Lightroom Workflow

Discussion in 'Develop, Process and Print' started by Martin Carlin, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    Lightroom workflow

    Right in a previous discussion with Brian we were discussing Lightroom and how my workflow works so I thought I would try and explain it fully here.

    This workflow can work for any photographer be they professional or a hobbyist and you can leave steps out if its not what you need.

    I treat all shoots the same and nothing changes in my workflow if I'm shooting a wedding to if I'm shooting my family and personal work.

    Ive recently started shooting film again so with film theres a slightly different approach and to be honest I’m still figuring out the best way to get all the information I want into Lightroom but thats another mater. When I figure something out that I think is efficient I will do a post on that.


    Importing your Images

    on my working drive I create a folder with the name of the Job with a date prefix inside this folder I create a folder for each CF card Ive shot for the particular Job.

    The cards are ingested onto the working drive through a Lexar usb 3 card reader. I also download them to a raid drive for back up. So at the beginning of my workflow I have the images copied to 3 different drives.

    I will then go into Lightroom go to the import dialogue screen.

    I will choose the main folder were I put the images and click show sub folders

    at the top of the screen you have a choice of how to import here I will choose add to catalog (this adds the photos without moving them) As the photos are already where we put them.

    On the right hand column is your file handling preferences here I select

    Build previews 1:1 (i choose this so once you work on the files the previews are already built so when you go into lightroom it doesn't need to build the preview from minimal preview or standard.)

    Smart Previews I always build smart previews. (this allows you to work and edit your files even if your images drive is not connected to your computer.).

    Don't import duplicate Images. I always have this ticked.

    Make a second copy of your Images. I never tick this because at this stage I have 3-4 including the cards copies. you can use this to back your images up to another drive if you are not copying your images at source.

    Add to collection I do not normally use this but it can be useful say if you wanted to show the client a quick slide show in the evening or something.

    You also have a second tab panel underneath

    Apply during import

    Develop settings Again I don't use this but it could be useful to someone. (this will apply your choice of develop presets as it adds them to your catalog.

    Meta Data. Here you can set up your meta data preset with your copyright details and creator details. Click the dropdown tab and select new and fill in all the fields you need then save as a preset Name it and it will appear in the drop down menu from now on.

    Underneath this is a keywords box but before entering any keywords.

    If you are happy with all your settings go to the bottom of the page and theres a

    import preset box Click this and save current settings as a preset and name it.

    Keyword Box. The reason we left this blank is you wouldn't want the same keywords for every shoot. Only put in keywords here that are generic to all the images that you are importing. We will cover Keywording in the library module.

    Thats it press import

    Remember Lightroom is just a catalog of your images it does not import your images into the programme it just stores the data of the images and only applies your changes on exporting a copy of your original file. Its completely non destructive.

    Next week Library Module Selecting your images keywording and culling
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  2. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Good tip about leaving the keywords till after naming the import preset.

    What's wrong with Import as DNG?
  3. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    My workflow is about speed Rob so this is how I import. I actually export at the end of the workflow to DNG. This way I can get through a Wedding shoot completely processed in a few hours roughly 2000 images.
    Then nothing wrong with importing DNG or even importing your cards through Lightroom its just a lot quicker this way and you know exactly were your images are.
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  4. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Martin thank you for this post. Very helpful! Question: Why do you select a preset and name it if every import is unique. Isn't a preset there for the purpose of applying the same settings to another import?
  5. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    The Preset only deals with with the Import so your just pointing lightroom to your files you still have to pick the folder were your images are. The preset just deals with how you import IE what previews you want it to make and your copyright details. That why you leave the Keywords blank because they are individual to it shoot.
    Brian Moore likes this.
  6. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    This is fairly similar to my current workflow. I also copy from cards to a date cascaded directory structure (year:month:specific job - if appropriate). I then import from there into LR but I also copy the files into the catalogue. This is because of the way I backup images.

    For my main laptop I have an external SSD that I keep a copy of the year etc structure (for any given year). I also have a portable RAID that I use to copy the catalogue and its contents. As additional redundancy I have an external TimeMachine backup. I always have these with me. The laptop catalogue is imported periodically (usually one per week) into the main catalogues (one in the UK and one in Germany - it depends where I am) on a MacPro (this gets images from other stuff as well) or an iMAC. This, plus the dated structure is mirrored onto an external RAID (Synology, RAID 6) and this is automatically duplicated, at night, onto a second identical RAID kept in a separate building (this is part of my work system) - there is a similar system in Germany and the UK (although in the UK we have tape backup as well).

