By Amanda Padgett on | No Comments
I don't proclaim to be a professional wedding photographer, however I have personally photographed many weddings and wedding receptions, and I can promise you that those events produce a high volume of images to sort through. Thankfully Lightroom makes managing all those files much easier.
In this post, I will cover some simple but important methods you can utilize in Lightroom to help you better manage all of your wedding images and speed up your workflow in Lightroom.
The first step is to get the wedding images copied from your memory cards to your hard drive, whether internal or external. Open Lightroom and click on the 'Import" button. However, there are some other things you need to do, so don't rush through the process.
If you are importing your wedding images to an external drive, be sure to build "smart previews" so that you can work on the images even when your drive is not connected. It will add extra time to the import, but it will be worth it later, I promise.
The second step, and a VERY IMPORTANT one, is to create a Lightroom collection for all of the files right at the beginning. Name it something like "Shealy - Knight Wedding All Pics." This will be the collection where you "dump" all the images from each memory card you used. Once the import is finished you will want to create a "collection set" but that is something I will explain later in this post.
Once you have the collection created, you will just choose it again each time you import photos from the wedding.
This may seem like a trivial step, but creating keywords in Lightroom will allow you to isolate images from this import at a later date - whether its days, weeks, months later. Add keywords that apply to the entire group, like "Shealy Knight Wedding." You don't need to add a bunch; more can be added later inside the Library module.
This is when you will decide where on your internal hard drive, or your external hard drive, you will copy the pictures. Remember, you are COPYING the images from the memory cards onto a hard drive. Lightroom needs YOU to choose the drive, and choose the folder (or create a new one). Since weddings produce a vast quantity of files, try to get it right during import because moving them later may take more time that you realize.
My weddings generate more than a thousand photos, and I definitely do not want to edit EVERY image, so I quickly go through and "cull" out the bad ones, then sort them into manageable groups (collections).
Everyone has their own favorite method for sorting out the bad images, but the method I use is through "flags". Images that I want to keep receive a white flag - "pick." Bad images or duplicates receive a black flag - "reject." To give them those flags simply do one of the following:
To move quickly, make sure to turn on "Auto Advance". Once auto advance is turned on, Lightroom will immediately move to the next image after an action has been done to an image (i.e. rating, flag, star, etc.). You can find Auto Advance in the main menu under Photo > Auto Advance.
Once you have gone through all the images (this can take a while), select all the rejects by going to Edit > Select by Flag > Rejected. This will highlight all the images that have black flags. Click delete, and choose whether to delete them from your hard drive or just from the Lightroom catalog. If you choose to remove them from just the Lightroom catalog, the images will be removed from Lightroom but will still remain on your hard drive.
Hopefully during import you created a collection for all the images taken at the wedding, from all cameras used. Now is the time to create a Lightroom "collection set" to hold that collection and the additional collections you create (again, basing this off of the system that works for me).
To create a Collection Set, simply click the plus (+) sign at the top of the Collections panel. When the dialog box opens, give the collection set a name and decide if it will be housed inside another set. For instance, this wedding set is inside my Weddings collection set, which is inside my Amanda Padgett Photography set.
If you did not create a collection during the import process, follow these steps to create one now:
Now for the fun part. Start separating the images by groupings that make sense to you. For instance, I made these collections for three weddings I shot:
Each of the collections did not need to have the bride's last name, I just chose to do it that way in case the collection gets accidentally moved (weird things happen in Lightroom sometimes).
Once I have the culled out the bad images, and created collections for the various settings or wedding events, the last thing I do in the Library module is to add star ratings to the pictures.
The rating I most often use is a 5 star rating, assigning it to all the BEST images, the ones I want to edit. Or, at the very beginning of the edit process, I use them to identify the images I'll share in the "preview" gallery, which I share about two weeks after the wedding.
To add a star rating to a picture, or a group of pictures, simply click the applicable number key on your keyboard. For example, to rate an image 5 stars click the "5" key. To remove the rating (in case you did it by accident), click the "0" key.
After I have gone through and identified the images I want to edit, use for a preview gallery, or for an album (I do that also), I isolate the images the same way the rejects are sorted. To do this follow this path: Edit > Select by Rating > 5 stars.
Here's the neat thing about this - you can create and use a system that works best for you. You can use a rating system of 1 to 5, giving not-so-great pictures the 1, and the best images get the 5. Then isolate just the fives and work with them. If you need more pictures for the gallery or album, or whatever, pick some images from the fours. Or, give only album-worthy pics five stars, but disk worth pics three stars. When you go to export to the disk, you sort by three stars and up so that both threes and fives are selected.
This post should give you a rough plan to follow - a place to start. Once you get going, try out the flags, ratings, collections/sets to determine the Lightroom organization sytem that works best for your own wedding photos and Lightroom workflow.
Below is a tutorial video walking through all of the things shared in this post. Hope it helps!
Do you have any questions or comments about Managing Wedding Images in Lightroom? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Hi! I'm Amanda, a homeschooling mom of four, from South Carolina. I am passionate about photography, photo editing, and helping others learn to love their camera and editing programs.