Rodney Campbell's Blog

My Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow…

by on May.15, 2011, under Life, Photography

I’ve used Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as my go to digital image management solution since just before I got my first D-SLR about 18 months ago – it’s uber and I couldn’t do this without it.

I shoot a lot of images and for varied things…

– I’m always keen to hone my skills, learn new things and create beautiful images – I’ll research a style, technique or skill and try to put that to practice and get better if I can – in this regard I’m kind of always taking up and trying new things (photographically) – e.g. Landscapes, Seascapes, Macro, Lighting, Street and so on and I guess painstakingly following those things
– I do however also have a family with three young daughters so wearing another hat I’m always taking shots of my children and the things we’re doing when I can – you don’t plan and setup for this – it’s candid real life
– lastly I’ve also kind of become the unofficial/official photographer at the school my three girls go to – so I’m often photographing events at or for the school – mostly children at the things they do – music, drama, sports events, fundraising events, school functions, excursions, camps and so on – this has certainly increased the scope of the type of shooting I’ll do

The last two above keep me “practiced” in the skills of the everyday shooting, capturing moments and memories and shooting styles I’m not doing in #1 – e.g. portraits (candid – I take literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of these), sports, group shots, performances, etc.

So I take a lot of images – e.g. at a recent fete our school ran I took an all time one day record of over 1,000 images.

So my Lightroom workflow after a shoot consists of….

  • I pretty much keyword everything on or just after import (nothing too fancy – most images might have somewhere between 3 and 8 tags and I generally bulk apply tags)
  • Go through and do Rejects (stuff to delete) [Press SHIFT X to mark the current image as Rejected and auto move on to next image] and some Selects on the first run through after import (and probably add keywords – usually on blocks of images)
  • Go through and decide the selects (I usually just label with a colour rather than Flagging the image – e.g. yellow (Press 7))
  • Bracketed images (e.g. for HDR’s or Pano’s) are Stacked – if I do process the bracket I’ll bring the final image back into Lightroom and into the Stack and that image is moved to the Top of the Stack so it’s the image I see in the Grid view
  • Limit my view to the selects only and then start rating the images – basically 1* is nice, 2* is almost postable (e.g. to the forum/blog), 3* good enough for public viewing, 4* my favourites (I’d print these), 5* saved for the very few exceptional (in my eyes) images and everything else is unrated (0 rating) and just sits in my image library
  • Fine tune and decide what I’m going to PP (usually 2* and above? – however for school photos this isn’t the case since I’m not after what might be technically the best images but rather inclusive photos – e.g. ones which give a broader view of the event, day, children, etc – I try to have as many different children covered from an event even if they aren’t necessarily the best overall images)
  • Post Process the best images
  • If it’s event photos I’ll then create one or more web galleries for the event (straight out of Lightroom) – upload the folder and email the link(s) to relevant people; they will then usually email me and ask for email or print resolution versions of specific images if they want them
  • If it’s family photos I’ll update an existing gallery (I have a gallery per year) and I’ll email my relatives every now and then so they can check out any updates, sometimes I also post some of these to my blog here
  • If it’s my “creative” photography I’ll post to my blog and every now and then I might update my flickr stream with my highest selects [Note: this can also be done automatically out of Lightroom via the Flickr publish component]

In a forthcoming blog post I’ll outline in more detail the sequence of Lightroom adjustments I apply to many of the images I take to the step of post processing.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Juanita

    Thanks for sharing your workflow and pics via your blog.

    I think beginning by rejecting is key. I used to begin by flagging the one I liked, but afterwards, I never got rid of the less good pics.

    I have been thinking of putting one star for pics that I have reviewed but not selected (as very nice or so), to enable me know when I resume my classification process to see which pics have been already classified or not). Otherwise, if I did not finish a selection, I always have a hard time renewing the process.

    Just a quick question. How do you classify the pics you publish to Event/Family/Creative. Do you create specific collections for each to keep track of them, even if some pics are repeated? Do you label them with colours?


  • Rodney.Campbell

    Yeah – I havn’t really nailed this bit down yet. I sort of use colours (rated 6, 7, 8 & 9) to categorise my different “picks” for galleries (sometimes in combination with having a star rating or not). I’ve just started using Collections for events (with subcollections inside).

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