Tips for managing wedding shoot photos in Lightroom

I don't proclaim to be a professional wedding photographer, however I have personally photographed three weddings and a wedding reception, 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.

Today I'm sharing about some simple things you can do during import which will aid you in later file management. Wednesday I will follow up with a post on flagging, rating, collections, and collection sets. Then next week we will have two tutorials on editing wedding photos.

The first step is to get the images copied from the memory cards and onto your 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.

1. Create Smart Previews

If you are importing the images to an external drive, be sure to build "smart previews" so that you can work on the images even when your drive isn't connected. It will add extra time to the import, but it will be worth it later, I promise. 

Create smart previews and collection for wedding images

2. Create a Collection 

The second step you don't want to miss is to create a collection for all 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'll explain in the follow-up to this post. 

Once you have the collection created, you'll just choose it again each time you import photos from the wedding.

Create collection for wedding images in Lightroom

3. Create Keywords

This may seem like a trivial step, but it's one that will allow you to isolate images from this import 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.

Give wedding images keywords on import

4. Choose Destination

This is where 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 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.

Choose drive to import wedding photos to