I’m often asked about my workflow, particularly when traveling. I do my best to keep it simple and consistent. This leaves me with less room for “user error” and insures that I get my images safely home.

I travel with a 13” MacBook Pro, 2ea LaCie 2Tb hard drives and way too many memory cards. I have a USB 3.0 Lexar card reader, which is faster than the built in card reader on my laptop, and I’m ready to go. Let’s go through each piece first and then I’ll discuss how I move my images around.

My MacBook Pro is loaded with the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom and Photoshop. Using the Creative Cloud version insures that my programs are always up to date. As a side note, I never update my software the first week it comes out, nor do I update it a week before I travel. Glitches and bugs are known to happen, and I’d just as soon avoid them. I also have Macphun’s Luminar loaded. 

I really dig the speed of the LaCie hard drives and the orange bumpers make me feel they are even a bit more secure and protected from getting damaged. They are never in the same travel bag. One gets carried with me, the other goes into my checked in luggage. One drive is marked “original”, and one drive is marked “back up”. I have a lightning drive as well as a USB drive. The lightning drive is marked as the “original” and the USB is the “back up”. 

I have SD cards from 16gb to 128gb. As a rule, I use 2 cards each day. The FujiX system has 2 slots and I generally shoot RAW in the first slot, and some sort of film simulation in the second slot depending upon location and subject. The cards do not have to be the same size nor from the same manufacturer. The larger card should, however, go into slot 1. I’ve never had an issue with slot 2 being half the size of slot 1, and if I used math, I could probably go even smaller on slot 2 without a problem. (Ok, quick math tells me that with uncompressed RAW and Fine JPEG, I can go 3:1).

Here’s how I work. The computer has both hard drives plugged in as well as the card reader. Hard drives are on the left side; card reader is on the right. Lightroom is preset before the trip begins so that the catalog for the trip is on the “original” hard drive. Each trip is its own catalog. The program is set to automatically copy the image to the “back up” drive. The cards to be imported are on my right side. As each card is inserted into the card reader, I try to use at least 7 key words for each image. I remember reading somewhere that 7 is a good number for key wording and I have no reason to doubt that. The images are copied onto the “original” drive, and automatically back up as well. The SD card is then “locked” and placed on the left side of my workstation, face down, in a card-carrying case. This system continues with however many cards I have. Moving them from right to left, and locking and flipping them over, decreases the chances of cards not being loaded in or becoming written over. When I travel, the exposed cards travel separately from the hard drives as well. This gives me 3 copies of each image. I now have one image on each hard drive and the original image on the cards.

I next sort the images by capture time, and then I select all the images. Then, using Command-S, all the key words are written to each image so that when I get home I won’t have to keyword again. 

I do not do much editing on the road, nor do I delete images. However, I will go through my images and hit the “P”, for pick, on anything that instantly strikes my fancy. I am aware that these edits are usually emotional choices based up on what I just photographed. Hardcore decisions wait until I’m home for a few days, or longer, and have had time to mentally process the trip. If I’m impatient while still traveling, which is often, I’ll load a copy of an image into Luminar and make a few quick adjustments. My favorite filters are Top/Bottom lighting and Golden Hour. If I do any editing or selecting on the road, I make sure to use Command-S to keep the information with each image. 

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