    I keep toying with changing this sightly by importing from cards directly into LR and getting LR to create a copy, probably on the external SSD.

    I also use CaptureOne Pro (and of course Photo Pro 6 - and I've flirted with Iridient Developer) and handle the raw files in this in a similar way. Perversely I then export selected and developed files from this as TIFF files into LR - just to keep one catalogue. I have wavered several times about switching to CaptureOne for everything but I do like Nik's processing tools and I'd have to edit in those externally.
  7. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    A' this is makin' ma heed sair!
    Rob MacKillop likes this.
  8. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    So, what do you do Brian? I suspect my workflow will end up closer to yours!
  9. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    PS Heid, not heed!
    Brian Moore and Martin Carlin like this.
  10. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Don't worry, Brian. I keep all my negatives in old shoeboxes under the bed (one in the UK and one in Germany of course!). :)
    Brian Moore and Rob MacKillop like this.
  11. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

  12. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Keep in mind that I'm far from comfortable in this area, but I scan the images into a folder on my hard drive first. (The folder hierarchy is camera name/month & year the images were shot.) Then I import the images to Lr. Then I adjust the images. Then I export them to a sub-folder of the month & year folder. I know I'm doing this in a very crude way.
  13. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    Nothing wrong with that Pete do you keyword and add meta data as well?
  14. John Allen

    John Allen Well-Known Member

    That's what I'm doing and I'm finding it's doesn't make it very easy to find a particular photo unless my memory of when I took it is very good. I used to hate LR, but I'm getting over that, so I'm seriously thinking of using it to catalog my photos. I'm just using it to convert raw files for now. I haven't been using keywords or any other cataloging chores.
  15. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Not often. I rely on putting them into collections. I should though.
  16. John Allen

    John Allen Well-Known Member

    The more I work with Lightroom the more I hate it. :confused: I finally decided to put aside my negative feelings about it so I could give it a fair chance. I've been using it for raw conversions for a little while and although I am still not loving it, I've decided to use it as my primary tool for indexing and converting raw files. Unfortunately, the first thing I've learned is that there doesn't seem to be a way to create a keyword set and then to apply that set to a selected photo or group of photos by just specifying the set. What am I missing? Have I mentioned that I hate LR? LOL!
  17. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    Hi John You can make keyword sets in Lightroom in the Library module in the right hand panel under the Keywording Tab second box down in keywording Is keywords Set if you click on the drop down menu it probably says something like recent keywords it will have a item edit set click that and it will open a menu box and you can fill in the keyword you wish in your set. then save as a preset.
    Now having created your set you can select it from the dropdown menu anytime.
    Adding the set to your images Cmd A selects all images or you can select them individually. you will have to click on each keyword of the set to apply it to all images.

    You can also use the spay can in the tool bar to apply a keyword set to whatever images you require you can either use a keyword set you have created or you can type in as many keywords as you like into the box. Then you just spray what images you want with them keywords. If you option/alt click it will remove them from the images.

    You can also go into your meta data dialogue box and in the keyword fill in what keywords you want when done select all images you want and hit sync meta data.

    Just a few options for ya hope this helps
  18. John Allen

    John Allen Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Martin. I kept struggling with it and figured out a better, but still far from satisfactory way to do it. The way I'm doing it now is to open a folder for import, select all of a certain type and enter a set of keywords for those photos. Then I import only those images. I then go back to that folder and select the next group that will all share the a different set of keywords. And, of course, if they share the same set of higher level keywords as the first set, I still have to type them in again. It's a bit of a hassle, but it's the best method I've found so far. But back to my first complaint. I wonder why I can't just select a group of photos and attach all of the keywords in a set by clicking on the name of the set?
  19. Martin Carlin

    Martin Carlin Active Member

    I may of not explained it to well but what your after can be done John
  20. John Allen

    John Allen Well-Known Member

    I'm still plugging away at it. There seems to be a way to add keywords to another keyword. That might be what I'm looking for. I'll have to try it later.

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