Survey: How do you manage images in Lightroom?

Andrew Beck Andrew, Guest Leave a Comment

During the course of the week I received a tweet from Moira Norrie (a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich) asking me to take part in a research survey on managing images in Lightroom. I checked out the survey and it got me thinking a lot about my own personal workflow, something which I’ve shared in the past and will do so again in the new week.

So, after completing the survey I thought it would be a great idea to share the link and details here for our community to take part!

Moira has agreed to share a summary of the results with us when the study has been completed.

So, here’s Moira to explain a bit more about the survey.


moiraAdobe Photoshop Lightroom is one of the most powerful tools available for managing personal data – in this case images (and video). It was developed by Adobe when they recognised that photographers were using a variety of computer tools in their workflow and that an image processing tool such as Photoshop was not the only kind of support that they needed. The idea therefore was to complement rather than replace Photoshop by designing a tool that focussed on managing images rather than processing them. But, at the same time, they wanted to integrate the most common forms of processing so that many photographers could use a single tool from capture through to publishing. With each version of Lightroom, more and more processing power has been integrated so that fewer and fewer photographers feel it necessary to do some of their processing in Photoshop.

My hobby is wildlife photography, while my professional life involves research in information systems engineering. Simply put, I’m fascinated by how people organise, process and keep track of their personal data – be it contacts, music, documents, favourite websites, travel information or images. Understanding this helps inform the next generation of tools. My hobby and profession are brought together in a current study on how photographers are using the various features offered by Lightroom to manage their images and support their workflow.

Folders, collections, keywords, flags, ratings, colours …… which of these are people actually using and how are they using them? Lightroom was designed with flexibility in mind. They talked to different kinds of photographers and studied how they worked. How do wildlife photographers typically work? How does this differ from landscape or sport photographers?

Rather than trying to design a tool that would impose a particular way of working, they decided to offer lots of different features that could be used to organise and find images, leaving it up to the individual to find a solution that works for them. As anyone who has gone through the process of learning Lightroom will know, every book, tutorial and instructor will tell you something different about which features to use and how to use them. With every book I read and tutorial I viewed, I tended to feel that I needed to change my way of working and it’s taken a long time for me to develop my own workflow. The last one I defined was last weekend. Only time will tell if I’m happy with it.

So whether you are a hobbyist, serious amateur or professional, I’d love to hear about how you are using the features of Lightroom to manage your images.

You can participate by filling in the survey here.

It should take 10-20 mins of your time depending on how many features you use and how you use them.

I hope we can learn from each other by finding out what most people in a particular area of photography are doing and whether they are happy with it. I intend to report back here on my findings once we’ve collected and analysed the data.

I really appreciate your help!

Moira Norrie

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For me, one of the great questions was the last on on what I would like to see added to Lightroom. This is something that we chat about in the office quite a bit and I would be interested to hear what everyone else has to say so please do feel free to leave a comment here on the blog so that we can all see what sort of functionality people are wanting added to Lightroom!

Want to Learn More About Lightroom?

Check out these useful videos from our Lightroom playlist on YouTube!

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About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

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