Lightroom preset or tweak every photo?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
Wordfool Junior Member • Posts: 49
Re: Lightroom preset or tweak every photo?

Presets are fine for getting a general look and feel in a set of similar images, or for correcting specific things like WB for an entire shoot, but I've never shot a series of photos that could not benefit from individual processing in LR and I don't really use presets at all now. Lightroom is not Instagram. It is about so much more than just applying presets and TBH is doesn't take long to get skilled and fast enough that presets are of little use anyway, especially when it comes to localized adjustments.

Myself and almost everyone I know who uses Lightroom has a process that involves culling images to a core set and then culling down further to those you feel worthy of individual attention in LR. It take discipline and experience to be able to cull effectively, but now I probably keep less than 20% of the photos I shoot (I use FastRawViewer to cull, but others swear by Photo Mechanic) and of those there are probably only another 20% that I focus on for any length of time in Lightroom. So for every 100 RAW files I probably end up with fewer than 5 images that I'd deem even close to portfolio worthy (and I consider that a fairly high hit rate).

Obviously the actual numbers will vary based on subject and image requirements, but in general the key to efficient use of LR is to limit the number of images that you spend time processing in the first place. Once you understand LR it's not hard to instantly see what is possible, PP-wise, with a RAW file straight out of camera and which RAW files you should not even bother with. And of course with LR your edits are never permanent anyway. I often go back and start from scratch with a previously-processed image months later if I decide I want a different look or could do better.

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