Lightroom: Selecting to Edit

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Penny 2 Comments

Your digital workflow begins the moment you download your images into an editing software.

I have found that Lightroom is an great editing software and is a perfect medium for a quick and effective workflow.

Once you have imported your images into Lightroom, where do you start in considering which of the 150 images or so you want to edit?

Here is a concise 3 Step process that may help you with your digital workflow:

Step 1: Filtering the Bad from the Better

While glancing through all the images I have just imported, I ‘discard’ images that do not grab my attention straight away. Do not worry about when I say ‘discard’ as the image does not get thrown away; it is merely ‘hidden’ in order for the other images to stand out.

Lightroom is an easy-to-use editing software, and it really does make my digital workflow effective. Instead of having to go through many different menus options in order to discard images, you only need to press ‘X’ when you are on the image in Lightroom. The discarded image will turn grey and have a flag in the top left corner with an ‘X’ on it. If you have mistakenly discarded an image, click onto it and press ‘X’ again and it will be highlighted again.

After this eliminating process, filtering through the rest of the images to find the winning image(s) takes on another process.

Step 2: The Keepers and Maybes

The images that you have kept can now be filtered further into keepers and maybes. For this process I use the star labeling process that Lightroom makes available.

While going through the images again, the images that really grab my attention get labelled with a 5 Star. These are the images that I will edit first and process according to how I envisioned the image when I shot it. These are the images that I will put forward from the trip I shot them at.

Images that get need more processing and are not the winning shots will get a lower rating. These are the images that tend to get focused on during my free time, where I play around with the editing techniques and spend more time on the image to get it to a standard where I can present them.

Here you can see that I am only working with the rated images. To get here, above the images click on ‘Attribute’ and then rating. I chose the rating ‘greater or equal to 2’.

Here are some brief factors that I consider when I rate my images:

These factors are:

  • Image sharpness (whether it be the subject or the whole image)
  • Composition (Is it well composed and pleasing to look at? If cropping is necessary, will the subject still be composed nicely in the new frame? etc)
  • What is the image portraying (Is it an interesting image? Does it show some aspect of the subjects character? What makes this image unique or identifiable from others)
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What other factors would you add?

Step 3: Finding the Individual Images

Now that I have rated my images, I make sure that only the 5 star images are on my screen.

From here,I need to make sure my ‘photography process’ is complete. This means that I need to edit the selected images the way that I envisioned them to look like when my camera’s shutter closed.

This is an important step, and one that I have had to be reminded of. I have often not processed the image in the way I intended to when I captured it, and instead I went gung-ho on editing. This resulted in these images losing their power, message, and importance to me, and therefore none of theses factors reach the viewer.

I only started using Lightroom at the beginning of the year, and now it is the only editing software I use for my digital workflow.

For more on Lightroom, keep an eye out for our blogs this week as they are dedicated to Lightroom.

You can also find out more about our Lightroom course here.

Penny Robartes

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Penny’s Links:

Comments 2

  1. Carol Bell

    Thanks so much Penny. I must buy “lightroom” and hopefully can learn to use it. I got Elements 11 for Xmas and am totally stumped so am still trying to use my Cannon sofware for “tweeking my photos” Wild Eye is and has helped me so much in the last 9 months that I have been back in SA.

  2. Penny Robartes

    Hi Carol

    I honestly only started using Lightroom at the beginning of this year and it has changed my whole digital workflow, and it is so user-friendly 🙂

    We are all so happy to hear that we have helped you Carol and we aim to continue 🙂

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