This is all about workflow; you know… how you get your photos from your camera to that beautiful, amazing killer 30×40 framed jaw-dropping masterpiece hanging over your living room sofa. I know you want to, don’t deny it. So lets see what it takes and in the process I’ll share with you some of my secrets for making it pretty darn easy.
But first… we have to get serious and think about organization even before we start. Bummer. I know. But lets get it out of the way so we can move on to the creative stuff we all love to do.
Lightroom is both a file management system and a photo editor. The only problem is that you can’t really use it as an editor until you understand how it manages files. If you are like me, you probably loaded Lightroom on your computer and started playing around. How’d that work for you? Not so good, right?
Best we take a moment and think a little about making sure that whatever system we set up can last us into the next decade. So lets start with file management.
Basic photo organizing for most people means storing photos by date. An alternative is to store photos by “place” or “event.” Either one is fine. If you’ve been consistent, you have a great place to start. Even if you haven’t there’s still hope for you too.
Recently I worked with a professional portrait photographer who organized by client name. That works fine so let’s start with your hard drive and group images together by any means you want but you will need this as a start. Go ahead and do that before you go any further since it may be the most important part of getting Lightroom to work for you. Back so quick? Good. Lets launch Lightroom and start setting it up before we go any further.
From the Lightroom menu, go to preferences, file handling. The first selection is “File Extension”
Then go to the top of the Preferences window and chose “External Editing.” On that menu choose your file format as “TIFF” (for the best quality images when you edit in Photoshop NOT RGB) and then select “Resolution” to be “240” if it’s not already set. If you see anything else you want to change, now’s good time to do that too. There are many more settings which I suggest you read about but for now, this will get you started and it won’t limit you later.
Now you are ready to start.
Notice that you are now in the Library module and you will see your photos. From here, I would recommend clicking each one and entering a specific keyword so each photo has a unique identifier. You can also choose a group of photos by clicking one and then holding down the
So, lets review:
If you are still with me, then I want to acknowledge your hard work to get to this point, you are almost ready to start editing. You’re so close to that killer mural now, you can almost smell it. Well, hopefully not, bad imagery really.
In the “develop” module you are non-destructively editing your photos. What that means is that you are making changes to the photo’s appearance but the underlying image is never altered. This is called “vector based editing” and it simply means that you are storing the instructions for how you want your photo changed as a set of commands. Using “Raster based” editing you are changing the actual image bit by bit and when you hit “save’ Photoshop stores this file as a new image.
Vector based editing programs like Lightroom had two big advantages;
The next step is to adjust your photos the way you want. As soon as you switch over from “Library” to “Develop,” you’ve gone from looking at a grid of photos to the one single photo highlighted when you were in “Library”
Editing is a whole nuther lesson so lets skip that for now, since this is about work flow.
As before, when you were importing your photos from your hard drive, you will use the “Import” button to get them into Lightroom, but now a new selection opens on the right side of the screen called “Destination” and this is where you get to decide where your photos go that are on your camera’s memory card.
Make sure you click “Into Subfolder” and you can assign a name or let Lightroom organize by date, you will see that selection below. You’ve done it! Congratulations. If you had followed this outline on how to get set up and move your photos from your hard drive into Lightroom, then successfully imported your images from your camera to Lightroom, it’s all down hill from here.
Of course, now that you have your library filled with new photos, go get your iPad, a comfortable chair in the living room and start visiting with your new images in Mosaic View, how cool is that! For a more complex view of file management and workflow, take a peek at my tutorial for working in the field with a MacBook and multiple drives for redundant file backup.
You’ve done it! Congratulations. If you had followed this outline on how to get set up and move your photos from your hard drive into Lightroom, then successfully imported your images from your camera to Lightroom, it’s all down hill from here.
Of course, now that you have your library filled with new photos, go get your iPad, a comfortable chair in the living room and start visiting with your new images in Mosaic View, how cool is that!
For a more complex view of file management and workflow, take a peek at my tutorial for working in the field with a MacBook and multiple drives for redundant file backup.