The majority of the contents in this guide apply to both StudioPlus Spectra AND myStratus Desktop.
In most cases, instructions referring to "Spectra" also apply to myStratus Desktop.


Home > Digital Workflow > Workflow How To's > Stage 1 - Capturing Images
Stage 1 - Capturing Images

The first step in the Digital Workflow is to import your images and create preview files to be used in Spectra/myStratus. Depending on how you shoot your images, there are a number of options. You can import from a camera card or folder, acquire the images using your own capture software, or use the software's Group Capture feature to import during the shoot.

Capturing from a Camera Card or Folder

Watch the video and/or following these steps to import images from a camera card or folder.

  1. If you use a card reader to bring your images over, or if you create a folder of hi-res JPEGS from your raw files, you can use the Import Images tool to import them into the software. Highlight the session in the Session List on the Workflow hub and click Import Images on the ribbon to begin.

  2. The Import Images tool includes options to copy the images off a card, create previews or low-res JPEG images for presentation in the software, create an archive CD of your images, and add image metadata -- all in one process.

  3. First select the Source of the images. This will automatically be the last folder or drive you imported from. If you use a card reader, it should always point to the card reader drive. You will see the first image in the Image Preview screen. Check Include Subfolders if needed.

  4. Use Magnify to zoom in on the image, Exclude to exclude the displayed image from the import, and Previous and Next to navigate through the images.

  5. The tabs across the top show the different tasks that can be performed during the import process -- Copy Images, Create Previews, Archive Images, and Image Meta Data

  6. Open the Copy Images tab and choose the following:

    • Number of Memory Cards - Select the number of memory cards from the drop-down list, if applicable.

    • Copy To - Check the appropriate boxes to copy the images to the Hi-Res Folder (JPG or TIFF files) and/or the RAW Folder (choose this option if they are proprietary camera raw files). The folder paths will default to the correct subfolder for this session. Select the image file types (by extension) you want to copy into the folders.

    • Rename Options - If you prefer, set up the software batch to rename the files as they are imported. If images have already been imported for this session, Select the option Renumber Files Starting at the Last Image Number Already Imported; this option will pick up the image numbers where the first import left off.


      Images that have a file name with a special character (i.e. @, #, $, &) will not upload to Simply remove the special character from the file name and then the images can be uploaded. Please note that this does not apply to underscores (_) and dashes (-) in file names.

  1. Check the box on the Create Previews tab to have the software create smaller JPG files of your hi-res images. If you have chosen to copy images to your "Hi-Res" folder, previews will be created from these files. If you did not copy images to the "Hi-Res" folder, the software will use images from the "Raw" folder. Note: The Raw file(s) must be a supported raw format in order for the software to create the previews. If you did not copy images at all, previews will be created directly from source file.

    Choose the following options on the Create Previews tab:

    • Previews Folder - The path will default to the "Previews" subfolder for this session (e.g., S:\Images\Previews\).

    • Resize Images - We recommend you check the Resize Previews option and enter a maximum setting of 1000 pixels. Depending on your screen resolution, this could be increased to 1200 pixels.

    • JPEG Compression - We recommend setting Quality to 90-100 and DPI to 72. The only time you should increase the DPI to higher than 72 is if you want to print higher quality proof or contact sheets from the software. In that case do not increase the DPI above 150.

    • Defaults - (optional) Set crop and auto-rotate if needed. This setting will apply to the images within Stratus only. It will not affect the actual image file that gets created.

    • Adjustments - (optional) Choose an image adjustment preset to apply to all the preview images. See also: Adjusting Images in Spectra and myStratus and Perfectly Clear Plug-In

  1. Click the Archive Images tab if you also want the software to automatically create an archive of the images when copying and creating the previews. The following options are available:

    • Include - Select the files to include, Hi-Res, Raw and/or Previews.

    • Summary - Select if you want a summary text file included in the archive. This is a text file with the client and session information.

    • Archive to CD - If you want to burn an archive CD select Archive to CD/DVD and insert your blank CD and prepare for writing, if necessary. You can also write multiple sessions to one CD. So if you have a disk that you had previously archived to, insert it instead. Assign the CD number and select the CD drive.

    • Archive to Folder - If you want to archive images to a different directory on your network, select Archive to Folder. Select the folder on your network.

  1. Open the Image Meta Data tab if you want the software to add metadata keywords to the images as they are imported. The metadata is only added to the preview file's keyword property.

    • Existing Keywords - Choose from keyword categories such as Photographer, Assistant, Session Type, Organization and Graduation Year.

    • Customize the List - Click Edit List to edit your metadata options. Then click Add New Category to create a new category. Click on the new item and type in the name. Click Add New Item to create the keywords for this category. The categories can allow multiple items, or it can be set to only accept one, by using the Allow Multi-Select option.

  2. Once you have selected your settings on each tab, click Import.

  3. The images will now be associated with this session and you will be prompted to Update Session Status.

  4. The Workflow hub will be refreshed to show your images. Right-click on an image to rotate it or delete it. Use the Ctrl and Shift keys to select multiple images.

Capturing Using Camera Software

You can launch your camera software from Spectra/myStratus.

  1. First, go to Maintenance > Preferences > Workstation Preferences > Digital tab select your capture software. See also: Workstation Preferences - Digital

  2. In the software, find the session at the Capture Images stage of the Workflow hub and click Capture Software.  

  3. From your capture software, import your digital images. Make sure you place the developed hi-res images in the "HiRes" subfolder in this session's images folder (e.g., S:\Images\10001\HiRes\). The hi-res files must be standard TIFF or JPG files.

  4. If your camera produces a proprietary RAW file, place those files in the session's "Raw" subfolder (e.g., S:\Images\10001\Raw\).

  5. Convert your raw images to JPEGs. If they're high resolution, save them to the session's "HiRes" subfolder. If they are low resolution, save them to the session's "Previews" subfolder.

  6. If you want the software to create the low-res previews, click Process Images from the Capture screen toolbar and Create Previews.

  7. Now that you have captured the images for this session, click Advance Status to change the status for this session.

Group Capture

NOTE: This feature is available in the Professional and Enterprise versions of both Spectra and myStratus Desktop.

The purpose of the Group Capture feature is to rapidly associate images with your Spectra/myStratus data and then process those images, saving you countless hours of manual processing. The feature is designed to be used when shooting a large number of people, such as at a school, dance, or other organization. However, the feature can also be used when shooting just one client at a time. Refer to the Group Capture topic for more information.

See also

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