Workflow #4

Published by MJR on May 29th, 2008 in Technique | 10 Comments »







45/2.8 TSE


Apple Computers 

Pocket Wizards and miscellaneous odds and ends. I use Kingston 4 and 8GB cards, Ideally I would be shooting all 4GB cards to make for an easy fit onto DVD. For all my shoots I bring along a black Crumpler 7 Million Dollar home camera bag. I chose that bag because it doesn’t look much like a camera bag and I don’t want to go advertising the fact that I’m walking around with $10,000 wrapped around my neck. 

Out of all the glass mentioned above, the 35/1.4 is my go to lens, used for about 80% of my images, it’s a total utility lens that can be used for many different situations. Next up would be the 50/1.2, there is something so right about the middle distance range that those lenses provide. I only own the 135/2 for when I can’t be physically close enough to shoot with the 35 or 50. Let me show you what I’m talking about…. Below is the 35/1.4 at full aperture on the 5D right up in the brides face. The aesthetic and characteristics of the lens are unparalleled. I’m not a pixel peeper by any means, but this glass is hot.

So, for as hot as the 35/1.4 is, the 50/1.2 is damn close. Let me show you what I mean…. Below is the 50/1.2 on the 5D wide open.

Again, this glass provides something special that even an f/2.8 lens can’t get close to. 


For me this is a tricky subject. I shoot JPG primarily, but only since about two years ago when I swapped my Nikons for the canon 5D. I know the scoffers are saying WTF, but let me tell you, the JPG files that the 5D make are better than any RAW conversion I have done. Maybe you’ve noticed that once you import your files into whatever you import to, they change tone and color slightly. well, once I found out why this was happening I basically stopped shooting RAW. I still do, on occasion shoot in RAW mode but always ask myself why afterward. Just the amount of time I save on imports and not having to convert the files is well worth it to me. I ingest my files into a program called Photo Mechanic. The $150.00 I spent on this program may be the best money I’ve spent on any piece of gear or equipment. It’s just a browsing program I use specifically for editing down fast. It’s easy to organize and get through the files blazingly. I run through the images, tag my keepers and toss the frames that didn’t make the cut. From here I go back through the collection in PM and hit the letter E to send that file to photoshop, I work the file and save it in a subfolder of the folder I’m working in, I name that folder edit. I edit my files using Exposure 2 from Alien Skin and a mixture of home made actions. Because I use Photoshop almost exclusively for editing I have automated almost everything I do in PS with key commands. Above I mentioned I use photoshop almost exclusively, thats because I use LR to organize and import once I’ve finished my edit, I also love the web galleries you can make in LR. Check this one out. LR web gallery.


When the import from the card reader is over, if it’s a really important job I burn DVD’s of every card I shoot and put the discs away labelled in the clients file. From here I back the images up on redundant drives, I make sure the files are in three different places apart from my working drive. I have had great success with Western Digital and Seagate.

As much as I’d like to keep on going, I came down with the flu last night and now the room is starting to spin. I’ll be checking the comments section, so please feel free to ask anything I didn’t cover.


Sean Flanigan |

10 Responses to “Workflow #4”

  1. Michelle Moore Says:

    May 29th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I was waiting for this one :) Lovely read, pretty simple but no one does it like you do. Sean your work is one of a kind. Get better!

  2. Matt Says:

    May 30th, 2008 at 11:56 am

    the 50 and 85 are seriously lethal at mid range… Can’t argue there. And you make a great case for the 35 1.4. I don’t know why but the 35 just doesnt turn me on enough to drop the 16-35. Me and the 16 have history and I could never let go.. It was my first canon lens!’

    So I’m going to shoot jpgs today and see how it goes.. I feel like a bastard doing so but I am curious.



  3. Sean Says:

    May 30th, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks. Still feeling pretty Ill. Not sure it was a lovely read but it’s how I do things.

    i don’t recommend anyone shoot JPG. I do it only for saving time and I like the files straight from the cam. As long as your exposure and WB are on point there isn’t much to worry about. I think for the way you are going, working off the blacks it may do you best to always shoot RAW. Last summer when I was shooting three weddings a weekend and sifting through 11,000 frames from those shoots it all but made sense to not worry about converting the RAWS, just a huge time saver for me. Regarding the 35/1.4, it turns me on enough for the both of us. I wish I cold rock that 16-35 but every time I shoot it I shoot it @ 16, I thought about maybe taping it at 20mm so I couldn’t go wider.

    Anyhow, cheers, and thanks for the comments.

  4. Calvin Sun Says:

    May 31st, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I agree with Michelle, I’ve been a huge fan for a while and have been wondering about your workflow. I know you shoot with a 24/1.4, and I am curious what your thoughts are compare to the 35? Do you feel its a bit too “close” or tight when shooting people?

  5. Sean Says:

    May 31st, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks for commenting. Compared to the 24 the 35 is more versatile, sharper and cleaner. I don’t find it to be too tight for portraits at all, I have found I love it for portraits, it’s great for singles and groups of people. I can praise that 35 all day long the same way matt can pump up the 16-35, which is an incredible lens too. The thing is to find what works best for you and do that. Maybe for you the 24 is the ticket, and if so stick with it if it’s working. On the other hand I’ve really limited myself by going to the 35 or 50 all the time, I could play more with the 85 or 135 but I’m too comfortable in the middle distance space that I’m so accustomed to.



  6. Nick Says:

    June 1st, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Do you arm both your 5D’s with the 50 and 35 and have them on hand to switch between them?

    Seeing how sometimes a 50 could put you in trouble from a focusing distance in a closed space, you’d need a quick change to a 35 sometimes.

    Just curious about how you handle your gear.

    As always, your stuff is incredible man.

  7. phiL Says:

    June 1st, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Oh sorry i put my comment in the wrong post…..

    Sean, i’ve got a technical question about your LR galeries, because i’m using it with a mac too…

    I’ve got just an embarrassing issue. When i create a galery in flash, thz picture appears lighter than original.. I found that it was because the pictures are saved in sRGB profile. I’ve got the same problem when i upload exported pictures on communities like Facebook for example.

    An screen of the issue here :

    The solution i found is to convert the picture on my screen profile, made with an Xrite. Do you had the same issue or never ? I can’t find how to export my galeries without this profile problem….

    Thanx a lot for your feedback about it…


  8. Sean Says:

    June 1st, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    @nick. most of the time I’ve got a 50 on one and the 35 on the other. but another good combo is the 24 and 50, gives a little more range.

    @phiL. i’ve gone through issues like this before but in photoshop. i think the way we solved it was to make sure the images were going to web in Srgb and that icc was applied. hope that helps.


  9. phiL Says:

    June 3rd, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Sean, the profile is applied, or maybe i don’t know how to activate them in LR..
    Anyway, if i export a jpeg in Photoshop, they are in Srg, that’s why, i can’t nderstand….. :(


  10. melissa Says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 9:20 am

    I love the film feel of exposure 2 and use it when I can but have to do a bit of tweaking to get the deeper colours so don’t use it as much as I’d like, not sure if it’s I haven’t figured it out or I want something it doesn’t do..

    it surpises me how many people don’t look at filter programs at all (I use nik efex pro a bit too I love the IR bnw) and use only actions….

    sorting is taking me forever thanks for the photomechanic tip, it may help me sort and back up quicker it’s worth it

    and since I upgraded to the d3 I don’t shoot raw anymore I’m getting straight out of the camera right on over and over and over and I LOVE the speed that allows me.. but I tend to shoot right on exposure all the time, even sometimes when I’m trying not too :)

    cool site