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Lightroom Group in 3 Easy Steps • PhotoTraces


This publish was impressed by one in all my readers from Europe. Felix not too long ago switched from Aperture to Lightroom and now he’s struggling to seek out the correct Lightroom group for his images.

My preliminary reply to Felix was that each one of us, that means all Lightroom customers, struggled at one time or one other with the organizational system and that there’s, sadly, no excellent answer. We’re all looking for a system that matches our private wants.

Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps

At the moment, I need to share my very own system and present you the way it has advanced over time.

You’ll study:

  • How I manage photograph information on my arduous drive
  • What duties I carry out when importing images into Lightroom
  • How I choose one of the best images for processing and archiving

Challenges of Lightroom Group

I consider the primary difficulty with Lightroom is that it has so many choices for organizing images and, consequently, a number of choices deliver pointless complexity.

Lightroom has the next organizational options:

Fast Assortment, Flagging, Starring, Shade Tagging, Collections, Sensible Collections.

Once I began with Lightroom, I attempted to make use of all of them to give you an elaborate system that was inconceivable to maintain for lengthy. Each time I failed with one system, I might give you an much more complicated scheme. And, sooner or later, I spotted that it was time to simplify the whole course of.

Associated: High Free Lightroom Tutorials for Newcomers

I made a decision to verify what kind of methods different photographers employed. That’s after I found a very minimalistic system utilized by some wedding ceremony and occasion photographers.

On the finish of the occasion, even photographers import just a few thousand images into Lightroom and undergo them one or two occasions and FLAG solely images with potential (keepers). They find yourself with 200-300 or so keepers after which delete the remainder with out hesitation. Quick and environment friendly.

Although I appreciated that strategy, I knew it might not work for me with out tweaking it as fairly often I prefer to undergo my previous rejected images, those I by no means processed or printed, and attempt to discover missed golden nuggets.

I’ve observed that once you develop as a photographer, you begin to have a look at sure facets of images in a different way, plus you study new approaches to course of images and, fairly often it ends in reviving some rejected, previous pictures.

Beneath are two examples of very previous and rejected images I found in my Lightroom archives and processed not too long ago.

Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps 1
East River Sundown Bathe (New York)
Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps 2
Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge (New York)

I used a minimalistic strategy; I discovered from occasion photographers, as the bottom for my very own system and constructed upon it.

My organizational system has 3 essential parts:

  • Information construction on a tough drive
  • Renaming and tagging throughout import
  • Assortment-based strategy for choosing, processing and archiving images

Lightroom Folder Construction

Whenever you import images right into a Lightroom catalog, the Lightroom doesn’t manage the information for you. You may hold them wherever you need in your laptop and even on an exterior drive. Though it provides us full management over file construction, generally it could possibly trigger issues once you hold your images somewhere else in your laptop.

Please be aware, once you rename a single file or transfer the whole folder to a different location and also you do it from outdoors of Lightroom (utilizing Finder or Explorer for instance), Lightroom has no technique of monitoring the adjustments and people information will possible be misplaced.

If you must rename or transfer your images, do it from inside Lightroom.

With a purpose to stop unintended elimination of the information from a Lightroom catalog, I hold images in a single location and make it possible for I by no means transfer them round or rename them outdoors of Lightroom.

I hold all my images on the identical arduous drive

I hold all my images in a single grasp listing

Beneath is the schematic view of the folder’s construction of my images. That is precisely how my images are organized on my laptop’s arduous drive.

Organizing photos on computer's hard drive

The file construction I take advantage of is 3 ranges deep. I manage images by 12 months and by mission or location. I like this chronological group as that is one of the best group for my workflow.

As a result of I’m a journey photographer and my journeys normally last more than someday, I take advantage of location primarily based naming conference with out particular dates (month solely).

Associated: My High 15 Adobe Lightroom Workflow Suggestions

Relying in your workflow you’ll be able to tailor folder naming to your particular wants. For instance, you can also make it mission primarily based and date particular: 2015-10-29 Photoshoot Identify.

Importing Photographs into Lightroom

Earlier than I transfer any additional, I need to stress that I don’t use a number of Lightroom catalogs. I’ve just one catalog for all my photograph actions. I do know that some photographers use a number of catalogs to separate their private {and professional} images however it by no means labored for me. I attempted managing a number of catalogs after I began with Lightroom a very long time in the past and it was a nightmare. I rapidly switched to a single catalog workflow and by no means appeared again.

