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Thread: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

  1. #1

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    Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Hi everyone,

    Like many, I use Lightroom to organise and edit photos. I've started to wonder if there's a more efficient way to process my images.

    Here's what I do:

    1. Put the memory card in my computer's card reader (a Mac Mini)
    2. In OSX, create a new sub-folder in my "Unprocessed Images" folder, named with date and a description.
    3. In OSX, drag the images from the memory card to the new folder.
    4. Fire up Lightroom.
    5. Create a new Collection Set, named with date and a description.
    6. Create two collections inside the new collection set, named "All Images" and "Picks".
    7. Import the images into the new "All Images" collection within the parent Collection Group.
    8. Add keywords as appropriate.
    9. Go through the images, choosing which ones to work on - flag the potential keepers with three stars.
    10. Use Lightroom's search to select all three star images, and drag them to the "Picks" collection.
    11. Edit the selected pics to taste. Once they are finished, tag them with five stars. NB: not all of the three-star images will end up being finished at this stage; some will be abandoned.
    12. Once I'm done editing, use Lightroom's search to select all the five star images
    13. Batch export the selected images to a newly created folder as JPGs, using the format date_description_number (with Lightroom automatically generating the suffix).


    I tend to take quite a lot of pics in an outing; I can often have a couple of hundred images in the "All Images" collection. The use of the star ratings is an effort to see the wood from the trees - filtering down to a sensible number to work on, and then filtering again to finished edits.

    While typing that lot out (on my phone!) I realised just how many steps that is. What I'm wondering is whether there's an opportunity to streamline some of that, especially at the import stage. For example, do I really need to copy the images into my Mac within the OS, and then import into a LR collection, or can I do that all in one go inside Lightroom?

    All advice welcome! 😀

    Thanks,

    Rich

    Edited to add: it seems the forum doesn't like lists of more than ten items. Weirdly, it worked on preview... maybe a sign I have too many steps in my workflow! 😉

  2. #2
    skitterbug's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Since I'm just learning, I don't have any decent answers to your processing steps but I know that I always save my photos from my photo card using a card reader to a file specifically created for them. My folders are by the year but I don't take as many as you. I want to keep my raw photos unblemished and I back them up to an external hard drive as well. I lost photos in the late 1990s because I didn't do this. And I regret it to this day.

    I'll be interested in the replies to your question! Thanks for asking it!

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Rich,

    I can reduce that workflow a bit but its pretty much the same.

    1. Camera dependent, if it is supported by my version of LR then just import all or I can sort for best of.
    2. If not supported, do a DNG conversion and still follow the import function.
    3. I tend to use FastStone for rating but could also do so using LR.
    4. Edit the selected images.
    5. Either print or send to image viewer to share. I only convert to jpeg if I plan to upload to a forum otherwise I keep in the format I plan to print.

    I tend to skip measuring 3 or 5 stars, I only select the images I want to expend energy editing, I will sometimes go back and add others depending on what editing styles I've picked up along the way, usually it is a noise reduction method that tends to save high ISO captures.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    You don't need to use the search function at all; use Lightroom's filter (shown by the arrow) to select 3-star, and that will bring up all your 3-star images. You can change the filter to make the selection easier; all three star, greater and equal to 3 star or less than or equal to 3 star (or in fact any number of stars you want to use).

    If you downgrade the rating, it will disappear from image you see. Try getting the "keepers" a 4 or 5 star rating and then set the appropriate filter and just work on the ones you want.

    Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by skitterbug View Post
    Since I'm just learning, I don't have any decent answers to your processing steps but I know that I always save my photos from my photo card using a card reader to a file specifically created for them. My folders are by the year but I don't take as many as you. I want to keep my raw photos unblemished and I back them up to an external hard drive as well. I lost photos in the late 1990s because I didn't do this. And I regret it to this day.

    I'll be interested in the replies to your question! Thanks for asking it!
    Thanks. It only occured to me after reading your reply that I forgot to mention a step - the RAW files, as well as living on my disk, are automatically synced to Google Photos as soon as I import them.

