Lightroom newbie question - culling for real

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 15,370
Re: Lightroom newbie question - culling for real

My workflow is to set LR to create full size previews when importing images. This can take some time if it is a lot of images so that is a good time to get a cup of coffee and read a good book.

In the Library Module I go view each image as fast as possible. For images I want to reject, such as an accidental shot of my feet or clearly bad images from bursts, I simply hit the letter "X". This sets a reject flag. When finished you use the LR command Photo > Delete Rejected Files. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Cmd+Del or Ctrl+Backspace to do the same thing.

I next make a a pass at 1:1 for the remaining images. This time I am looking critically at focus. If I see something like the near eye in a portrait being out of focus I hit the "X" key again. After this pass I delete the rejected photos again then I am ready to start using the Develop Module to edit the images.

I then make one more pass viewing the entire image and select the images to be edited and give them a one star rating. Comparing image side by side can help making the decision between images from a burst or from similar portrait images, etc. As Adobe says:

Compare photos in the Compare view

  • In the Grid view or the Filmstrip, select two photos and then do one of the following:
    • Click the Compare View icon

      in the toolbar.
    • Choose View > Compare.

After editing I decide on how many stars to give to my edited images. I'm still hopping for a five star image one of these days.

You can display only your JPGs or your RAW files as Zee described.

As far as image names go, it can be done before importing them into LR or within LR.

If you change image names outside of LR after importing images into LR then LR won't know that you have changed the names and can't find them unless you tell them where each and every individual renamed file is located.

For changing image names before importing them into LR I use either the free image viewer/editor FastStone or Bulk Rename Utility.  Both have bulk renaming capabilities.

FastStone Image Viewer - Powerful and Intuitive Photo Viewer, Editor and Batch Converter

FastStone Image Viewer - Beginners Guide (Photo Viewer / Editor) - YouTube

Bulk Rename Utility - Free File Renaming Software

If you decide to stay with LR my recommendation is that you stop wasting storage space on your camera memory card or on your hard disk and shoot only RAW. It is so simple in LR to create JPGs from your edited RAW images that it isn't worth saving them.

Since you are new to LR I'll add my recommendations about workflow in LR. It is a long read but worth it.

The key to working in Lightroom is organization.

The first thing to do is organize how you store images on your hard drives. You also need to have a good cataloging scheme (mine duplicates my image storage scheme), and have an organized way to work in the Develop Module for your images.

Most of us think of the subjects of our images, not the dates we took the images so a subject based file storage scheme makes sense to me. My scheme is based on stacked folders and names with the date as only part of the name for the actual folder that contains the images.

As an example, My Photos>France>Paris>Eiffel Tower 150813 where 150813 would be the date in the YYMMDD format. The Paris folder might also contain other folders such as Eiffel Tower 140602 and Louvre 1508012.

In Lightroom Collection Sets can contain other Collection Sets or simple Collections so I use a stacked Collection Sets & Collections scheme, but of course I don't start with a Collection Set called My Photos, LR itself serves as the top level Collection. The LR Catalog scheme for the above would have a Collection Set Called France, then a Collection Set called Paris and finally a simple Collection called Eiffel Tower 150813, etc. (note I have indicated in parenthesis which is a Collection Set and which is a simple Collection):

France (Collection Set)>Paris (Collection Set)>Eiffel Tower 150813 (Collection) plus Collections for Eiffel Tower 140602 and Louvre 1508012.

Lightroom also lets you make Collections for special purposes. For instance if you wanted to print a book of images from a trip to France, a wedding, etc. you might create a Collection of just the images you want to put into the book. With the new face recognition capability of LR it is also easy to create Collections of people.

The beauty of placing the same image in multiple Collections is that the image is not copied since a Collection is just a list of the addresses of where the images are stored on the hard disk. Very little space is used on your hard disk for the list of addresses when you place the same image in multiple Collections.

