Even if you know how to use Lightroom, your workflow may still be a bit chaotic (I know mine is). If you work with a lot of photos at once, Tyler Stalman guides you through his rating system that will help you become faster, better organized and more consistent in culling and editing your images.
For this video, Tyler uses photos from a wedding in Croatia. Weddings are a typical example of shooting hundreds of photos, so it’s ideal to demonstrate Tyler’s workflow.
X and 1 star
First of all, when you import the images to Lightroom, give an X to flag the unusable photos you want to reject. Next, give one star to those you’ll keep. It doesn’t mean you’ll definitely use them, but it just means they’re usable.
Use this rating system to select the best photos from sets of burst shots, but at this point, be forgiving.
Once you’ve rated all the photos that are usable, rate any photo that might be seen by the client by giving it two stars.
3 stars +
At this point, some tough decisions are made. : ) Give three stars to all the photos you’re definitely going to deliver to your clients. This means that you need to decide which photos they will see.
Now, it’s time to select the photos you’ll highlight from the shoot and show them to the client, and these photos should get four stars. And finally, give five stars to the photos you’ll add to your portfolio.
Color and exposure adjustments
Once you’ve selected the photos you’ll keep and show to your clients, here comes the fun part: the editing. In the video, Tyler uses film presets from Mastin Labs to edit his images. He suggests that you don’t use more than one or two presets in order to keep the style consistent.
Once you apply the selected preset to one image, press G to go back to Grid view, filter to only 3-star images, press Ctrl/Cmd + A to select all photos, and then click Sync Settings. Make sure to uncheck the settings that are unique to each image: White Balance, Exposure, Local Adjustments, Lens Corrections, Transform, Spot Removal and Crop. All those things vary across images, and you only want to leave the settings specific to your selected preset.
Tyler points out that using presets on large batches of photos really speeds things up. Once you’ve applied the preset, go to the Grid view and look at all the photos again to see how they match. Then add some minor tweaks to the individual images if you need to.
Crop and straighten
When you’re done with the color and exposure adjustments, go back to all the images again. Straighten those with a crooked horizon and crop the ones you want to crop.
And finally, the export. Tyler’s standard settings include exporting to a specific folder that’s named after the year of the shoot. He created a subfolder with the name of the project. It’s a neat, logical way to keep the folders organized. As for the resizing and resolution settings, it all depends on the client and what you want to do with the images, and of course, it’s totally up to you.
These are only some suggestions to help you get faster, organize your work better and achieve consistent editing over a huge batch of images. You can modify it to your liking, but I hope you’ve picked up some ideas for future use.
Do you have any Lightroom workflow tricks up your sleeve? Feel free to share them in the comments below.