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manfred M View Post
    You don't need to use the search function at all; use Lightroom's filter (shown by the arrow) to select 3-star, and that will bring up all your 3-star images. You can change the filter to make the selection easier; all three star, greater and equal to 3 star or less than or equal to 3 star (or in fact any number of stars you want to use).

    If you downgrade the rating, it will disappear from image you see. Try getting the "keepers" a 4 or 5 star rating and then set the appropriate filter and just work on the ones you want.

    Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?
    Ah, sloppy terminology on my part. When I wrote "search", I meant "filter". What you describe is what I do. 😀

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Rich,

    I can reduce that workflow a bit but its pretty much the same.

    1. Camera dependent, if it is supported by my version of LR then just import all or I can sort for best of.
    Just for my understanding, are you saying that you get the image files off the memory card and into your computer directly from within Lightroom? If so, it sounds like I could skip steps 1 to 3 in the list above?

    My camera is supported by Lightroom.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogfrich View Post
    Just for my understanding, are you saying that you get the image files off the memory card and into your computer directly from within Lightroom? If so, it sounds like I could skip steps 1 to 3 in the list above?

    My camera is supported by Lightroom.
    Try the <File> <Import Photos and Video> or <Cmd> <Shft> I

    That lets you import the data from your memory card and on to your computer directly by using Lightroom.


    All that being said, I really not sure of where you are going with your question. Are you looking for a more efficient / effective way to cull images that you have captured?

  9. #9
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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    I don't do steps 5, 6, or 13. I don't see any reason to use collections unless you want to collect things that are not already organized by folder. Since you are creating folders, you can do all the labeling and culling within the folder, without any collections. In most cases, I don't see any reason to store JPEG copies, as LR will create them as one needs them. If I want to upload to a site, I create the JPEG and upload it, but I don't store it locally. (I use Jeffry Friedl's Smugmug plugin to upload my photos, and it doesn't store them locally.) If I use an external editor, I always use TIFF rather than JPEG to avoid data loss, and the edited TIFFs I do store locally.

    So routine is:

    1. Create a new subfolder for the images.
    2. Upload them.
    3. Import them to LR.
    4. Do a first culling.
    5. Synch to an external hard drive (my local backup).
    6. Edit

    I'll often repeat step 5 after serious culling to save space.

    I have LR set to save edits as sidecar (XML files), which means I can re-create a catalog if I have to.

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    1. Using LR I import directly (copy) from the camera into the default of Dated Folders.
    2. Usually, I apply develop settings and some key words during the import. (this slows the import down slightly but not unduly)
    3. As I have GPS tagged the photographs as they are taken I seldom add any location info.
    4. Once imported I add more specific key words to selected images, flag rejected images and set colour label on ones I definitely want to process.
    5. Develop colour labelled images, either individually or in a batch with auto sync on.
    6. Set Rating and add to a collection if required.
    7. Export if required generally using presets but into a specific sub folder.
    8. If important I manually back up photographs and catalog to external drive otherwise it will be backed up at least once a month.
    (I do not delete from memory card until back up done)

    Note: I delete utter failure images but never really do a comprehensive cull. Sometimes a basically rejected image has an element in it that is useful cloning material.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 13th November 2017 at 04:20 AM.

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogfrich View Post
    Just for my understanding, are you saying that you get the image files off the memory card and into your computer directly from within Lightroom? If so, it sounds like I could skip steps 1 to 3 in the list above?

    My camera is supported by Lightroom.
    Yes you can import directly from the card if you like.

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    There is no need to do anything in the OS. You can create any folder etc. within LR. Plus if you get used to doing it all in LR you are less likely to "misplace" files/folders and have to search for them in the OS. As others have said, if you are already separating things by creating a logical hierarchy of folders and adding keywords to metadata then collections don't add much value. One thing that I have found over the years is that if one is going to use keywords it's best to do so during import. Otherwise it's hard to catch up on potentially thousands of photos w/out keywords...

