As I shoot in RAW, I work a lot in Adobe Bridge and ACR. Most of my PP works (which is not much) are taken care of by ACR. I adjust most of the things in ACR - like, exposure, white balance, crop, colors etc. But, for certain works (like removing blemishes from face or adding some effects), I need to visit PS quite often.
I have a workflow based on Adobe Bridge, which helps me organizing files to great extent without any other software like LightRoom or so. I will share that sometime, but, I recently discovered something new which I like to share with you, friends.
In PS, I work on Adjustment Layers only - in very rare cases I work directly on the main image layer. After my work in PS, I export the file in HQ JPEG, which serves my purpose. But, what hesitates me is to save the PSD file, as it becomes huge - 50mb or so. At the same time, I also do not like to let go the hard work that I put in in Adjustment Layers and masking them out in PS. So, for some images, which 'I' think important, I save the huge PSD files.
Though I know that storage is not expensive now-a-days, but, I personally feel backing up files at online storage destinations are safer. Huge PSD files are difficult to upload at online storages, as you understand.
This is what I do to save PSD files (with all my adjustment layers) in small sizes:
1. I open a JPEG file (edited in ACR) in PSD and work on multiple adjustment layers in PS till I'm satisfied.
2. Then I add a blank layer on the top of the Background layer - normally the main photo layer. (At this stage, you might like to save your PSD file, so that you come back if you make any mistake in this process.) (Check the size of the saved PSD file! It should be around 50MB with a 12MP HQ JPEG image.)
3. Then delete the Background (photo) layer (unlock it to delete, if it's locked). So, at this stage, I have a blank layer and multiple adjustment layers on the top of it.
4. Now I go to Window -> Layer Comps. The Layer Comp pallet opens. I click on the "Create New Layer Comp" icon (looks like a white square) located the bottom panel of that pallet.
5. On the new pop-up window, I give it a name (whatever) and check all boxes saying Visibility, Position and Appearance. I normally keep the comment field blank, but if you wish, you may. The pop-up window gets closed and in the Layer Comp pallet a new Layer Comp with whatever name I gave, appears. I make sure that the new Layer Comp is selected.
So far so good.
6. Next I go to File->Scripts->Layer Comp to File. I select the same destination as my photo file, I select the file type as PSD. Make sure to check "Selected Layer Comps Only". I also check "Include ICC Profile", so that the PSD file will also carry my metadata like keywords etc. I uncheck "Maximize compatibility" - because it just increases the file size and is meant for open PSD files in other applications, which is not my intention.
Now, when I go to my folder and check the size of the PSD file exported with Layer Comps, it's only 1 MB or so!
Well, what does that Layer Comp PSD file do? It just includes the layers with its masks. As they're adjustment layers, most of the pixels of those layers are blank. The masks are in B&W. That's why the file size is so less.
You may also SAVE the same format as a PSD file, but, the file size will be little larger than exporting like this.
Now, how does it help me?
As I export the Layer Comp PSD file to the same folder as my image, I group that with my image file in Bridge. I include the ICC profile, so the also includes the metadata like keywords etc.
At a later date, if I need to work on that PSD file again, I open the PSD file. It opens with layers but without the photo. No big deal. I import the my JPEG photo in the PSD file, and put it below the Adjustment Layers. I get back the same look!
You may save different Layer Comps for different compositions to separate PSD files.
This procedure helps me a lot, because now I can backup my PSD files along with my image files online.
Hope this helps you too!
Thanks & regards...