. Another plus for this app is that you can import a photo from your iPhone library. I wish this app had an option for a basic white border and an option to bypass the “lab” developing gimmick. It’s cool the first few times seeing the mixture of chemicals in the darkroom but sometimes you just want the results instantly.



Cross Process

When I need a quick, good looking photo with out having to think about settings I use this app. It’s made by the makers of Shake It Photo.




This app lets you make small posters. Who doesn’t like to make posters. It comes with lots of templates that have customizable text.





Normally I use this app in-conjunction with another app. It has a lot of flare options to choose from.




Not only is this app free, it has great effects and borders. It also has a built in social network just for sharing the photos you take. The one negative, and this is a big one for me, is the files are small. If they add support for full size output, I would use this app much more.




When I first got this app I used it all the time. I still like the results but I don’t like how long the whole process takes. I would use this app much more if I could import photos from the iPhone library. That being said, the results from this app are like no other.



This app was recently redone and much improved. The big feature of this app is that you can take a photo with the focus point and the exposure points separated. It also has nice borders and effects.


Snow in San Francisco, crazy. This app is all about the effects, some unique like this snow effect. It’s not a “Go-to” app. It’s more of a secondary app that you mess with if you want to explore options for your image.


Has a nice collection of camera tools for taking photo and video like a level, split focus and exposure. You can use a photo taken by the app or from the iPhone library to apply effects.


I downloaded it hoping for lots of cool effects but most of them are like a rusted piece of metal superimposed onto the image. I wasn’t very happy with this app and do not plan on using it any further. The 100 cameras can be narrowed down to 10 cameras.


IncrediBooth is made by the same folks as Hipstamatic. The effects are done really well. It only uses the front-facing camera but that’s all I need it for. My kids and I love it. If you prefer to use the back camera, then try Pocketbooth but I don’t think the output is as nice.



Top 10 iPhone Camera Apps

I’m obsessed with camera apps on the iPhone. I love running a photo through different apps and seeing how different they can become. No one camera app works for me. I need several in order to find the one that will work best for that situation. Here’s a list of the top ten camera apps that I keep coming back to.


Here’s the original unaltered photo from the iPhone.




I use Hipstamatic all the time, it’s my number one camera app. I love the very original images it produces. Great borders, color and contrast….what else can I say, I love it.
On the other hand, I do wish I was able to import a photo previously taken.



What makes this camera app great is it’s lack of options, point and shoot at it’s best. When I need a great looking photo fast I use this app. Another nice thing is that you can shoot an image with the app and it also saves an original version of that image in your library.



TiltShift Generator
When I don’t want to drag my 4X5 around, I’ll use this app to produce a similar selective focus effect. The interface on this app is really well done and a pleasure to use.



I love the selection of retro film border in this app. The newest version now lets you turn on borders and effects. This is great when you want to use an photo processed in another program and use a border from lo-mob.



HDR is always fun to play with. TrueHDR does a great job alining the photos and keeping the detail.



What makes this app unique is you can add type to your photos. It’s like sending someone a postcard. The interface is nice and simple to use. It has standard pretest like Lomo and some unique ones like multi exposures.



This app is made by the creators of Hipstamatic. There are endless possibilities for effects, which is why I’m glad you can import a photo. I take a photo with the iPhone camera app then bring my pick into SwankoLabs for processing. Unlike Hipstamatic I can try out different effects on the same photo until I find one I like.



This is another simple and fast camera app. The options are simple, straight forward and render nice results. They also make a desktop app for the Mac which is fun to use.



Panoramic images are awesome and this app is great at stitching everything together. It works best with things at a distance. You can see in the photo below that the car in the foreground didn’t stitch together well.



When just one photo won’t tell the store I use this app. The downside is even when the capture rate is set to slow, it’s still a little too fast for me. I need more time to think about the next photo.


Portfolio update and workflow

We just posted a new portfolio update on our website. Since we like to keep the images fresh and update them often, it is important for our sanity to have a well-organized system.

Aperture is a key part of our workflow. The portfolio, for both print and web, goes through many changes and iterations. Aperture helps visualize how the photos will be arranged for both the online and printed versions.

The first step is to use the “Light Table” feature in Aperture to organize the photos. Light Table allows you to freely drag, drop, crop and re-arrange photos on a gridded table.




Once the order is finalized, we utilize another feature of Aperture and create a “Book” with these images. Book allows us to customize the print size and number of pages. This book is then named with today’s date and becomes our current portfolio live on our website or printed book. As we make edits and additions to the portfolio in the future, we always have the previous versions saved in Aperture which we can reference.




When a printed portfolio is sent to a client the book’s name is added to the client’s name in our contact database. This allows us to track which portfolios a client has seen. We can also go back in Aperture to view all previous versions of the portfolio as needed. It is an easy way to keep a potentially chaotic situation quite manageable.




Billing Work Flow

I’ve always been curious about what work flow people have for billing. I know there are many great programs and online solutions. My work flow is always changing, so I need flexible tools. I prefer software-based solutions rather then web-only based solutions because the software solutions can be integrated with the OS better. I’m often on location and need to be able to access information when I don’t have an internet connection.

I use Blinkbid for my contacts, estimates and invoices.



I use iCal for my calendar along with OX server to host my own iCal server. This allows me to add and edit the calendar from all my computers and from my iPhone. The other thing I’ve found really useful about iCal is keeping track of billing. In the notes area of every job on the calendar I add the date when I invoiced the client and when payment was received. I also add a link to the original email that was sent and attach a copy of the invoice.






During the project I need to keep track of expenses that will help me when invoicing the client. For this I use Evernote. I have a job log in Evernote that my assistant or I can fill out. The great thing about Evernote is that I can edit the job log from my iPhone, web or a desktop client.





When I’m on location I use Scanner Pro on my iPhone to add receipts. Scanner Pro then sends the receipts to Evernote. It makes adding receipts fun and easy.






After everything is billed and payment is received I use Quickbooks to keep track of everything for the accountant.

PDF Creation


I use Apple’s photo program, Aperture, for my photo workflow. Now that I’ve added theabilityto download a PDF of my portfolio from my website, I needed a fast and easy way to make them. Using Aperture’s book layout as acustomlayout program I was able to make the PDF layout just how I wanted. I can add, delete andrearrangepages on the fly. Photos can be changed with a simple drag and drop. After I made the layout, I selected “Print” and then”Save as PDF.” Yet this gave me a file that was about 100 MBway too big for adding to my website. Using “PDF Shrink” I was able to save a PDF compression action as a service. The service is thenavailablevia any program. Now when I save a PDF from Aperture I can select my newcustom websiteaction, producing a file that’s only 8 MB verses 100 MB. Sounds complicated, but it makes a very simple workflow.