When I’m again from a visit and have hundreds of images to import, I carry out the next routine:

  • I create a folder (vacation spot) for brand spanking new images (see earlier part)
  • I rename all images primarily based on a customized template
  • I do high degree tagging

Vacation spot

I create a brand new folder with the date and the title of my journey or the mission title (for instance, 2018-05 California) and set it as a vacation spot for the import (see under).

You may create new folder from Lightroom or you should use Explorer (PC) or Finder (Mac) and create new folder via the file system. I choose the later. I discover it to be quicker.

Lightroom Import Module - the Destination Panel

I don’t use subfolders inside the primary listing 2018-05 California, I import all images into one folder.


There are various methods to batch rename images in the course of the import. I take advantage of a rename template strategy. I created a customized template (preset) and use it with each import.

File Renaming Template in Lightroom

The Date and File Identify are set robotically by Lightroom, however for the Shoot Identify I’ve to set a customized worth, in any other case, Lightroom will set a default worth as UNTITLED SHOOT.

The File Renaming Panel in Lightroom Import Module

After renaming, all my images have the next naming construction:

20190417_California_DSF0211.RAW, 20190417_California_DSF0211.RAW …

Now, if I come throughout a photograph file on my laptop I can inform precisely when and the place it was taken with out opening it or checking the meta knowledge.

High Degree Tagging

Throughout preliminary import, I apply some tagging primarily based on location or kind of images. For instance, I would apply very generic tags like “USA“, “California“, “Summer season” and, if it was a household associated journey, I solely apply one tag “Household.”

Collections Primarily based Group System

My organizational system inside Lightroom is collections primarily based. I created the next construction inside the Collections Panel which helps me manage newly imported images.

Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps 3

Figuring out Unhealthy Pictures

My first aim, after I import new images to Lightroom, is to take away all unhealthy pictures, those that may by no means be used. For instance: out of focus images.

I rapidly undergo all my images and use the keyboard shortcut, “X,” to flag all rejected pictures. The method goes very quick even when I’ve hundreds of images as a result of I think about one activity solely.

After I end, I delete the rejected information instantly so they don’t go to my backup system.

Figuring out “Keepers”

The subsequent step is my favourite. I am going via the images once more and, with the assistance of the shortcut, “P,” (P is for PICKED) I flag all images which have the potential to be processed and printed (keepers). As soon as once more, I solely think about one single activity. I’m not making an attempt to grade picked images or set star worth.

When I’m completed, I choose all flagged (picked) images and drag them to the CANDIDATES assortment inside the TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY assortment set (see picture above).

Please be aware, once you add images to Collections you don’t truly transfer the unique information, you solely create a reference (shortcut) for simpler group.

Now, after I want images to publish on my weblog, I am going to the CANDIDATES assortment and choose 3-4 images I like and drag them to the IN PROCESS assortment and take away them from the CANDIDATES assortment on the identical time.

With a purpose to pace up the method of modifying images in Lightroom, I take advantage of Lightroom Speedy Modifying. I take advantage of my Preset Collections to use quite a lot of seems and kinds to my images and see which look I like and what course I need to take. In case you are eager about exploring Lightroom Speedy Modifying, verify my Introduction to Lightroom Speedy Modifying tutorial.

Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps 4
It takes me a few minutes to edit photograph utilizing Lightroom Speedy Modifying workflow

The photograph can keep within the IN PROGRESS assortment for wherever from a few hours to as much as few months, relying on how briskly I can course of them. Typically I begin modifying one photograph however get tired of it and transfer to a different so processing time can range.

Once I end with processing and I’ve a remaining JPEG picture uploaded to my SmugMug portfolio for picture internet hosting and safekeeping, I transfer the unique photograph file from the IN PROGRESS to the PUBLISHED assortment. This manner I’ve quick access to all supply information of my printed images.

Lightroom Organization in 3 Simple Steps 5
The photograph is hosted on SmugMug. It’s straightforward for me to hyperlink it to this text.

Sooner or later, I’ve an choice to go to the folder 2018-05 California to the place I initially imported the images, filter all unflagged pictures and see if I missed something attention-grabbing.

I take advantage of the identical workflow for my household images. I’ve devoted the FAMILY assortment with an similar collections construction inside.

I all the time attempt to enhance my organizational system and if in case you have a suggestion otherwise you need to share your personal system, please go away a remark under.

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