Raw files are nondestructive edited.
the applied corrections you see in your screen are just “previews” not actually applied on the file.
The export file, DNG,Tiff,Jpeg will be rendered and “developed” to your applied settings not the rawfile.
When you open a jpeg or a Tiff it is “destructive” when you save to the same filename. If you saving it as original_developed.jpeg or tiff it 's a not destructive to your original file.(the dopfile is holding the editing actions not your sourcefile)
The route you choose to edit is totally up to you in a way that you like to do.
(as long as you don’t override source jpeg’s and dng’s and tiff’s it’s not a problem when something got haywired, trow away the exported file and start over.
you can make your own export settings with a _suffix to a export folder or original folder.
My advise keep developed image’s away from your source folders and you can’t make mistakes throwing the wrong image’s away.
There is no need for a certain order from a technical point of view because DPL applies your changes in an order that probably differs from the one you used when you made your changes.
When I customize images, my first steps are
Everything else follows according to what I intend to make out of that shot.
I don’t particularly care for sharpness (no image is in a museum because it is sharp) and the same goes for noise reduction, again depending on what I intend to make out of that shot.
Check out this to see what I mean. You can download the original files at the upper end of the post and my sidecars, they were written by the Mac version of DPL4.
Update: Check out this page for another sequence of developing steps.
Thank you all for weighing in here with your helpful observations and suggestions. I’ll take a look at taking the Distortion, Vignetting, Lens Sharpening, Chromatic Aberration, Denoising/Demosaicing, Export to DNG route. It sounds very promising.
And good to know that after that the order in which I apply any changes is really down to personal preferences.