Lightroom: Master Tips for Faster Editing

We all love the end result of post-production, but there aren’t many photographers who truly love the grueling work of the digital workflow. Dumping, culling, selecting, color-correcting, retouching… it’s easy to spend more time in Lightroom than you invested into the shoot itself!images-speeding-up-editing-04-compressor

This week, we were lucky enough to chat with Cole from Cole’s Classroom, who shared some handy, helpful tips for making post-production faster and more fun. If you aren’t using Lightroom yet, grab your first year of Creative Cloud at 20% off, then follow along with Cole below!

Lightroom or Photoshop?

The number one reason to use Lightroom over Photoshop is editing speed and organization.  Photoshop can’t compete in any of those areas. Conversely, there are things that Photoshop can do that Lightroom cannot. When you want editing precision and control – that’s what Photoshop is for.

But keep in mind, Lightroom isn’t just an editing program – it’s an image management system and will keep things nice and tidy for you.

Lightroom works best for:

  • Sorting through your images and picking the keepers (culling)
  • Editing images quickly using presets, or batch editing many photos at once
  • Organizing multiple photo shoots
  • Easily locating previously-taken photos
  • Creating slideshows or designing books/albums

(Pro tip: Using the Lightroom plugin with your ShootProof account also speeds up your workflow. Create ShootProof galleries and albums all within Lightroom!)

images-speeding-up-editing-01-compressorPhoto: Erin Schopf

Advice for Lightroom Newbies

Don’t be afraid! It’s actually a very intuitive program once you get in there and start experimenting. Lightroom is not a “nice to have” program, it’s a “must-have,” so don’t let yourself get intimidated and give up!

Devote a little time to exploration, and don’t be afraid of joining a Lightroom training course if you want to learn quickly. You’ll be editing your next shoots so much faster, you’ll easily recover any time and money invested in training.

Photo: Anne Simone

Cutting Your Workflow in Half

Without a doubt, the easiest way to chop your workflow in half is by using 1-click presets to automate 85-90% of the basic editing. This allows you to focus the bulk of your time on the final 10% of the editing – the finer details that really define a photograph as ‘yours.’

I remember taking 24 hours on average to edit each wedding. That wasn’t fun at all, and it cut into profits big time! Now, I only spend 4 hours editing per wedding. Presets combined with smart batch editing do the trick every time.

(Pro tip: Cole has developed a series of Lightroom presets you can download for FREE!)

images-speeding-up-editing-02-compressorPhoto: Erin Schopf

The Lightroom Trick Most Photographers Aren’t Even Using

Smart Collections in Lightroom are a HUGE time saver anytime you want to quickly pull in a grouping of photos from all different folders. However, Smart Collections are only as “smart” as you make them. They rely on your photographs’ metadata, as well as the keywords or ratings you’ve applied to your images. (Don’t forget to add keywords and ratings to your photos!)

Smart Collections are particularly useful for updating your portfolio. With Smart Collections, I can easily review my favorite wedding images by category (Bride, Ceremony, Reception etc.) and date range, and within seconds it’s all done for me.

(Pro tip: Want to introduce Smart Collections to your bag of tricks? Explore Cole’s FREE detailed tutorial on smart collections now!)

Thanks, Cole, for sharing your Lightroom expertise with our photographers!

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