A few years ago I had a major problem on my hands; tons of photos, multiple clients, looming deadlines and no way of efficiently handling all those files. My answer came in the form of Adobe Lightroom which I bought as a stand alone package but now it forms part of my Creative Cloud Subscription (something I talk about in another post).

Who wants to be manually transferring photos from memory cards to folders on your computer when you can use a bit of software to do it for you. Apart from the fact that it can categorise files as you go it will also perform simple tasks such as adding meta data and keeping track of the GPS locations on an internal map so you can refer back to them in a number of ways at a later date.

Once you have got the photos on your computer there is no need to open each one in photoshop to perform retouching (yes I know you can use batch but still…). Simply open a folder or collection in the develop window and go to town, the tools are very powerful and you can find yourself completely changing the look of a whole series of photos in seconds.

Next you can layout the photos for print, export for a client or upload to your favourite online sharing site, mine is currently flickr but I’ll do a comparison of the best in another post. Also, the above is just a small example of what it can do – I really recommended that if you are a photographer in limbo or just a weekend snapper who wants something more powerful that Apple’s Photos then take a look. https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/photoshop-lightroom.html and if creative cloud isn’t for you then don’t worry as you can buy lightroom as a standalone product from a host of retailers.

Lastly here are some of my favourite tricks to speedup Lightroom and your workflow:

  • Add meta data on import and other useful changes in the ‘Develop Settings’ dialogue box.
  • Set your preview size; you can tell lightroom not to store 1:1 render files on import but create as and when, on a fast computer this won’t be noticeable but will reduce your catalogue size quite a bit.
  • When you hit about 20,000 images in a catalogue think about starting a new one, I have separate ones for each client and sometimes subdivide them in years to keep them small. If you do have large catalogues then optimise them regularly.
  • Make sure you have plenty of space, I have multiple NAS in RAID mode and external HDD. I generally have the collection I’m working on stored an ext SSD, which I like to have 30-40% spare and 40-50% spare on my internal HDD. Why so much? Well typically you can need 2-3 times the size of all the photos as a cache. When the project is finished it gets push to a backup drive hopefully never to be seen again.
  • Create presets that you can apply to a whole range of photos, if I’m in the studio I know that some transforms are going to be the same for the whole series so I create a preset which gets applied to the whole range and then I can spend more time finitely editing.
  • If I shot an event for free I make sure to add a watermark to the bottom, we all like doing charity work but no one wants to see their photos stolen for paid publications without at least a credit.


If you have any other useful tricks and tips leave them in the comments section below.

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