I am all about speeding up my workflow at the moment! If there’s a way to shave even seconds off my post-production work then I’m going to take it. Of course, maintaining quality in your work is important and I’m not advocating sending out sloppy images and cutting corners. But often, the key is to work smarter, and that involves using the software to its full potential, including any shortcuts and lesser-known techniques that could dramatically improve your productivity at the click of a button. This video from Kevin Raposo shows you 5 of these tips that could potentially be a game-changer in your Lightroom workflow.
Auto stack by capture time:
This is very useful if you’ve been shooting HDR bracketing (depending on your camera brand this is called something different but either HDR or bracketing in the menu). Kevin specifically uses this feature when shooting Real Estate images. When you use the auto-HDR mode in your camera you have 3 images taken in quick succession – a ‘correct’ exposure, an underexposed image and an overexposed image.
When you normally import all of these into Lightroom you have a lot of duplicate images which can take a long time to sort through. Instead, you want to select all of the images in the library panel, right-click on any of the images, and scroll down to stacking, then auto stacking by capture time.
A new window will pop up where you can select the time frame between each stack. Setting this to around 5 seconds should be about the right time frame to group each HDR image together. Now you can press Control-H (Command-H) to auto-generate an HDR image of each of those stacks. Easy peasy!
Match Total Exposures:
Another useful tip is to use the Match Total Exposures function. This feature will literally match the overall exposure of a group of images to make them all look consistent. Kevin says that he found this very useful when he was shooting sports outdoors in changeable weather conditions. It would also be extremely useful if shooting in aperture or shutter priority mode for example when your camera is choosing the other parameters for itself.
Working in the develop panel, select the first image that you want the other exposures to match and get the exposure of that image exactly how you want it. Shift-click to select all the other images that you want to have the same settings and go to the settings menu. Choose ‘match total exposure’ (alt-shift-command-M for the shortcut).
Now there is one caveat here with this feature. The match total exposure feature uses your original camera settings to determine the exposure settings. So if you have shot all the images in manual mode with the exact same settings (ie. doing a timelapse) but the weather has changed and therefore the exposure has changed, then you’re out of luck. This won’t work, unfortunately. This will only work if you are constantly changing your exposure settings.
Create location-based presets:
Why have I never thought of this one? This seems so simple and logical, particularly if you find yourself shooting in the same locations or doing a series of shoots over and over again. You might think that this would be obvious but perhaps I’m a little slow on the uptake! Again for sports or music photographers, this would be ideal.
Kevin goes one step further and suggests using a radial filter preset instead of just using the sliders. This is because you cannot change the intensity or opacity of a preset if it is only using the sliders.
To do this create a radial filter over the entire image and then input the desired exposure in the radial filter sliders. Then to change the intensity you can press alt-click and drag either left or right on the image to reduce or increase the opacity of the settings of every slider at the same time. Very clever!
Admittedly with this, you are limited to adjusting basic settings, but honestly, if I need to do anything much more complicated I will probably be going into Photoshop anyway.
No one loves a wonky horizon right? Unless you’re using the Dutch Angle on purpose! But it can be quite a slow process correcting this if doing it all image by image. Rather than using the angle adjustment under the crop settings, simply head over to the transform tab (it’s called Geometry in the latest update) and choose ‘Level’. You can then apply this to all of your images.
I do love a good batch export! And it’s a total no-brainer, of course, the batch processing is going to speed things up. But you can export multiple presets of file types and sizes (eg. a hi-res version plus web version) at the same time. I almost always deliver multiple size files for my clients to avoid the inevitable late-night phone call asking for XYZ extra size files for this and that purpose. It can be incredibly frustrating having to go back into a completed job and re-export images, so I always over-deliver on this aspect and it usually does the job!
So those are Kevin’s 5 tips for speeding up workflow in Lightroom. He does say that this is particularly useful for large batches of images and time-sensitive shoots where the client needs lots of images very quickly. By delivering the images quicker you actually increase your value as a photographer in the eyes of the client. Now obviously other genres of photography have the luxury of being able to take your time and create works of art for a few select images. This is not when you would need these tips. But for any kind of event work, I would heavily suggest considering adding these ideas to your workflow.