    Shooting RAW and importing directly from camera/card, a relatively simple workflow is as follows. All steps done inside LR.

    1. Create new folder if/as desired(for example for significant shoots I create a folder with the location name). Right click on the new folder and select "import to this folder" from drop down menu.
    2. On left panel select source(i.e. card or camera)
    3. At top of center panel select "copy"
    3. In right panel click "don't import duplicates". This simplifies applying different keywords if necessary to batches of files on the same card.
    4. Also in the right panel "destination" section choose how you want to create/organize any subfolders. For example, on a multi-day vacation I would have created a folder in step one like "2017 fall holiday". Then in the destination panel simply set up to import by date and the desired format. During import LR will create a new subfolder for each date that there are photos. You can always rename/rearrange things later.
    5. Click import.
    6. For a quick first pass at culling photos I simply use the "flagging" i.e. none, select(P key in Windows), or reject(X key). They you can easily "delete all rejected"(I go ahead and delete from disk at this point) and then filter on "flagged" to begin editing/exporting your first pass choices. I do it this way because the stars provide too many choices and I can't stick to a plan. The flags are easy. Though if one were truly disciplined everything that's not rejected should be flagged/selected

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    Re: Lightroom - am I making more work for myself than is necessary?

    Hi Rich,
    I think you may have some ideas now from the good folk below, but here's my workflow -hope it helps and not confuses and not too long
    >>Get your images from the Card <<
    Fire up LR with your last used Catalogue (!) - or make a new one..
    Press "G" to see your Library as a Grid of thumbnails (if not already there)
    Now assuming you have all your panels showing . . . .
    In Bottom of Left Panel click the IMPORT button after inserting your card into Card reader.

    At the top of the LR Import Window Pop-up, ensure COPY is highlighted (Click the word COPY if not)
    On the Left Side under SOURCE, select your Card and then in the centre Grid, either select All Photos or Untick All and select individuals (use shift/click to highlight several and tick one highlighted box to select all that collection)

    Across to the Right panel under File renaming, I select Template "Shoot Name-Sequence
    • I then type in the Shoot name box (eg "WelshHillsLandscapes")
    • I then type in Keywords eg Landscape, Wales, Hills

    Next I set the Destination instructions
    • I choose "Organize by Date" and set the date Format
    • Now choose the Drive and any subfolder you want the Files copied to and LR will make further subfolders based on the Capture dates of the images selected.
    • If you scroll down the Destination panel you will see the new folders highlighted with the number of images to be copied into each.



    At the bottom of the thumbnail window you can save these settings as a Preset for next time but I believe they are sticky anyway so just modify them to taste next time you import.
    Now time to click the IMPORT button and wait for LR to finish.

    >>Sort your Images <<
    LR comes back to Grid View with Previous Imports highlighted under Catalogue in LH Panel and your imported images in the thumbnail panel.

    Now, I dbl Clk to see magnified view and quickly go through pressing "X" on the ones which are obviously bad (eg OOF, shake, bad exposure, wrong Comp etc) - be BRUTAL and QUICK.

    Now back in GRID view , press BackSlash\ key or select Attributes from FilterBar menu and click on the 2 flags one showing a + and one just a clear rectangle (Left and Centre ones), this hides the rejected ones (Delete them later).
    Now go through images again this time pressing "P" on the good ones (!), again be brutal but with a bit more study this time - dont do any Developing yet...use your judgement to see if an image could be developed into a keeper or not.

    Back in Grid again, now on FilterBar/Attributes, unclick the Centre Flag leaving only the Pick (Left flag with a + ) selected.

    You can now do another cull with minimal developing and award 5 stars to the best ones - dont bother with 1,2,3,4 stars you will not use those images - be Decisive.

    Finally you will be back at Grid with Picks showing and you now select >= 5 stars filter to leave you viewing just your best images for further workup - in reality at this point you can delete all the others to avoid distractions or leave them to clutter up your drives as most of us do . .

    For a few hundred photo's this can be accomplished in about an hour or so with practice.

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