You also have the option of renaming your actual image files. One way of naming them might be Louvre 1508012-001 through Louvre 1508012-999. Personally I don't rename my RAW files but I rename and sequentially number the JPGs I Export for use on the web or on a phone or tablet.

Using a top down folder scheme lets me easily find images using image viewer programs such as FastStone or even the OS file explorer. The Collection Scheme does the same in Lightroom.

Adding keywords expands the search capabilities in Lightroom, making it even easier to find a single image or similar images. Key words, for instance, would make it easy to find only the images of the Eiffel Tower taken in 2014 but not in any other year.

Here are some good tutorials on getting started with the Library module of Lightroom. Some of these are for LR 5 but the material is still relevant.

B&H - Tim Grey - Getting Started With Lightroom 5

B&H - Tim Grey - Organizing Photos with Adobe Lightroom - YouTube

B&H - Tim Cooper - Adobe Lightroom: The Library Module, Order from Chaos - YouTube

Martin Evening - The Lightroom catalog: Digital Photography Review

Martin Evening - Lightroom Photo Import: Digital Photography Review

Organization is also important in the Develop Module. The Basic Panel controls are arranged in the top down order in that Adobe thinks is the best order to make adjustments, and it is a very good order to use, but not always the best. The order in which you make adjustments can vary, depending on the image. A good rule to use is to always correct the worst thing first then go back to the top down order.

One of the best editing work flows I have found is the Five Step Tango by Jack Davis.

CreativeLive - Jack Davis - The Five Step Tango Global Optimizing Images in Lightroom - Cost $29

Here is my modified version, but as I said earlier it is necessary to remain flexible in what order you apply changes to your images.

Five Step Tango for Lightroom by Jack Davis with Modifications

  1. X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Camera Calibration and/or WB then Crop. If desired you can adjust the WB & Tint for artistic purposes but I only do this after setting the correct WB using the ColorChecker Passport or a WB card.
  1. Auto - With a bit of tweaking this works about 80% of the time for "normal" images. If you don't like the results just smile and tweak the results or just hit Undo and make the adjustments manually.
  1. Exposure - Adjust this for the mid-tones, not the highlights or shadows.
  1. Check or set the Whites and/or Blacks. You can Auto set Whites and/or Blacks by using Shift plus double clicking Whites and/or Blacks. You can also hold down the Alt (Option) key while moving the sliders - this will display only the pixels that are overexposed or underexposed as appropriate.
  1. Clarity

Shadows

Highlights

It is worth noting that adjusting any of the five exposure controls will have some effect on the other four. If you adjust the Highlights or Shadows after setting the Whites and Blacks you should recheck and tweak the Whites and Blacks if necessary.

  1. Vibrance

Contrast if necessary

  1. HSL - rarely
  1. Creative Sharpening unless the image will be edited in a second program such as Photoshop

Noise Reduction, Noise Nija, etc. - rarely since I shoot mostly at ISO 100 or 200

  1. Lens Corrections (this can be done on import if desired or delayed till this step)
  1. Post-Crop Vignetting or Radial Gradient Filter for Vignetting

Add Grain - rarely

  1. Edit in Photoshop, etc. as needed.

Tim Grey offers an alternative view to that of Jack Davis on developing images plus here is information on other areas of LR. Again, some of these are for LR 5 but the material is still relevant. There is also a fair bit of overlap between some of these but repetition is good for learning.

B&H - Tim Grey - Optimizing Photos in Lightroom - YouTube

B&H - Tim Grey - Optimizing and Sharing Photos With Lightroom 5

B&H - Tim Grey - Real-World Optimization in Lightroom CC 2015

B&H - Robert Rodreguez - Master the Lightroom 5 Print Module

B&H - Tim Grey - Using Lightroom & Photoshop Together

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Living and loving it in Pattaya, Thailand. Canon 5DS R & 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

 Sailor Blue's gear list:Sailor Blue's gear list
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