I’m not a professional photographer. But I do take a lot of photographs, and if I’ve learned anything in my time behind a camera, it’s that it helps to learn from the pros.
Two months ago, I had 6,500+ photographs on my hard drive. I had no idea which ones I liked best, when they were taken, or whether they were worth keeping. More worryingly, I had no back up copies of any of them in case of a disaster. In short, my photo organization was a mess.
My photography workflow:
- Download images to ‘Raw files’ folder on desktop
- Create new Lightroom catalogue (or use existing)
- Import photos with generic keywords (rendering 1:1 previews)
- Rate photos 1 or 2 (delete / happy to keep)
- Filter to view 1 star images and remove from Lightroom and hard drive
- Select all 2 star images and review again, marking any up to 3/4 star
- Downgrade any images if required and remove as above
- Batch rename the remaining images and mark as a Red label (unprocessed) or Yellow label (unprocessed part of panorama)
- Process 3/4 images in Lightroom and add proper keywords and captions (with an option to downgrade but remembering to rename if I’ve done so)
- Export processed images, either direct from Lightroom via a plugin to my photography website or to a ‘Processed images’ folder on my desktop (sometimes via Photoshop if needed)
- Change the raw file for exported images to a Green label
- Exit Lightroom, choose to back up catalogue and regularly remove older back ups (I save to my hard drive and to a portable)
- All files are backed up regularly by Apple’s Time Machine (though I do manually if I’ve made a lot of changes)
- 1 star – delete
- 2 star – happy to keep for archive
- 3/4 star – publish on photography website and share (e.g. blog, Twitter, Facebook, 500px)
- 5 star – keep aiming for!
- Red label – unprocessed image
- Yellow label – unprocessed panorama
- Green label – processed and exported
As a result:
I’ve spent 2 months of evenings/weekends choosing and processing photographs (my wife thinks I’m nuts)
- All my photographs and Lightroom catalogues are stored in two places: on my hard drive and a portable hard drive
- I’ve cut images down from 6,500 to 5,200
- All are rated 2, 3, or 4
- All are named consistently with location and date
- I can find any photo very easily
Which may not mean much, but it makes me feel much more organized!
About the Author:
Written by UK mountain and adventure sports photographer, Colin Henderson. I specialize in adventure photography, e.g. people hill walking, backpacking, trekking and mountain biking. Find out more at my website.
The new version (Lightroom 4) was just released:
Like This Article?
Don't Miss The Next One!
Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current: