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4 Secrets to a Faster Lightroom Workflow

As much as I love photography and Lightroom, I don’t want to spend endless hours editing there.  I am a busy mom and my time is valuable. Today I want to share with you 4 secrets I have discovered for speeding up my photo editing workflow in Lightroom.

1.  Pick your Favorites First!  

The VERY FIRST thing I do after I shoot a session is come home and pick my favorites.  For a typical family portrait or engagement session, I am looking for 25-40 favorite images (depending on the session) that I will show to my client.  When I find a favorite I use a star rating or a flag to let Lightroom know it is a favorite!  I spend about 15 minutes picking my favorites from a session.


  • 2.  Use Collections! 

  • Once I have picked my favorites, the first thing I do is create a Collection of those photos.  Collections have so many advantages over folders in Lightroom and those advantages save me time.  First of all, they are available in all the different Lightroom Modules which means no going back to the Library module if I want to change to a different collection or create images for my blog. Second, they are a lot easier to find--no need to click through endless folders to find your favorites from a particular session. (To Create a Collection of your Favorites: Filter your favorites using the Filter Bar on the right just below your photo. Ctrl/Cmd+a to select all the photos. Click the “+” on the Collections Panel. Name your selection and select where it goes.)



    3.  Use Pretty Presets and Brushes!

    Pretty Presets Collections, Brushes, and Filters save me SO MUCH time in Lightroom.  I have been a heavy Lightroom user since Lightoom 2 and I could probably go through all the panels and create a look similar to many of the presets in my presets panel.  But WHY would I want to do that instead of a single click to activate a preset or to choose a brush from the brushes panel? I don’t. I use presets and brushes everyday and they save me lots of time editing!

    4.  Sync Edits As Much As Possible!  

    Because of lighting changes and situations I can’t just edit one photo, sync all the other photos to that one, and be done with an entire session.  But typically I can edit one photo and sync 3-5 other similar photos to it.  And that is 3-5 photos that I don’t have to spend the time editing.  Sometimes I have to make small tweaks to the edits like moving a radial or graduated filter slightly.  If I can do that several times while editing a session that is a huge time savings! (To Sync: Select multiple photos in the Develop Module. The one that is “most” selected (whitest) should be the edited photo. Click the “Sync” button at the bottom of the right-side panels.)


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